The relationship between entrepreneurship and marketing in established firms

The relationship between entrepreneurship and marketing in established firms

Michael H.Morris Gordon W.Paul rights and content


This article examines the relationship between entrepreneurial and marketing orientations of a firm. It is hypothesized that more entrepreneurial firms will also be more marketing oriented. Both orientations represent strategic responses to the turbulent environments faced by firms today. Further, marketing provides an effective vehicle for achieving entrepreneurship within the corporation. As some have argued, marketing is the home for the entrepreneurial process.

As a process, a firm’s entrepreneurial orientation has three key dimensions: innovativeness, risk taking, and proactiveness. As such, it does not just apply to start-up ventures, but is an orientation that is applicable to organizations of any size. A firm’s marketing orientation, on the other hand, refers to the size and consistency of its investment in marketing activities and people, and includes the firm’s adoption of the marketing concept (i.e., a customer orientation).

An exploratory survey was developed in order to test the research hypothesis. A mail questionnaire was used to elicit responses from the chief operating officers in a random sample of 116 companies in Central Florida. The questionnaire consisted primarily of a 13-item summated scale to measure a firm’s entrepreneurial orientation, and 22 separate items concerned with the firm’s structure and policies in the marketing area, the sources of customer feedback it relies upon, and attitudes/perceptions regarding the impact of the marketing department.

The results provide support for the research hypothesis. Entrepreneurial scores for firms, determined by summing the 13-item scale, were higher for firms in which there was a formal marketing department, in which marketing professionals were in senior executive positions, in which marketing research is a regular activity, and where marketing is felt to play a major role in innovation and the strategic direction of the firm.

Based on these results, managers concerned about rekindling or maintaining the entrepreneurial spirit within the corporation may find it appropriate to begin by examining the firm’s marketing orientation and operations. To what extent is the company structure, its reward systems, and the way in which its resources are allocated, reflective of an emphasis on marketing activities and customer satisfaction? Is the marketing function held accountable for the creation and management of innovative product/market opportunities? Suggestions are also made for further research, and the study’s limitations are denoted. Researchers are encouraged to devote efforts towards identifying whether the relationship between marketing and entrepreneurial orientations is causal, and in which direction. What variables may modify the nature of this relationship? Also, it is important to determine how a company’s marketing and entrepreneurial orientations jointly and separately impact on bottom-line performance.

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