Lafferty and Hult (2001) present a conceptual framework that incorporates five recently advanced points of view regarding market orientation. In their article the differences as well as similarities are reviewed whereupon a synthesized conceptualization regarding the orientation of the market is offered. Consequently, the synthesis is succeeded by a discussion of market orientation as a phenomenon that pits the organizational management with culture so as to attain a competitive advantage.
Lafferty and Hult, (2001) postulate that with the more recent focus on market orientation, five distinct attempts have been made in a bid to conceptualize the construct. These include, the decision making perspective as well as the market intelligence perspective. Moreover, we also have the culturally based behavioral perspective in addition to the customer perspective as well as the strategic perspective. In a bid to integrate the five perspectives into a synthesized model, the authors assess the market orientation perspectives.
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So as to understand the concept behind the perspectives, it is critical to define market orientation. Despite the existence of differentiation in literature regarding the use of the term market orientation, the term was initially adopted in reference to the marketing concept that McCarthy and Perreault, (1990) defined. Conventionally, market orientation stressed on the customer whereupon it emphasized the needs of the customer as well as profit making by ensuring customer satisfaction. The contemporary outlook of market orientation contrastingly, institutes the marketing concept.
A market oriented approach under this guise is more likely to be embraced by departments that are not necessarily marketing departments (Lafferty and Hult, 2001). At the heart of the decision making perspective of market orientation proposed by Shapiro, (1988) is the management’s commitment as well as willingness to share information throughout the organization’s departments in addition to the practice of decision-making in an open manner between both divisional and functional personnel. Under this perspective, three concepts are critical for an organization’s success.
Firstly, information regarding critical buying influences has to permeate all the functions of the corporation. Secondly, tactical as well as strategic decisions have to be made both inter-divisionally as well as inter-functionally. Lastly, Shapiro, (1988) contends that an organization’s functions as well as divisions have to make sure that all decisions are well coordinated and executed in manner that shows commitment. The market intelligence perspective perceives market orientation to be a corporate-wide derivation of market intelligence.
This intelligence has to do with both current as well as future needs of the company’s customers. Consequently, the generated intelligence has to be disseminated across all departments whereupon organization-wide response is expected. The market intelligence perspective has been conceptualized as a wide concept that overlaps over customers’ verbalized needs as well as their preferences. This perspective contends that competitors’ actions as well as the effects of these actions on prospective customers have to be monitored.
Additionally, market intelligence also calls for an assessment of other exogenous factors for instance, environmental forces as well as government regulation and technology. The culturally based behavioral perspective posits market orientation to be a company’s culture that efficiently and effectively inspires and creates essential behaviors that motivate a superior value for buyers. As such, the creation of this superior value for the company’s prospective customers sustains the business’s superior performance in terms of profitability.
The element of customer orientation calls upon the organization to sufficiently understand its customer so as to come up with products or services that are of superior value to them. The forth perspective, the strategic focus perspective in a business unit is the extent to which the organization’s business unit obtains information from its prospective customers whereupon this information is used for developing strategies that meet the needs of the customers. Consequently, this developed strategy is implemented through responsiveness to customers’ wants as well as needs.
The strategic approach by Ruekert, (1992) enables an organization’s management to assemble and construe exogenous information so as to not only set goals but also objectives whereupon resources are allocated to various programs within the business unit. The last perspective that Lafferty and Hult, (2001) exemplify is the customer orientation perspective. Primarily, customer orientation is a set of beliefs that prioritize the needs of the customer while not disregarding those of other company stakeholders such us owners, employees as well as the management.
This enables the company to develop a long term enterprise that is also profitable. Primarily this perspective perceives market orientation to be a culture that prioritizes the profitable creation as well as maintenance of advanced customer value alongside consideration of stakeholder interests. Additionally, customer orientation has to stipulate norms for behavior that have to do with corporate development as well as responsiveness to market information.
In conclusion, Lafferty and Hult (2001) presented a model that amalgamated five modern conceptualizations regarding market orientation whereupon it also provided a synthesis of their components. Primarily, the focus on a synthesized market orientation model is endeared towards meeting the needs of customers as well as creation of value for them. A second critical concept is information an element within the corporate framework. This information includes all that can be generated or derived not only regarding the customer but the competitor as well so as to assist the organization in its quest for market orientation.
References Lafferty, B. A and Hult, G. T. M. , 2001, “A synthesis of contemporary market orientation perspectives”. European Journal of Marketing. Vol. 35 No. 1 / 2 pp. 92-109 McCarthy, J. E. , Perreault, W. D. Jr (1990), Basic Marketing – A Managerial Approach, 10th ed. Irwin, Homewood, IL. Ruekert, R. W. (1992), "Developing a market orientation: an organizational strategy perspective", International Journal of Research in Marketing, Vol. 9 pp. 225-45. Shapiro, B. (1988), "What the hell is ‘market-oriented’? ” Harvard Business Review, pp. 119-25.
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