نوآوری و نتایج عملکرد تلاش برای جمع آوری اطلاعات بازار : نقش مشارکت تیم مدیریت ارشد
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|4423||2010||11 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Research in Marketing, Volume 27, Issue 1, March 2010, Pages 33–43
Research on organizational market information processing in marketing has not yet examined a key issue associated with information collection: the role of top management team (TMT) involvement. Research in marketing has typically studied market information collection efforts from the perspective of employees and market research companies, overlooking the role that the TMT plays in these efforts. While prior research on top managers suggests that they are often not active participants in the collection of market information, this study examines whether and under what conditions TMT involvement in market information collection efforts can contribute to a firm's innovativeness and performance. The key contribution of the study involves the development and testing of a model that shows (1) the positive effect of TMT involvement in market information collection efforts on firm innovativeness above and beyond employees' market information collection efforts; (2) the moderating effect of firm size and industry context (i.e., high-technology versus low-technology) on model relationships, indicating that the relationship is stronger for smaller firms and high-technology companies; and (3) the mediating effect of firm innovativeness on the relationship between TMT involvement in market information collection efforts and overall business performance. We test our model in a business-to-business context.
The organizational processing of market information is an important research area in marketing (Moorman, 1995, Olson et al., 1995 and Sinkula, 1994). Prior research has found market information to be strongly associated with a firm's ability to effectively implement marketing strategies (Noble & Mokwa, 1999), develop successful new products (Olson et al., 1995), enhance organizational learning (Sinkula, 1994) and achieve superior business performance (Li and Calantone, 1998 and Narver and Slater, 1990). Research in marketing has addressed market information processing from two key perspectives. The first stream of research has focused on the individual decision-maker and studied the effect of information and organizational characteristics on her/his performance and information use (e.g., Deshpandé and Zaltman, 1982 and Moorman et al., 1992). The second perspective suggests that the way in which market information is collected and utilized is strongly influenced by organizational systems and processes and that an organization's ability to process and learn from market information extends beyond the capacity of individual organizational members (e.g., Jaworski and Kohli, 1993, Moorman, 1995 and Sinkula, 1994). Although these streams of research have enriched our understanding of market information processing in organizations, they have yet to fully examine issues that are associated with information collection. Indeed, information collection is “the most important element of market information processing because without it there is no opportunity for the firm to keep abreast of its customer and competitor environments” (Sinkula, Baker, & Noordewier, 1997: 308). Furthermore, information collection is a precondition for other information-processing activities such as dissemination and utilization (Deeter-Schmelz & Ramsey, 2003). One under-studied important issue in the context of market information collection involves the top management team (TMT)'s involvement in the collection effort. Although market information is particularly necessary for strategy selection and implementation, and although the TMT comprises the key decision-makers in the organization, research on TMTs suggests that top managers are typically not active participants in the collection of market information (Collins and Clark, 2003 and Yadav et al., 2007). Research on market information collection efforts has mostly entailed the study of standard market research techniques (e.g., customer survey administration and secondary market data collection); such efforts are typically employed and managed by the firm's employees or by market research companies (e.g., Jaworski and Kohli, 1993, Li and Calantone, 1998 and Moorman, 1995). Top managers are thus often expected to be exposed only to the final outcome of the market research (e.g., a summary report on customer satisfaction complied by a market research company or the firm's marketing team; Deshpandé and Zaltman, 1982, Kotter, 1999 and Moorman et al., 1992). Top managers often do not have the time to be involved in information collection or closely supervise information collection efforts and therefore are less likely to put their hands on ‘raw’ market information (Kotter, 1999, Moorman et al., 1992 and Ritchie and Ritchie, 2002). They are also often removed from the day-to-day interactions with customers (Peñaloza & Gilly, 1999), which may hinder their ability as managers to ‘get a good sense’ of the market information (Hough and White, 2004 and Yadav et al., 2007). Furthermore, important pieces of information may sometimes not even reach them, which might limit effective decision-making (Brown and Ennew, 1995 and Zahay et al., 2004). This may result in gaps between the priorities of top management and employees (Moorman & Rust, 1999), making it difficult to effectively implement marketing programs (Slotegraaf & Dickson, 2004). Thus, in this paper we address an under-researched question that has recently attracted attention in the marketing literature (e.g., Auh and Menguc, 2005 and Yadav et al., 2007): what is the impact of the TMT on firm behavior and performance? Specifically, we aim to provide a better understanding of how TMT involvement in market information collection efforts impacts the firm. We are particularly interested in the impact on firm innovativeness. We focus on innovativeness because it is a key element of firms' competitive advantage and superior performance, and because the TMT shapes the firm's innovation goals and provides direction for the implementation of new product development (NPD) processes (Elenkov et al., 2005 and Yadav et al., 2007). Our approach is consistent with recent calls in the marketing and management literatures, particularly research on upper echelons theory (Hambrick & Mason, 1984). While this theoretical framework provides a rich research tradition considering the impact of TMT characteristics on firm performance (e.g., manager demographics, diversity in the TMT), prior upper echelons research offers inconclusive findings. To gain a deep understanding of the TMT's impact on the firm, it is important to study not only managers' surface characteristics, such as educational background or age, but also the TMT's actual behavior (Cannella et al., 2008, Jehn et al., 1999, Lovelace et al., 2001 and Simons et al., 1999). Hence, it is pertinent to study TMT involvement in a key dimension of information processing: market information collection. We commence by highlighting the relevant research on market information and the TMT and introduce our set of hypotheses. We then develop and test our model on a sample of 97 business-to-business (B2B) firms. In this study, we focus on customer information. The reason is that customers have been acknowledged to be the central source of firm revenue and customer information, the most important component of market information that firms collect (Deshpandé & Farley, 1998).
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The argument that market information, particularly information collection, plays a crucial role in determining firm success is widely accepted (Deeter-Schmelz and Ramsey, 2003 and Moorman, 1995). However, one important aspect of market information collection is yet to be fully studied: the contribution of the involvement of the TMT, within the context of market information collection efforts, to firm innovativeness and performance. Our key finding is that TMT involvement in market information collection contributes to firm innovativeness above and beyond the collection efforts made by employees. While prior research on top managers suggests that they are often not active participants in the collection of market information (e.g., Liu and Comer, 2007 and Zahay et al., 2004), we demonstrate that TMT involvement in market information collection creates value for the firm and augments business performance through increased innovativeness. We proposed that TMTs can enhance firm innovativeness because they play a key role in shaping the strategic direction of the organization, especially its NPD activities (Auh and Menguc, 2005 and Sinkula et al., 1997). We find support for our hypothesis. Top managers who are highly involved in market information collection efforts and stay close to their customers are getting ‘a good sense’ of the market. They are more likely to be exposed to tacit market information and thus, when making strategic decisions concerning NPD initiatives, they are more likely to incorporate these important pieces of information. This, in turn, significantly contributes to firms' innovation processes and outcomes. Our finding also provides support for the ability of the TMT to send signals to organizational members about the value of market information collection efforts. To be able to establish the corporate culture they envision, managers need to communicate their vision to employees (Yadav et al., 2007). In the specific case of building and nurturing a market-oriented culture, the TMT's “hands on” market information collection efforts are likely to be an important signal to organizational members. There may be a number of mechanisms through which a TMT communicates these signals (e.g., formally versus informally), and innovations ultimately emerge from their involvement in market information collection. Managers can consider systematically sharing insightful market information with other top managers, department heads and employees both formally through progress reports and brainstorming meetings and informally through interpersonal interactions. An alternative approach the TMT could adopt would be to invite customers with valuable insights to visit the firm, encouraging cooperation through presentations and meetings. Our results also exhibit that TMT involvement in market information collection enhances business performance only through increased firm innovativeness. This finding indicates that managers who maintain effective ties with customers can provide opportunities for the development of new product ideas with superior benefits; however, these effects may contribute to firm growth in sales and profitability only after they result in higher levels of innovativeness (c.f., Collins & Clark, 2003). This finding supports recent upper echelons research that claims that TMTs' characteristics or behaviors do not directly influence firm performance (e.g., Camelo-Ordaz et al., 2005, Elenkov et al., 2005 and Jehn et al., 1999). Furthermore, as Day and Wensley's (1988) SPP framework suggests, the effects of TMT involvement in market information collection can only be converted into superior performance through the firm's proficiency in utilizing its market information in unique ways (i.e., firm innovativeness; Im and Workman, 2004 and Song and Parry, 1997). There are two important points related to this result. First, while this study finds a positive impact of firm capacity to innovate on business performance, we do not differentiate between the types of innovations (i.e., radical versus incremental). This distinction may be relevant in explaining the variation in firm performance, as prior innovation research suggests (Sorescu & Spanjol, 2008). Second, it is noteworthy that while firm innovativeness is found to be an important mediator of the relationship between TMT involvement in market information collection and firm performance, there may be other potential mediators not studied here that deserve attention. For example, strong and close ties of top managers with customers may lead to enhanced customer satisfaction and loyalty, which in turn can engender superior firm performance (Homburg and Stock, 2004 and Kirca et al., 2005). Referring to the SPP framework, we also examined the moderating effects of two important firm- and industry-related variables: firm size and industry context. We hypothesized that the effects of TMT involvement in market information collection efforts contribute more strongly to firm innovativeness in small firms than in large ones. Our results confirm our expectations and indicate that as firm size increases, the influence of TMT involvement on firm innovativeness diminishes. Put differently, higher marginal innovation returns accrued from TMT involvement for small firms than for large firms. This finding contributes to the debate on the relationship between firm size and innovativeness (e.g., Chandy & Tellis, 2000). We suggest three possible underlying explanations. First, small firms have scarce resources with which to acquire market information. Hence, TMT involvement in market information collection compensate for this weakness. Second, compared to large companies, small firms have limited strong internal networks of market intelligence; hence, they need access to external sources of market information. Finally, since small firms are often centralized and led by a very few dominant top managers, managers' influence on the shaping and implementation of a firm's innovation goals may be much stronger in small firms. A possible implication for TMTs in large firms might be the need to establish a team with more managerial discretion (Hambrick, 2007) that would enable top executives to retain their influence on organizational members and on the firm's strategy and performance. We also expected the relationship between TMT involvement and firm innovativeness to be stronger in high-technology firms than in low-technology firms. We found support for our hypothesis. This finding contributes to the debate in the marketing literature over the innovation benefits that firms derive from customer-driven behavior in technologically turbulent environments (e.g., Gatignon and Xuereb, 1997 and Im and Workman, 2004). Specifically, we contend that due to market and technological uncertainties, external market information is more critical in high-technology environments than in low-technology ones. While market uncertainty and rivalry may hinder firms' ability to forecast customer demand, technological turbulence may offer opportunities to develop and commercialize next-generation products with superior benefits. By shaping the organizational culture around innovation and providing the necessary market knowledge, TMT involvement in market information collection allows firms to overcome challenges and exploit market opportunities. Our study provides a number of managerial implications. The first relates to TMT governance and strategic decision-making processes. We show that firms benefit from the involvement of TMT in market knowledge creation. TMTs' contribution to returns from market information collection is stronger for small firms (than for large firms) and for high-technology firms (than for low-technology firms). This indicates that TMTs are a sentinel for the ‘challenged’: their involvement in market information collection compensates for the limited resources associated with SMEs and allows high-technology firms to cope effectively with changing market dynamics. Overall, this indicates the importance of studying TMTs' role in decision-making both at the strategic and the tactical, day-to-day level. Another implication is the need for firms to develop and nurture channels that allow managers and employees to stay close to their customers and build enduring relationships. This requires the allocation of organizational resources and the development of appropriate human resources practices such as training (Collins & Clark, 2003). In addition, while we show the benefits that firms reap from TMT involvement in market information collection, there may be circumstances in which such involvement becomes sub-optimal. Our results, particularly in large firms, may suggest that the returns from TMT involvement in bureaucratic institutions and/or formal organizational processes may actually be unfavorable for the firm. Managers therefore may need to delicately balance the nature, timing and intensity of their involvement, matching them appropriately with the demands of their firm's internal and external environment. Finally, due to top managers' intense job demands and stress, managers should carefully balance the attention they allocate to customers and to other important stakeholders. Hence, we demonstrate that not only market information but also the actors who collect that information (i.e., the TMT) are essential to competitive advantage.