Market orientation has been considered as a very important concept in the field of marketing in present times. The firms which follow the concept of market orientation are trying enhance their 'understanding of customers' whilst constantly developing and delivering superior solutions to them through timely responsiveness (Narver & Slater, 1990). Jaworski & Kohli (1993) stated that firm's market orientation builds upon three dimensions: the organization-wide acquisition, dissemination, and co-ordination of market intelligence. The market orientation literature has been abundantly supplied with theoretical and empirical studies which have described the importance of market orientation to the performance of firm at an organizational level of analysis (Narver and Slater, 1990). A firm's market orientation builds upon three dimensions: the organization-wide acquisition, dissemination, and co-ordination of market intelligence (Jaworski and Kohli, 1993).However, researchers have rarely studied the contribution of individuals. Scholars and academicians had focused their concentration on the firm-level construct ignoring the underlying regular practices being carried out by individuals that develop and form the orientation (Nelson & Winter, 1982). Various scholars have come up with empirical work on the topic of market orientation. Researchers in past have focused on replicating antecedents and consequences of market orientation, and towards development of an applicable measure of construct to test its effect on organizational performance (Jaworski & Kohli, 1993; Kohli, Jaworski, & Kumar, 1993; Narver & Slater, 1990; Siguaw, Brown, & Widing, 1994; Slater & Narver, 1995). However, researchers have rarely studied the contribution of individuals. Although researchers have viewed these regular practices from an organizational level, few of them have considered the actions of individual employees, or have attempted to understand the social psychological drivers of market orientation employees within a firm (Jones, Busch & Dacin, 2003). The most elaborative work that was carried out by Schlosser and McNaughton (2007) in which they briefed about the antecedents of Individual market orientation of employees of financial institutions. Ho, Niden, and Johney (2011) stated work performance and future intentions of an employee as consequences of Individual Market orientation. Schlosser and McNaughton (2007) defined Individual Market orientation as 'Responsibility undertaken by an individual employee to gather and assess the value of market information, and a willingness to share it with other employees'
In this paper we've discussed about the factors which act as antecedents which motivate an employee to exhibit market oriented behaviour and what are the possible consequences of market oriented behaviour.
2. ANTECEDENTS OF INDIVIDUAL MARKET ORIENTATION
Earlier researcher in the field of market orientation had focused on individual level through customer-oriented disposition (e.g., Brown, Mowen, Donavan, & Licata, 2002; Alhakimi and Baharun, 2009; Jones, Busch & Dacin, 2003) or alternatively on various individual-level antecedents or outcomes of a market orientation strategy (e.g. Celuch, Kasouf, & Strieter, 2000). This was considered problematic because the customer oriented disposition narrowly targets the customer and does not identify trainable actions. The other stream identifies important individual-level issues, but does not test them in the context of market-oriented behaviours performed by each employee. To fill the void, this research examines selected antecedents to individual market-oriented behaviours.
Psychological Contracts: The psychological contract explains how role obligations shared by both employee and the employer can direct employee towards market-oriented practices (Schlosser & McNaughton, 2007). 'The psychological contract is described as belief of an individual, formed by the organization, regarding terms of an exchange agreement between individuals and their organization.'(Rousseau, 1995). The psychological contract envisions the exchange of promises between employee and organization and represents 'an individual's belief in the reciprocal obligations arising out of the interpretation of promises.' (Rousseau & Tijoriwala, 1998). Psychological contract are therefore can be coined as unwritten expectations of the employee which he expects his/her organization will implement for his/her welfare.
H1: The psychological contracts lead an employee to demonstrate market-oriented behaviour.
Learning orientation: At the level of organization, researchers have related market orientation with learning orientation (Baker & Sinkula, 1999), with channel relationships (Langurak, 2001) and also with inter functional differences (Atuahene-Gima, 1996). These causative factors provided a path for investigating individual level market orientation being practiced by employees in this particular research paper. March and Simon (1958) and Agryris and Schon (1978) claimed that learning orientation as a process through which the organization discovers errors and corrects these errors. Senge (1990) proposed learning organization as a method to develop employee's capabilities to achieve the goals they desire. He described learning orientation as process and patterns of learning itself. Lin (2001) considered learning orientation as a mechanism by which the culture of learning promotes innovation in an organization. Han, Kim, and Srivastava (1998) and Hurley and Hult (1998) empirically tested and found a relationship between a construct they refer to as 'learning and development' and innovation, but did not include a measure of market orientation, or a complete measure of learning orientation.
H2:- The more employees demonstrate a high learning agility, the more likely they are to perform market-oriented behaviours.
Customer Contact: Market orientated behaviour of an individual employee vary according to customer contact experienced by him and according to different roles which he anticipates to play in future (Schlosser & McNaughton, 2007). It is essential to understand how market-oriented behaviours are interpreted throughout an organization. Few previous studies included such a focus, preferring to target marketing and senior management teams (Wood, Bhuian & Keicker, 2000). The few of those have considered differences across various business functions in contrast with marketing and operations in manufacturing firms (e.g., Kahn, 2001) or focus on those with close customer contact in studies of sales force and customer orientation (e.g., Harris & Ogbonna, 2001; Langerak, 2001). Employees fulfil various roles in organizations. Roles require different skills and abilities, some narrowly focused, on the same broad Therefore, some employees may have access to more market information than other employees do, and this shapes their degree of information generation. It is generally believed that front line employees are more inclined to develop market oriented behaviour (Schlosser & McNaughton, 2007). Schmit and Allscheid (1995) also argued that an employee directs his efforts towards customer satisfaction due to elongated customer contact. This is so because front-end employees are more exposed to the customer and receive new market information which is later on disseminated among the employees of an organization. It also forms form extrinsic (economic) parts of their psychological contracts (Schlosser & McNaughton, 2007). Employees who are indulged more into customer contact also exhibit organizational citizenship behaviour and are more likely to perform extra-role behaviours (MacKenzie, Podsakoff, & Ahearne, 1998; Organ, 1988). Dasari and Gunaseelan (2012) also argued that contact with customer is important to increase business performance.
H3: The more frequent their contact with customers, the more likely employees are to perform market-oriented behaviours.
Employees with higher satisfaction level and commitment, exhibit market oriented behaviour at discretion. Whereas dissatisfied and uncommitted employees are not exhibiting market oriented behaviour.
3. CONSEQUENTS OF INDIVIDUAL MARKET ORIENTATION
Work Performance: Work performance is considered as parameter for measuring performance of an employee in an organizational outfit. Schlosser and McNaughton (2007, 2009) and Ho, Niden and Johney (2011) indicated that work performance is a consequence of individual level market orientation of an employee. Work performance is defined as 'Employee's ability to perform according the requirements of the job effectively. Schlosser and McNaughton (2007, 2009) found in their studies that the work performance of employees who exhibited individual market oriented behaviour was better than those employees who were less market oriented. They stated that because of individual market oriented behaviour their work performance increased. Green, Inman, Brown, and Willis (2005), Caruana, Ramaseshan, and Ewing, (1998) and Ho, Niden and Johney (2011) in their study stated that there is positive relationship between work performance and market orientation.
H4: Individual market orientation has a positive relationship with work performance
Future Intentions: Future intentions are those prospects which an employee sees himself in the future. Bo et al. in their study done on 'Remisiers' in Malaysia found that future intentions referred as self-development of an employee and where he sees himself in the future. Basically what he intends to achieve in the future. Zollo and Winter (2002) stated that continuous learning and training evolved the employee resulted in conception of future intentions in them. Schlosser and McNaughton (2007, 2009) stated that market oriented behaviour of the individual also shapes up the future intentions of an employee.
H5: Individual market orientation has a positive relationship with future intentions.
Figure 1: Antecedents and Consequences of I-MO
4. DEVELOPMENT OF SCALE AND RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
In this research primary data was collected using convenience sampling to understand the individual market orientation of employees of financial services companies and its causes and effects. The self-administered questionnaires were provided to the respondents. The measurement scale of Schlosser and McNaughton's 'I-MARKOR' (2009) was adapted and the scaling technique used was 5-point Likert type scale.
The data collection for research took place during 2nd September 2013 to 1st October 2013. The information about financial services companies in central India and their employees was collected through internet. The 350 self-administered questionnaires were sent through postal services to 50 financial services companies located in Central Indian region. Initially, the response rate was only 20%. Through regular telephonic follow ups made by the researchers there was an increase in response rate. Finally 211 responses were collected and out of those 196 responses were reported usable (response rate of 56%).
Majority of the respondents were back-end executives, assistant managers and senior managers (94%). Most of the respondents (nearly 70%) were aged between '31-40 years'. 57% of the respondents were male and females consisted 43% of the total responses. About 39% of the respondents were post graduate. 36% of the total respondents were graduates.
5. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
5.1 Reliability and Validity
Table No. 1: Cronbach's Alpha And Guttman's Split Half Reliability Coefficient Statistics for Total Data
Cronbach's Alpha No. of Items Guttman's Split- Half reliability coefficient No. of Items
0.824 61 0.898 61
The reliability value more than 0.6 is considered good. The reliability methods which are applied are also equally important. The reliability value retrieved from the questionnaires was way much higher than the standardized value. The items in the questionnaire had Cronbach Alpha's reliability of 0.824 (refer to table 1). The items from the same questionnaire had Guttman's Split-Half reliability coefficient of 0.898 (refer to table 1). Thus it can be inferred that the data collected was highly reliable.
Table 2: Correlation Between Variables in the Model
1 2 3 4 5 6
Orientation 0.540** 1
Contact 0.782** 0.318** 1
Orientation 0.877** .670 .809 1 .588 .060 0.670** 0.809** 1
Performance 0.500** 0.716** 0.303** 0.588** 1
Intentions 0.08 0.044 0.052 0.06 -0.031 1
**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).
5.2 ANTECEDENTS OF INDIVIDUAL MARKET ORIENTATION
Here discussed are the antecedents of individual market orientation which are (i) Psychological contract, (ii) Future intentions, and (iii) Customer contact.
5.2.1 Psychological Contract and Individual Market Orientation
Here the researchers, firstly are focusing on the antecedents of IMO. In the study researchers found a positive and strong relationship between Psychological contracts and market orientation (refer to table 2). The Pearson's 'r' for the correlation between psychological contracts and individual market orientation is 0.877. The tested variables have statistically significant correlation with Sig. (2-tailed) value is 0.000. Thus it can be inferred that there is a strong and positive correlation between psychological contracts and market orientation. We have hypothesised a positive relationship between psychological contracts and market orientation. The psychological contracts appears to facilitate individual market orientation well (as observed in table 3, b=0.377, p<0.001). The study of standardized regression coefficient in the sample suggests that the psychological contracts have a strong impact on market orientation (refer to table 3). It appears that most of the employees in an organization emphasize that psychological contracts between them and employer are important catalyst in triggering market oriented behaviour in them. The findings are similar to the earlier researches carried out by Schlossor and Mcnaughton (2007), Guest and Conway (1997) and Morrison and Robinson (1997). It can also be inferred that employees hesitate in adopting market oriented methods/ways if the psychological contracts are not mutually fulfilled by the employers. It appears from the study that if a private college or university desires to enhance their business performance (enrolment of students, profits, revenue) there is need of infusing market oriented activities.
H1 The psychological contracts lead an employee to demonstrate market-oriented behaviour. Accepted
5.2.2 Learning Orientation and Individual Market Orientation
The results of the study indicated significant but slight moderate relationship between learning orientation and Individual market orientation of employees. The correlation between learning orientation and individual market orientation is 0.670 (refer to table 2), indicating a strong and positive relationship between both variables. The learning orientation appears to aid development of market oriented behaviour in individual well (as observed in table 3, b=0.337, p<0.001). The study of standardized regression coefficients of the sample also are in alignment with the preceding researches carried out by Slater and Narver (1995), Schlossor and Mcnaughton (2007) and Morgan (2004). The studies done in past and the current one indicate that learning climate in an organization should be nurtured and protected. The market oriented behaviour in an individual employee is developed only if he/she get appropriate climate. It becomes for managers to develop this climate. A manager can do it through the hiring and rewarding of those employees who are exhibiting learning agility. Schlossor and Mcnaughton (2007) quoted that 'A strong learning orientation prompts employees to accept and adopt learning routines introduced by the company'. Our research has identified market-oriented behaviours that organizations can apparently target and train employees to perform in their respective fields. Woods and Bandura (2000), Morgan (20004) and Schlossor and Mcnaughton (2007) suggested that learning agility in the employees can stimulate the market oriented behaviour.
H2 The more employees demonstrate a high learning agility, the more likely they are to perform market-oriented behaviours. Accepted
Table 3: Antecedents to Individual Market Orientation: Standardized Regression Coefficients
Variables Dependent Variable
Individual Market Orientation
Psychological Contracts 0.377***
Learning Orientation 0.337***
Customer Contact 0.407***
***p < .001
**p < .01
*p < .05
5.2.3 Customer Contact and Individual Market Orientation
The modus operandi of the financial organization is to repeatedly contact the prospective customer or existing customer. It enables an employee to have proper communication with the customer and know his needs, this in turn allows employee of a financial organization to take steps to retain/build a customer. Customer contact had the strongest positive relationship with individual market orientation. The correlation between customer contact and individual market orientation is 0.809 (refer to table 2), this indicates a strong and positive relationship between both variables. The customer contact aided in evolution of market oriented behaviour in employee (as observed in table 3, b=0.407, p<0.001). The study of standardized regression coefficients of the sample have resulted same as preceding research carried out by Schlossor and Mcnaughton (2007). An employee should contact his/her client at least once a week. (Schlossor & Mcnaughton, 2007). Eddleston, Kidder and Litzky (2002) in their study stated customer also expected a weekly meeting by his/her advisor/contact in the financial organization. Such activities incubate a sense of importance in a customer and aided employee to develop market oriented behaviour. The findings of the study go parallel with that of by Schlossor and Mcnaughton (2007). The findings indicate that an employee must not follow a traditional approach in contacting a customer. An employee should always work beyond his traditional duties and should be contacting a customer. But hurdles are created in development of market oriented behaviours of an individual. Contacting customer is often criticized by those employees who are not working in field or nor are stationed at front office (Langerak 2001). Basically, it should be an organizations propaganda to motivate and reward employees to contact customer as much as they can. Ensuring certain actions will surly promote market oriented behaviour in employees.
H3 The more frequent their contact with customers, the more likely employees are to perform market-oriented behaviours. Accepted
Table 4: Consequences to Individual Market Orientation: Standardized Regression Coefficients
Variables Dependent Variables
Work Performance Future Intentions
Individual Market Orientation 0.588*** 0.060
R2 0.342 -0.002
N 196 196
***p < .001
**p < .01
*p < .05
5.3 CONSEQUENCES OF INDIVIDUAL MARKET ORIENTATION
Here discussed are the consequences of individual market orientation which are (i) Work performance and, (ii) Future intentions.
5.3.1 Individual Market Orientation and Work Performance
Work Performance is significantly correlated to the individual Market Orientation. The correlation between individual market orientation and work performance is 0.588. It shows a strong and positive relationship between them (refer to table 2). Market oriented behaviours in the employee results in enhanced work performance (as observed in table 4, b=0.588, p<0.0001). It indicates a strong impact of market orientated behaviours of individual on work performance. The result of the study are similar to the studies carried out in the past by Ho, Niden and Johneny (2011) and Green, Inman, Brown, and Willis (2005). In both studies individual market orientation was a positive predictor of both financial and marketing. Caruana, Ramaseshan, and Ewing (1998b) also found the same results but their result was specifically related to a sector.
H4 Individual market orientation has a positive relationship with work performance Accepted
5.3.2 Individual Market Orientation and Future Intentions
The dependent variable of Future Intention was also positively correlated to the individual Market orientation. The correlation between individual market orientation and future intentions is 0.06. It shows positive but very weak relationship between the two variables (refer to table 2). It was observed in the study that market orientated behaviours of an individual does not have positive relationship with individual market orientation (refer to table no 4, b = -0.002, p>0.05). It indicates negative impact of market orientated behaviours of individual on his future intentions. Donavan, Brown and Mowen (2004) in his study indicated that a strong individual market orientation creates internal benefits such as job satisfaction and commitment. But negative impact of the individual market orientation signs that often employees with such attributes switch to another organization for a higher remuneration. It also gives an indication that the employees working in financial organizations are not satisfied and lack in commitment.
H5 Individual market orientation has a positive relationship with future intentions. Rejected
7. RESEARCH CONTRIBUTION
Following are the implications for the researchers and managers derived from the study.
7.1 Research Implications
After analysis of market oriented behaviour of individual, financial organizations can provide direction to the strategy makers for building competitive advantage over the competitors. We have considered employees throughout the organization. It is inferred from the study that by motivating an employee to adopt market oriented behaviour would result in employee retention and enhanced performance (Eddleston, Kidder & Litzky, 2002; Boo Ho, Niden, & Johney, 2011). It is also inferred that customer contact, learning agility and psychological contracts also play an important role in development of market oriented behaviour in an individual. It is also observed that good-quality employee relationship with customer provide a base for development of stronger relationships which promote customer loyalty (Day, 2000). This research attempts to provide a remedy to the gap which exists in the current individual market orientation literature by enhancing the understanding of employee perspectives and behaviours. It has contributed towards its cause by testing the proposed relationships between the above mentioned set of variables with individual market orientation. This research would be helpful to both researchers and marketing practitioners as it provides the framework for future studies and also provides market orientation strategies to the practitioners which would help them gain a competitive edge.
7.2 Managerial implications
Marketing managers and the seniors can learn a lot from findings of this study. Firstly about the psychological contracts, a manager should always keep in mind that an employee has expectations from an organization. If an organization is not able to match up to employee's set of expectations, it could lead to dissatisfaction and hence exhibition of less market orientated behaviour by employee. Thus it is recommended to a manager that he/she should always opt for a psychological analysis of an employee to know his/her expectations from his organization and should try to fulfil them. It will motivate an employee to exhibit market oriented behaviours. Learning agility has also being identified as an important trait leading towards exhibition of market oriented behaviours. It is identification of errors made in the past while working in an environment and rectifying them. It is advisable to managers who want to develop market oriented behaviours in an employee should provide them with timely trainings and development programmes should be imparted to enhance their learning ability. It is also recommended to managers to start practicing Kai-Zen in their organization. Rewards and appraisals should be given to those employees who display inclination towards learning as they are most likely to display learning orientation. Customer contact, the final and the most important antecedents. It triggers market orientated behaviours in an employee. More the time spent with customer, more an employee will know about him. This will compel an employee to find out methods to satisfy needs and wants of customer. A manager should focus on increasing time which an employee is spending with customers. A manager should try to increase interactive sessions between the employees and the customers. It would trigger exchange of thoughts between both parties involved. Kohli and Jaworski (1990) stated that increased efforts in intelligence generation and greater level of responsiveness in an organization will lead to enhanced market oriented behaviour. Thus a manager should focus on increasing number of activities in which customers come in contact with employees.
8. LIMITATION AND FUTURE RESEARCH
This research particularly explains about the difficulty in imaging the lower-level employees, in simpler words 'the back-end support staff'. The researchers in this survey approached employees of financial organizations and were employed in more senior posts and front end executives within their own organizations. In future research, all the types of employees in financial organization should be included, and there should be increase in the sample size and response rate to the survey. Future researchers should consider the influence of mentoring for enhancement of learning agility. More set of variables should be searched which affect development of market oriented behaviour in employees. The future studies should also include the quality of psychological contracts between employer and employee and its impact on the level of market orientation of an individual. It Future studies should include sampling from other countries to valid the relationships found in this study.
Even though, the market orientation is considered as an organizational trait, it is supported by the attitude and actions displayed by its employees. There cannot be development of market orientation or any strategy regarding implementation of market orientation until the employees of an organization are willing. Therefore, it is responsibility of an individual employee that he must gather and assess the value of market information, should willingly share it with other employees. This research has identified important individual-level antecedents which organizations must reminisce for while attempting to kindle organization wide market-oriented behaviours and also the consequences of individual market orientation. Kulkarni, Kumar and Janakiram (2009) also mentioned in their study that learning should be part of organizational culture and leads to job satisfaction of an employee. An organization should focus on development of high matched psychological contracts with the employees so that their performance could be enhanced (Schlosser & McNaughton, 2009). Organizations should make it mandatory for employees to spend time with customers so they learn more about customer's needs and find new ways to fulfil them, thus being more market oriented individually.
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