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Defining market orientation for libraries

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Purpose ‐ This paper is the result of exploratory research forming part of ongoing study into the value and relevance of market orientation as a strategic option for library managers. The aim of the study is to define the concept of market orientation relative to the library sector. Design/methodology/approach ‐ A series of focus groups and field interviews were carried out in order to validate the established constructs of market orientation prevalent in the management literature. Focus groups were used to gather data from librarians working at different levels in two different sectors, health and arts. Interviews were carried out with library service managers in two other sectors, academic and public. Senior library policy makers were also interviewed. The object was to gain an indication of the breadth of opinion across sectors. The data were coded and analysed using a taxonomic map developed during the study. Findings ‐ Market orientation is a concept that library professionals see as being valuable. Library managers define market orientation in the same way as the concept is defined in the management literature. Their understanding of the concept is developing. Research implications/limitations ‐ There are implications for further research. Methods used to measure market orientation in other domains are likely to be relevant for libraries. Practical implications ‐ Fostering an organisational culture that supports market orientation has implications for service management and development. Originality/value ‐ Research in market orientation in libraries is limited. This study provides the basis for research development into market orientation and its value for libraries.
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Keywords: Information services; Library management; Market orientation; Marketing strategy

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2006

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