Rethinking market-ing orientation

A critical perspective from an emerging economy

Authored by: Alexandre Faria

The Routledge Companion to Critical Management Studies

Print publication date:  September  2015
Online publication date:  August  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415501880
eBook ISBN: 9781315889818
Adobe ISBN: 9781134511235


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The concept of market orientation – a notion that may be seen as a condition as well as a consequence of neoliberal globalization – has become one of the most important in the field of marketing. Beginning in the early 1990s, influential marketing researchers argued that large business firms that followed the concept of market orientation – i.e. firms that focused on either the needs of consumers, the pattern of competition and intra-organizational coordination (Slater & Narver, 1990, 1998, 1999) or on the construction and use of market intelligence systems (Jaworski & Kohli, 1993; Kohli & Jaworski, 1990) – achieved superior performance (measured in terms of profitability). While the popularity of market orientation helped raise the status of the field of marketing within large corporations and business schools, at the same time it also insulated researchers (1) from criticisms about the relevance of the discipline and (2) from developments in other scholarly fields concerning debates about different types of capitalism, the neoliberal features of management knowledge and the changing geopolitical and geo-epistemic position of emerging economies in the post–Cold War international context. Informed by a critical perspective that situates its locus of enunciation (Mignolo, 2000) in an emerging economy, this chapter proposes that market orientation reproduces assumptions that are particularly problematic for emerging economies, and, accordingly, that critique in marketing needs to be taken beyond the ‘comfort level’ of critical Anglo-American and/or European researchers.

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