جهت گیری بازار، مزیت رقابتی و عملکرد: دیدگاه مبتنی بر تقاضا
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Business Research, Volume 62, Issue 11, November 2009, Pages 1063–1070
This study assesses how customer value affects a firm's market orientation and consequently, competitive advantage and organizational performance in a service industry — the global hotel industry. The findings show that if a firm perceives its customers as valuing service, the firm is more likely to adopt both a customer and a competitor orientation; if the firm thinks its customers are price sensitive, the firm tends to develop a competitor orientation. Moreover, the greater a firm's customer orientation, the more the firm is able to develop a competitive advantage based on innovation and market differentiation. In contrast, a competitor orientation has a negative effect on a firm's market differentiation advantage. Finally, innovation and market differentiation advantages lead to greater market performance (e.g., perceived quality, customer satisfaction) and in turn, higher financial performance (e.g., profit, market share).
How a firm achieves and maintains a competitive advantage has aroused great attention in the strategy literature, with the emergence of two dominant yet competing perspectives: competitive forces perspective (Porter, 1985) and the resource-based view (RBV) (Barney, 1991). The former suggests that industry structure and a firm's strategic positioning are primary drivers of competitive advantage, whereas the latter argues that competitive advantage stems from a firm's unique assets and inimitable capabilities. Although these two views differ sharply on how competitive advantage is achieved, they both “focus primarily on firm's supply-side interactions and largely neglect the demand environment in which these interactions take place” (Adner and Zemsky, 2006: 215). A number of theoretical issues arise as a result of overlooking demand-side factors. On the one hand, the tautology critique of the RBV is precisely due to the value of resources being defined in terms of their ability to improve a firm's efficiency and effectiveness, but not from the understanding of the demand context in which a firm is operating (Barney, 2001: 52; Priem and Butler, 2001). On the other hand, although the competitive forces perspective recognizes demand heterogeneity, its research agenda focuses mostly on interfirm competition in terms of erecting entry barriers and excluding rivals from opportunities (Adner and Zemsky, 2006). Particularly under-researched is how demand diversity such as customer value heterogeneity and decreasing marginal utility affects firms' strategic orientations and subsequent competitive advantage ( Adner and Zemsky, 2006 and Desarbo et al., 2001). To fill this research avoid, this study takes a demand-based perspective to study how customer value heterogeneity affects a firm's market orientation, competitive advantage, and firm performance. Although market orientation is viewed as a critical way to respond to market demand and create superior value, the relationship between market orientation and firm performance is probably more complicated than expected (Zhou et al., 2008). In particular, researchers have suggested that customer and competitor orientations, two focal components of market orientation, have differential implications for firm performance. For example, Han, Kim, and Srivastava (1998) indicate that customer orientation is perhaps most fundamental element of market orientation. Deshpande, Farley, and Webster (1993) suggest that competitor orientation can be antithetical to customer orientation. Armstrong and Collopy (1996: 197) find competitor-orientation to be even “… detrimental to profitability.” Lukas and Ferrell (2000) document that customer and competitor orientations have different implications for new product performance. Therefore, clarifying why customer and competitor orientations differ in their effects on performance is imperative to further understanding of how market orientation contributes to performance. This study tests a model (see Fig. 1) that links customer value, market orientation, competitive advantage and firm performance. Building on a demand-based perspective (Adner and Zemsky, 2006), this study examines how customer value heterogeneity affects a firm's emphasis on customers vs. competitors; how customer and competitor orientations influence innovation and market competitive advantage; and finally, how the two forms of competitive advantage impact the firm's market and financial performance. This research attempts to contribute to the literature in three ways. First, this research investigates how customer value drives market orientation, an important issue that has received little theoretical and empirical assessment. Second, this study provides some insight into the evolving debate on the merits of market orientation by modeling competitive advantage as mediating the link between market orientation and performance. Third, extant market orientation and competitive advantage literatures have mainly focused on the financial aspects of firm performance (e.g., Hult et al., 2005 and Zhou et al., 2005b). This study extends this line of enquiry by considering both market and financial dimensions of performance.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The findings provide strong support to the hypothesized relationships depicted in Fig. 1. As a result, this study contributes to the literature in three ways. First, this research represents the first effort that takes a demand-based perspective to examine how customer value heterogeneity affects a firm's market orientation and consequently its competitive advantage. The findings generally support the basic tenet of the demand-based view that customer heterogeneity significantly influences a firm's strategic choices (Adner and Zemsky, 2006 and Desarbo et al., 2001). In particular, the study finds that if a firm perceives its customers as emphasizing what they “get” (i.e., they emphasize service), the firm is more likely to adopt both a customer and a competitor orientation. In contrast, if the firm thinks its customers as valuing what they must “give up” (i.e., they focus on price), the firm tends to develop a competitor orientation. In the hotel industry, customers typically choose where to stay based on two primary criteria: service or price. Service sensitive customers look for location (better located hotels often cost more due to higher land costs in prime areas), service quality (better service often implies more employees per room costing more), and amenities provided. To acquire and retain these customers, hotels focus primarily on service by touting their service offerings and quality levels (e.g., Four Seasons or Mandarin-Oriental). Price sensitive customers, on the other hand, are looking for the best deal: The lowest “give” for the highest “get.” To target these customers, hotels often use competitive pricing as a primary way in their advertisements (e.g., Motel 6 – using the tag line “the lowest price of any national chain” – or Microtel). Consistent with these observations, the findings enrich the demand-based view by demonstrating the importance of customer demand heterogeneity in explaining a firm's strategic choices. Second, the findings add to the market orientation literature by uncovering the underlying process through which customer and competitor orientations affect performance. Previous studies suggest that customer and competitor orientations are two distinct aspects of market orientation (e.g., Lukas and Ferrell, 2000) and some have posited that a competitor orientation can even be antithetical to a customer orientation (e.g., Deshpande et al., 1993). The examination of the market orientation-competitive advantage link reveals why this case may happen. The results suggest that customer orientation seems to be the dominant factor responsible for achieving a competitive advantage in a service industry. Customer orientation is not only linked to a firm's innovation differentiation advantage, but also associated with a greater market differentiation advantage. Competitor orientation, in contrast, has a negative impact on a firm's market differentiation advantage and no significant influence on its innovation differentiation advantage. Therefore, a customer orientation appears to be a better choice for a service firm (e.g., hotel) to achieve a differentiation advantage. Overall, these results explain the seemingly counter-intuitive observation of why customer and competitor orientations can be antithetical to each other, and enrich the market orientation literature by revealing how market orientation affects performance (Hult et al., 2005). The third contribution is that, in addition to financial performance, the study extends previous research by investigating market performance. This dimension of performance explicitly considers customer reactions to the firm's market offering, which is parallel to the “added value” and “value creation” concepts described in the demand-based framework (Adner and Zemsky, 2006: 218-219). These results indicate that a firm specializing in innovation or market differentiation can attain higher levels of market performance (i.e., superior service quality, higher customer satisfaction). However, neither innovation nor market advantage has direct significant impact on financial performance; rather, competitive advantage affects financial performance indirectly through market performance. This finding suggests that the importance of making customers happy in enhancing financial performance of service firms. The findings of this study provide several important implications for managers in service industries. Firms should be aware that their perceived customer value (i.e., service/price emphasis) significantly influences their orientations. Service firms tend to follow both a customer and a competitor orientation if they think their customers being service sensitive. Firms tend to follow a competitor orientation solely if they believe customers being price sensitive. More important, firms must fully understand the benefits and limitations of each orientation in achieving competitive advantage and superior performance. A customer orientation helps service firms achieve innovation and market differentiation advantages. However, firms that pursue a competitor orientation may face difficulty in developing market differentiation advantage. Further, both innovation and market differentiation advantages help service firms enhance customer satisfaction as well as service quality, and consequently, better financial performance. However, service firms should understand that differentiation advantages boost financial performance only indirectly through enhancing market performance such better customer satisfaction. Therefore, service firms should pay special attention to how to deliver quality service and win customer satisfaction.