Exploring market orientation among Chinese small and medium-sized enterprises

Long Zhang, Ali Kara, John E. Spillan, Alma Mintu-Wimsatt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose: The role of marketing as a business function is rapidly changing in China. Consequently, their views on marketing orientation – whether it is accepted, rejected, modified or reframed – have been seriously impacted. This paper aims to report on the results of a survey among Chinese small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) managers and their perceptions of the market-orientation philosophy. In particular, emphasis was placed on three dimensions of market orientation: intelligence generation, intelligence dissemination and responsiveness. The effect of market orientation on business performance was also examined. Design/methodology/approach: The authors collected data from 214 managers from SMEs. These businesses were located in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. The commonly used market orientation (MARKOR) measure was used to test the hypotheses. Findings: Consistent with the extant literature, the findings provided empirical support for the three dimensions of market orientation among Chinese SME. The authors also found that a positive relationship existed between Chinese SME market orientation and firm performance. Research limitations/implications: This study provides major insights into the market orientation measurement and practices of SME in China. From a measurement perspective, the empirical support for MARKOR across a non-Western context is noteworthy. From a practitioner perspective, the implications relating to understanding Chinese SME and how these companies can best market their products and services to their respective markets are critical. Some of the limitations of our study relates to the sample size, convenience sampling and geographic concentration of the respondents. Originality/value: This study addresses the gaps in the literature by exploring market orientation in non-large scale businesses as well as the adaptation of the concept in a non-Western cultural setting. The findings extend the conceptualization and application of market orientation to Chinese SME.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)617-636
Number of pages20
JournalChinese Management Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Business, Management and Accounting


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