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The Contingent Value of Responsive and Proactive Market Orientations for New Product Program Performance

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While the benefits of being market oriented are largely accepted, a group of scholars and managers remain skeptical. Marketing scholars have sought to counter the criticisms leveled against market orientation (MO) by arguing that it has both responsive and proactive dimensions. However, few studies have empirically examined the complexity of the effects of these dimensions on firm performance. Drawing on theories of resource-based advantage and organizational search behavior, this article advances understanding by arguing that responsive and proactive market orientations have curvilinear effects on product development performance, that their interaction may be positively related to product development performance, and that their effects on new product program performance are moderated differentially by the organizational implementation conditions and marketing function power. Survey results of 175 U.S. firms indicate support for most of the hypotheses. Specifically, whereas responsive MO has a U-shaped relationship with new product program performance, proactive MO has an inverted U-shaped relationship with new product program performance. Contrary to the arguments presented here, the interaction of both orientations is negatively related to new product program performance. This study finds that both orientations are needed; however, new product program performance is enhanced when one is at higher level and the other is at lower level. Finally, responsive MO is only positively related to new product program performance under specific conditions such as when strategic consensus among managers is high. On the other hand, the positive effect of proactive MO on new product program performance is further strengthened when learning orientation and marketing power are high. Overall, this study suggests that the effects of responsive and proactive MO on new product program performance are more complex than previously theoretically argued and empirically examined.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: November 1, 2005


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