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Extending Market Orientation: Developing Proactive Strategies for Increased Performance
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Industrial Economics. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6706-467X
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Industrial Economics. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
2017 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Recent research shows that firms implementing market orientation often exhibit above average business performance (Kumar et al., 2011). The core of the market orientation concept is the idea that firms create superior business performance by focusing on delivering superior customer value (Narver & Slater, 1990), which requires extensive gathering, as well as organizational dissemination, of market intelligence. However, the market environments for most firms are becoming increasingly more complex, through e.g. globalization, shorter product life-cycles, faster imitation cycles, and more fickle customers, just to mention a few influencing factors. Day (2011) describes the need for firms to become more vigilant and develop so-called adaptive capabilities, which refers to becoming better at discovering market developments earlier and being better prepared to respond and adapt to them, i.e. becoming more proactive in managing the market. Thus, market orientation in a more competitive environment must be complemented by even more refined, and proactive, approaches to the market, mirroring results by Frösén et al. (2016), who find that market orientation is a necessary, but not sufficient condition for high business performance. This points towards the need for an extended view of market orientation and proactiveness.

Proactiveness in itself is, however, not a magic bullet for managing increasing market complexity and improving business performance; for example, Chan (2006) demonstrates how the performance of proactive actions is heavily moderated by the degree of awareness of the situation, which also is indicated by Day’s (2011) focus on the need for vigilance and organizational learning. Thus, firms must find the appropriate way to be proactive in order to match their situation, likely requiring different capabilities for different firms.

This paper uses a contingency approach to investigate key factors, both internal and external, as firms reach for proactivity as a way to drive performance. The research is based on qualitative case studies of a number of Swedish firms in highly competitive environments that have been employing proactive market strategies to successfully improve business performance. The cases will be used to identify key factors, such as capabilities and business practices that have been important for these firms in becoming successful in their proactive approaches, and to identify the key challenges they have faced in doing so. The aim is to explore in what ways increased proactiveness in the market strategy of a firm can be used to improve business performance, and to investigate what factors have been deciding in enabling the firm to achieve such success.

The preliminary analyses point toward two things in particular. First, the need for a clear, long-term strategy that provides guidance for managers and salespersons regarding how to work towards future goals, including the need for a well-developed market sensing. Second, the need to build good, long-term relationships, not only with customers, but also with potential customers and various institutional actors is emphasized.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-157470OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-157470DiVA, id: diva2:1324258
Conference
2017 CBIM Academic Workshop
Available from: 2019-06-13 Created: 2019-06-13 Last updated: 2019-06-14

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Brege, HaraldKindström, Daniel

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