بنیادهای کوچک بازارگرایی: پردازش مؤثر اطلاعات مشتری مدیران بدون بازاریابی
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 39, Issue 4, May 2010, Pages 661–671
This study examines how organisational context influences search, integration, and use of customer information at the level of an individual manager. Drawing upon research on market orientation, market-information utilisation, organisational learning, and marketing organisation, a theoretical framework is set up and tested by using structural equation modelling and a dataset consisting of 228 manufacturing and R&D managers in large industrial firms. Results demonstrate that integration of customer information enhances use of information in decision making. Organisational context influences the use of customer information indirectly by affecting information search and integration. Resource inadequacy and physical distance from sales and marketing contact persons decrease information integration, whereas supervisor customer emphasis increases the search scope of information. Wide search scope of customer information increases information integration but has no direct impact on use.
After almost two decades of research, the positive effect of market orientation on company performance is gaining empirical grounding, albeit the relationship may be non-linear, indirect and contingent on the business environment (e.g., Baker and Sinkula, 1999, McNaughton et al., 2001, Hult and Ketchen, 2001, Harris, 2001, Dadzie et al., 2002, Haugland et al., 2007 and Jimenez-Jimenez and Cegarra-Navarro, 2007). Recent meta-analyses have shown that the impact of market orientation on performance is mediated by innovativeness, product and service quality, as well as by customer loyalty (Kirca et al., 2005 and Ellis, 2006). Furthermore, a positive connection is stronger for the manufacturing firms than for the service firms, and this connection is also dependent on the firm size and the cultural context of the business (Kirca et al., 2005 and Ellis, 2006). These associations have now largely been established, and the research proceeds to examine the implementation and development of firms' market orientation (e.g., Avlonitis and Gounaris, 1999, Kennedy et al., 2003, Hult et al., 2005, Matsuno et al., 2005 and Mason and Harris, 2006). Within market-orientation research, two definitions have dominated the field: cultural (Narver & Slater, 1990) and behavioural (Kohli and Jaworski, 1990 and Jaworski and Kohli, 1993). These conceptualisations are shifting towards reconciliation, as organisational culture is increasingly viewed as an antecedent to information-related behaviour (e.g., Mason and Harris, 2006, Gotteland et al., 2007 and Carr and Lopez, 2007). While the cultural perspective of market orientation focuses on norms and values that encourage market-oriented behaviour in a company, the behavioural perspective concentrates on concrete organisational activities: (1) the organisation-wide acquisition of market information, (2) its interdepartmental dissemination, and (3) the organisational responsiveness to this information in order to adapt to changing market conditions. Related to the behavioural perspective, there is still much to discover about the factors that influence the market-information responsiveness of companies (Beverland & Lindgreen, 2007). Firstly, previous research treats behavioural marketing orientation as a set of activities, but does not examine their mutual relationships (for a notable exception, see, e.g., Carr & Lopez, 2007). Secondly, although market orientation in itself is an organisational-level construct, it is implemented at the individual level. Consequently, understanding the processing of market information at the individual level is an important factor in explaining the organisation-wide responsiveness to customer information (Jaworski & Kohli, 1993). Yet to date, most of the primary market-orientation studies have been conducted at the strategic business-unit level, albeit the utilisation of market information has been a topic evident in the general marketing research agenda in recent years (e.g., Souchon and Diamantopoulos, 1999, Frishammar, 2003, Campbell, 2003, Sussman and Siegal, 2003 and Toften and Olsen, 2004). As long as the analysis of market orientation remains at the organisational or functional level, it is both difficult to pinpoint exactly how managerial interventions and organisational factors affect a firm's market orientation, and to determine why some interventions are more effective than others. More research is needed on why some employees are better than others at gathering market knowledge and customising it to their own use (Jacobson & Prusak, 2007), and what the individual-level responses to market-orientation schemes are (Kennedy et al., 2003 and Schlosser and McNaughton, 2007). In order to fill in these research gaps, I operationalise the three firm-level dimensions of behavioural market orientation as individual-level activities (search, integration and use of customer information1), and examine how they are influenced by the characteristics of organisation and the leadership (Gotteland et al., 2007). Moreover, I combine the insights from the general information processing, knowledge-transfer, organisational learning and marketing-organisation literature with market-orientation research. This amalgamation is needed, because the three activities of the behavioural market orientation form the process of learning about and acting on markets (Day, 1994 and Souchon et al., 2004). To some extent, they are essential skills for any company, not only those striving to become market-oriented. Accordingly, several studies positioned outside market-orientation research have analysed information gathering (search), sharing (dissemination) and use (e.g., Beyer and Trice, 1982, Sinkula, 1994, Argyris, 1999, Zahay and Griffin, 2004, Jayachandran et al., 2005 and Veldhuizen et al., 2006). A solid body of research has also emerged that has focused on the organisation of marketing and sales and its relationships with other functions (see, e.g., Ruekert and Walker, 1987, Kahn and Mentzer, 1998, Maltz and Kohli, 2000, Zinkhan and Verbrugge, 2000 and De Luca and Atuahene-Gima, 2007). These studies on cross-functional relationships are closely related to the implementation of market orientation. Specifically, the aim of the present study is to build on and to extend the research on market-information use at the individual level that was conducted by Fisher, Maltz, and Jaworski (1997) and Maltz, Souder, and Kumar (2001) as well as on the synthesis study of market orientation by Carr and Lopez (2007). Fisher et al. (1997) examine the connections between interfunctional relationships (information-sharing norms and integrated goals), communication behaviours and the market-information use of engineering personnel. Maltz et al. (2001) investigate a number of integrating mechanisms that influence interfunctional rivalry and its direct and mediated effects on market-information use by R&D managers. These studies combine the individual-level information use with the cross-functional integration literatures. Yet they do not explicitly address the other two components of market-oriented information processing at the individual level: information generation and dissemination. The contribution by Carr and Lopez (2007), in turn, aims at specifying a model that treats the market-oriented culture as an antecedent to the market-oriented conduct, examines the causalities between the generation and dissemination of and responsiveness to market intelligence, and connects them to employee response. However, Carr and Lopez (2007) measure market-oriented behaviour at the level of a strategic business unit and not at the individual level. The present study has two main contributions. Firstly, it brings in the concepts of information integration ( Jayachandran et al., 2005, De Luca and Atuahene-Gima, 2007 and Chou et al., 2007) and information search scope. The focus here is to examine how integration and search scope mediate the relationship between organisational factors and the use of the customer information that R&D and manufacturing managers receive from the sales and marketing. This study therefore enhances our understanding of how organisational-level interventions influence responsiveness to market intelligence at the level of an individual employee. Secondly, as to the antecedents of market orientation, this study produces new knowledge concerning the impact of interfunctional distance and resource inadequacy on the processing of customer information. The effect of co-location on communication and cross-functional relationships has produced mixed results (e.g., Maltz and Kohli, 1996, Maltz et al., 2001 and Ganesan et al., 2005), and the role of resource allocation in customer information processing has been neglected in the previous research. Understanding these issues is all the more important, as many industrial, manufacturing companies adapt to the competitive pressures by cutting costs, by centralising for economies of scale, and by producing more sophisticated, high-quality products with higher delivery speed. In many industries, the traditional manufacturing companies turn from bulk suppliers to customer-focused solution providers (Vargo & Lusch, 2004). This means that most of the transactions in the value chain include an element of customer service, and employees in all the functions are responsible for generating value for the customers (Vargo & Lusch, 2004). In the current business environment, the informational requirements of R&D and the manufacturing managers are thus increasing, and fluent communication between different functions is important. Customer information becomes truly valuable only when integrated into the organisation's manufacturing systems and product development. Securing the non-marketing managers' responsiveness to customer information is crucial for those industrial companies that strive to retain their position as leaders in production and innovation activities.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The findings imply that organisational context influences the use of customer information in decision making indirectly, through the extent to which managers search for customer information and integrate it into their existing knowledge base. Organisational context has stronger impact on integration of customer information than it has on the search for customer information. Integration of customer information decreases as resources diminish and the physical distance between information senders and receivers increases, whereas these factors have no significant effect on search scope. Search scope widens with supervisor emphasis on customer orientation. Information integration takes place through informal and formal organisational arrangements, such as formal meetings, hall talk, and expert briefings. Results of this study suggest that the use of customer information in decision making increases if a non-marketing manager is able to participate in such arrangements. Integration also mediates the relationship between search scope and information use. In order to benefit from a wide selection of customer information sources (which are also likely to result in a variety of information), individual employees need to process the new information further and connect it to their already existing knowledge base and understanding of the issue. A wide search scope thus motivates and increases information integration, but has no direct relationship with information use. The findings of this study further indicate that the resource inadequacy and physical distance between non-marketing managers and their sales and marketing contact persons has a negative impact on the integration of information. If the lack of resources is severe and hinders the functioning of a department, there is less time and motivation for performing a systematic analysis of the success/failure of already finished projects and for holding more than just routine-based meetings. As a result, people become more hesitant to forward ‘unnecessary’ information, and thus the pre-screening of information is stronger. As to the physical distance, a distance of over 10 m already rapidly decreases interaction (Kraut et al., 2002 and Leenders and Wierenga, 2002). This means that in order to fully reap the benefits from co-location, sales and marketing, R&D, and manufacturing people should be in the same building, on the same floor, and preferably even in the same office landscape. This is seldom possible in large, international companies, but often a reality in smaller firms consisting of one or only a few manufacturing facilities. Neither physical distance nor resource inadequacy has a significant impact on the information search scope. One possible reason for the non-significant relationship between lack of resources and search could be that as most of the information sources may already be established, as it takes longer than six months (the time period of interest in the questionnaire) for these sources to become deactivated. The non-significant association between physical distance and search scope may indicate that non-marketing managers develop and maintain their search scope of customer information independently from the location of their sales and marketing contacts. This study implies that emphasis on customer orientation by supervisors increase the search scope of customer information but has no impact on integrating this information. This is somewhat surprising, as Jaworski and Kohli (1993) suggest that top management's emphasis on market orientation through continuous reminders is critical for employees to be sensitive and responsive to the market. In addition, post-hoc analysis showed that the direct relationship between customer emphasis and use was also non-significant (β = 0.032, t-value = 0.848). These finding are, however, in line with the study by Carr and Lopez (2007), who find no connection between a firm's customer-oriented culture and intelligence dissemination. It may be that customer-oriented culture activates a person's interest in customers, and thus increases intelligence generation. Even so, other factors (such as resource allocation or geographical dispersion) are more crucial for enabling intelligence dissemination, which requires more effort. Based on this study, it thus seems that verbal reminders from supervisors about the importance of customers actually improve employees' motivation to look for various information related to customers, but do not significantly assist them in processing customer information together with other people.