Does a Market Orientation Strategy Exist toward Business School Students? a View from Three Levels of Academic Administrators

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION AND DEFINITIONS

Successful organizations seek to attain and maintain high levels of performance; but can a particular organizational strategy or culture lead to improved organizational performance? If so, can such a strategy or culture be described and then be measured quantitatively? And, if measurements can be made will comparisons in measurements between organizations be advantageous in helping organizations improve their performance?

This paper investigates these questions, measures a specific component of organizational strategy and compares three managerial levels of educational organizations. The organizational strategy measured is market orientation. The quantitative measurement is accomplished by way of a scaled instrument used in a national survey. The comparisons described in this research include benchmarked levels between commercial businesses (for profit entities) and various organizational levels of schools of business administration (non-profit entities).

In marketing literature, numerous similar sounding terms are often encountered. These terms are not synonymous and should not be used interchangeably. To help differentiate and explain terms, the following three descriptions and definitions are provided:

 
   The marketing concept is a philosophy that advocates that a 
   successful organization begins with identifying customer needs and 
   wants, decides which needs to meet, and involves all employees in 
   the process of satisfying customers. 
 
   Marketing orientation implies that the marketing function is the 
   most important function within the organization and that all other 
   functional areas are driven by the demands of the marketing 
   department. 
 
   Market orientation refers to an organizational culture in which 
   everyone in the organization is committed to the customer and 
   adapts in a timely manner to meeting the changing needs of the 
   customer. Market orientation blends a company culture dedicated to 
   providing superior value with successfully achieving a customer 
   focus, acquiring competitor intelligence, and maintaining 
   interfunctional coordination. It is viewed as the implementation of 
   the marketing concept. 

DISCUSSION AND LITERATURE REVIEW

The Baldrige Education Criteria for Performance Excellence, developed by the Baldrige National Quality Program (BNQP 2005), rest on the assumption that universities can take steps to achieve "performance excellence". The document specifies certain marketing-related activities, and emphasizes the need to identify and plan strategies with respect to various segments of students, stakeholders and other markets. The Baldrige criteria are designed to be used for self-assessment, awarding Baldrige prizes, and providing feedback to educational institutions applying for them, but have other important purposes as well. They can be used by any university business school, for example, regardless of whether or not it is an award applicant, to "improve organizational performance practices, capabilities, and results," to "facilitate ... sharing of best practices," and to assist in "understanding and managing performance ... guiding organizational planning and opportunities for learning" (BNQP 2005).

Excellence of performance in higher education is self-evidently important. In the business discipline, it is assessed and assured by the qualification standards of the bodies awarding formal accreditation to business schools (Karathanos and Karathanos 1996). In the U.S.A., these are mainly AACSB International (the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, known until 1997 as the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business) and ACBSP (the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs), address performance evaluation and improvement. Performance is ranked more informally in the U. …