Technology or customer orientations: theory and scale development

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

The issue of the relationship between innovation and market orientation is a vexing yet vital problem for researcher and practitioner alike. The recent strategic management and marketing literatures have featured an ongoing debate concerning these philosophies as guiding templates for the way in which organisations conduct their business activity. This dissertation takes as its theme this central tension. Specifically, it focuses on the dialectic between marketing and innovation. The contrast between serving and creating customers is explored and the sometimes-uneasy relationship between an innovation and a customer orientation is examined in the light of both philosophical origin and contemporary research. From this discussion, a model that provides an inclusive paradigm is developed. The resulting archetypes and their inter-relationships are then discussed and related to the different strategies that firms have used to resolve the tension. The dissertation then explores the dynamics of the change process for several well-known companies, based on the insights generated by the model. Managerial implications of the model are explored, with a particular emphasis on how new technology is changing the desirability of alternative strategies. Having specified and explored the model on a conceptual level, the dissertation then goes on to operationalize the framework. Specifically, a measurement scale to assess the extent to which a firm or a business corresponds to a particular archetype is developed. Tests of reliability and validity are conducted. The results indicate in four clearly defied factors that correspond to the archetypes in the model. The use of the model and scale for management and academics are discussed.

Bibliography: leaves 105-118.