Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Proactive market orientation and innovation in India: The moderating role of intrafirm causal ambiguity

  • C. Lakshman (a1), Rajeev Kumra (a2) and Atanu Adhikari (a3)

Despite the implication of organizational resources and the resource-based view of the firm, the market orientation literature has not examined associated constructs. Additionally, while it is recognized that emerging economies (e.g., India) are key drivers of economic growth, this literature has not paid sufficient attention to such markets, with few exceptions. We examine the impact of proactive market orientation on innovation capability, and performance in a sample of predominantly service firms, in a culture characterized by high power distance and low uncertainty avoidance. We contribute by conceptualizing and demonstrating the moderating impact of intrafirm causal ambiguity, drawn from resource-based theories of the firm. Based on Structural Equation Modelling analysis of responses to a survey of marketing managers, we find that intra-firm causal ambiguity moderates the proactive market orientation-innovation capability relationship, while this strategic orientation is linked to business performance through innovation. We discuss these findings, limitations, implications, and directions for future research.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Proactive market orientation and innovation in India: The moderating role of intrafirm causal ambiguity
      Available formats
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Proactive market orientation and innovation in India: The moderating role of intrafirm causal ambiguity
      Available formats
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Proactive market orientation and innovation in India: The moderating role of intrafirm causal ambiguity
      Available formats
Corresponding author
Corresponding author:
Hide All
AdhikariA., & GillM. S. (2012). Impact of resources, capabilities, and technology on market orientation of Indian B2B firms. Journal of Services Research, 11(2), 7598.
AggarwalN. (2003). Organizational barriers to market orientation: An Indian experience. Journal of Management Research, 3(2), 8797.
AikenL. S., & WestS. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
AmbrosiniV., & BowmanC. (2010). The impact of causal ambiguity on competitive advantage and rent appropriation. British Journal of Management, 21, 939953.
ArmstrongJ. S., & OvertonT. S. (1977). Estimating non response in mail surveys. Journal of Marketing Research, 16, 396400.
Atuahene‐GimaK., SlaterS. F., & OlsonE. M. (2005). The contingent value of responsive and proactive market orientations for new product program performance. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 22(6), 464482.
AulakhP. S. (2009). Revisiting the internationalization – performance relationship: Implications for emerging economy firms. Decision, 36(2), 2539.
AulakhP. S., KotabeM., & TeegenH. (2000). Export strategies and performance of firms from emerging economies: Evidence from Brazil, Chile, and Mexico. Academy of Management Journal, 43(3), 342361.
BarnabosN., & MekothN. (2010). Autonomy, market orientation, and performance in Indian retail banking. Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, 22(3), 330350.
BarneyJ. B. (1991). Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. Journal of Management, 17, 99120.
BodlajM., CoendersG., & ZaskarV. (2012). Responsive and proactive market orientation and innovation success under market and technological turbulence. Journal of Business Economics and Management, 13(4), 666687.
ChittoorR., SarkarM. B., RayS., & AulakhP. S. (2009). Third-world copycats to emerging multinationals: Institutional changes and organizational transformation in the Indian pharmaceutical industry. Organization Science, 20(1), 187205.
ChristensenC. M., & BowerJ. L. (1996). Customer power, strategic investment, and the failure of leading firms. Strategic Management Journal, 17, 197218.
CyertR. M., & MarchJ. G. (1963). A behavioral theory of the firm. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
DayG. (1994). The capabilities of market-driven organizations. Journal of Marketing, 58(4), 3752.
DeshpandeR., & FarleyJ. U. (1999). Corporate culture and market orientation: Comparing Indian and Japanese firms. Journal of International Marketing, 7(4), 111127.
DeshpandeR., FarleyJ. U., & WebsterF. E. (1993). Corporate culture, customer orientation, and innovativeness in Japanese firms: A quadrad analysis. Journal of Marketing, 57(1), 2327.
DhanrajC., & KhannaT. (2011). Transforming mental models on emerging markets. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 10(4), 684701.
EttlieJ. E., & SubramanianM. (2004). Changing strategies and tactics for new product development. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 21, 95109.
FornellC., & LarckerD. (1981). Evaluating structural equation models with unobservable variables and measurement error. Journal of Marketing Research, 18, 3950.
GalvinP. (2014). A new vision for the journal of management & organization: The role of context. Journal of Management & Organization, 20, 15. doi:10.1017/jmo.2014.28.
GrantR. M. (1996). Toward a knowledge-based theory of the firm. Strategic Management Journal, 17, 109122.
GreenleyG. E. W. (1995). Forms of market orientation in UK companies. Journal of Management Studies, 32(1), 4865.
GrewalR., ChandrashekaranM., JohnsonJ. L., & MallapragadaG. (2013). Environments, unobserved heterogeneity, and the effect of market orientation on outcomes for high-tech firms. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 41(2), 206233.
GrewalR., & TansuhajP. (2001). Building organizational capabilities for managing economic crisis: The role of market orientation and strategic flexibility. Journal of Marketing, 65, 6780.
HamelG., & PrahaladC. K. (1994). Competing for the Future. Boston, MA: HBS Press.
HarrisL. C. (2001). Market orientation and performance: Objective and subjective empirical evidence from U.K. companies. Journal of Management Studies, 38, 1743.
HouseR., HangesP., JavidanM., DorfmanP., & GuptaV. (Eds.) (2004). Culture, leadership, and organizations: The globe study of 62 societies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
HuberG. P. (1991). Organizational learning: The contributing processes and the literatures. Organization Science, 2, 88115.
HultG. T. M., & KetchenD. J. (2001). Does market orientation matter? A test of the relationship between positional advantage and performance. Strategic Management Journal, 22, 899906.
HultG. T. M., KetchenD. J., & SlaterS. F. (2005). Market orientation and performance: An integration of disparate approaches. Strategic Management Journal, 26, 11731181.
JainS. K., & BhatiaM. (2007). Market orientation and business performance: The case of Indian manufacturing firms. Vision – The journal of Business Perspective, 11(1), 1533.
JaworskiB. J., & KohliA. K. (1993). Market orientation: Antecedents and consequences. Journal of Marketing, 57, 5370.
KapurD., & RamamurtiR. (2001). India’s emerging competitive advantage in services. Academy of Management Executive, 15(2), 2032.
KetchenD. J., HultG. T. M., & SlaterS. F. (2007). Toward greater understanding of market orientation and the resource-based view. Strategic Management Journal, 28, 961964.
KhannaT., & PalepuK. G. (2010). Winning in emerging markets: Spotting and responding to institutional voids. The World Financial Review, (May-June 2011): 1820.
KingA. W. (2007). Disentangling interfirm and intrafirm causal ambiguity: A conceptual model of causal ambiguity and competitive advantage. Academy of Management Review, 32(1), 156178.
KingA. W., & ZeithamlC. P. (2001). Competencies and firm performance: Examining the causal ambiguity paradox. Strategic Management Journal, 22, 7599.
KircaA. H., BeardenW. O., & HultG. T. M. (2011). Forms of market orientation and firm performance: A complementary approach. AMS Review, 1(3–4), 145153.
KircaA. H., JayachandranS., & BeardenW. O. (2005). Market orientation: A meta-analytic review and assessment of its antecedents and impact on performance. Journal of Marketing, 69, 2441.
KohliA. K., & JaworskiB. J. (1990). Market orientation: The construct, research propositions, and managerial implications. The Journal of Marketing, 54, 118.
KumarV., JonesE., VenkatesanR., & LeoneR. P. (2011). Is market orientation a source of sustainable competitive advantage or simply the cost of competing? Journal of Marketing, 75, 1630.
KumarK., SubramanianR., & YaugerC. (1998). Examining the market orientation-performance relationship: A context specific study. Journal of Management, 24(2), 201233.
LakshmanC. (2011). Effective post-acquisition integration: A knowledge-based approach. Human Resource Management, 50(5), 605623.
LakshmanC., & ParenteR. (2008). Supplier-focused knowledge management in the automobile industry and its implications for product performance. Journal of Management Studies, 45, 317342.
LeeT., & ChuW. (2013). How entrepreneurial orientation, environmental dynamism, and resource rareness influence firm performance. Journal of Management & Organization, 19(2), 167187.
LiY., WeiZ., & LiuY. (2010). Strategic orientations, knowledge acquisition, and firm performance: The perspective of the vendor in cross-border outsourcing. Journal of Management Studies, 47(8), 14571482.
LinM.-J. J., TuY.-C., ChenD.-C., & HuangC.-H. (2013). Customer participation and new product development outcomes: The moderating role of product innovativeness. Journal of Management & Organization, 19(3), 314337.
MatsunoK., MentzerJ. T., & OzsomerA. (2002). The effects of entrepreneurial proclivity and market orientation on business performance. Journal of Marketing, 66, 1832.
MorganR. E., & BerthonP. (2008). Market orientation, generative learning. Innovation strategy and business performance inter-relationships in bioscience firms. Journal of Management Studies, 45(8), 13301350.
NarverJ. C., & SlaterS. F. (1990). The effect of market orientation on business profitability. Journal of Marketing, 53, 2035.
NarverJ. C., SlaterS. F., & MacLachlanD. L. (2004). Responsive and proactive market orientation and new product success. Journal of Product and Innovation Management, 21, 334347.
PelhamA. (1997). Market orientation and performance: The moderating effects of product and customer differentiation. Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, 12(5), 276296.
PodsakoffP. M., MacKenzieS. B., & PodsakoffN. P. (2003). Common method bias in behavioral research: A critical review of the literature and recommended remedies. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88, 879903.
SimoninB. L. (1999). Ambiguity and the process of knowledge transfer in strategic alliances. Strategic Management Journal, 20, 595624.
SlaterS. F., & NarverJ. C. (1994). Does competitive environment moderate the market orientation–performance relationship? Journal of Marketing, 58, 4655.
SlaterS. F., & NarverJ. C. (1995). Market orientation and the learning organization. Journal of Marketing, 59(3), 6374.
SlaterS. F., & NarverJ. C. (1998). Customer-led and market-oriented: Let’s not confuse the two. Strategic Management Journal, 19(10), 10011006.
SzulanskiG. (1996). Exploring the internal stickiness: Impediments to the transfer of best practice within the firm. Strategic Management Journal, 17(1), 2743.
SzulanskiG., CappettaR., & JensenR. J. (2004). When and how trustworthiness matters: Knowledge transfer and the moderating role of causal ambiguity. Organization Science, 15(5), 600613.
TylerB. B., & GnyawaliD. R. (2009). Managerial collective cognitions: An examination of similarities and differences of cultural orientations. Journal of Management Studies, 46(1), 93123.
UygurU. (2013). Determinants of causal ambiguity and difficulty of knowledge transfer within the firm. Journal of Management & Organization, 19(6), 742765.
WilliamsL. J., VandenberghR. J., & EdwardsJ. R. (2009). Structural equation modeling in management research: A guide for improved analysis. The Academy of Management Annals, 3(1), 543604.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Management & Organization
  • ISSN: 1833-3672
  • EISSN: 1839-3527
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-management-and-organization
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 36
Total number of PDF views: 251 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 530 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 22nd October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.