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John Dion

DBA Graduate - 2013

Thesis title

Understanding the Forces that Affect the Market Orientation of Three Diverse Trams: A Mixed-Methods, Longitudinal Study.

Supervisor(s)

Dimitris Assimakopoulos

Dr. John F. Dion is currently an assistant professor of marketing and the MBA program coordinator at the Huether School of Business, The College of Saint Rose, Albany, New York, USA. Prior to joining Saint Rose, he spent 10 years in marketing and product development at the LEGO Group and 15 years in marketing at Bose Corporation. Dr. Dion has served on numerous non-profit boards, including the Worcester Art Museum, StageWest, and the Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region.

Cross-functional, cross-geographic diversity increases the potential information and perspective available for a product development team to consider, increasing the potential that products developed by the team will achieve success in the marketplace. Diversity, however, has also been shown to increase the likelihood of conflict, which can prevent the team from reaching its potential. This research examines factors associated with higher levels of market orientation, which include the coordination necessary for team members to work together as well as the customer, competitor, and proactive orientations to provide focus for the effort. Prior research has also shown a positive correlation between market orientation and business performance. For these reasons, this research uses market orientation as the measure of team effectiveness for cross-functionally, cross-geographically diverse teams. This research presents the findings from data collected over three years from three teams in the same organization. The teams’ market orientation is viewed through three different lenses: the MKTOR scale developed by Narver and Slater, one-on-one interviews, and organizational network analysis. The research presents a substantive theory that explains the data collected from all three teams and from all three data sources. The data suggests that market orientation is the coordinated effort to gather, disseminate, and respond to information in order to maintain and increase business with the customer, thus supporting an integration of the two primary market orientation definitions. Throughout the process the team faces ambiguity on many fronts, and the team must deliberately manage this ambiguity in order to be successful. Managing ambiguity, however, is not the same thing as eliminating ambiguity as resource limitations and team size restrict how much ambiguity can be removed. Clarifying communications, including developing a shared understanding of customer targets, serve to remove ambiguity in the team.