A causal model of external marketing research information utilization in British companies
The main objectives of this research are to enhance the academic understanding and managerial practice of the utilization of external marketing research information with special reference to British companies. To achieve these objectives, this thesis proposes a causal model of external marketing research information utilization and tests its hypotheses empirically in British industry. This model builds on and develops existing theoretical and empirical work. The research evolved through three major phases. The first phase of the research was conceptual concerned with demonstrating the practical and theoretical importance of researching the topic of utilization, determining the appropriate perspective to studying it and establishing a valid and reliable framework for its definition and measurement. This part has relied on review of the literature on utilization of information in marketing and other management areas along with available secondary data about the UK market research industry as the institutional context of this research. The second phase of the research was concerned with model building which concentrated on conceptually constructing the proposed causal model. Building the proposed model has drawn on exploratory work undertaken through a series of unstructured in-depth interviews at the outset of the research with key marketing personnel in various British industries, a review of previous similar models in the marketing area, and independent deductive reasoning. Variables thought to have a significant impact on the level and quality of external marketing research information utilization (causality dimension) were identified and classified according to the parties controlling them(controllability dimension).A set of empirically testable hypotheses were derived based on the causal model. The third phase of the research was concerned with empirical analysis, testing the proposed model's hypotheses empirically in a cross sectional context. This stage has involved the design of a structured questionnaire that was subsequently completed by senior marketing executives in 258 British companies. Measurement scales were developed by a combination of advice from further semi-structured interviews and the modification of relevant established scales and the questionnaire was piloted to determine its suitability. Additionally, some secondary data were collected about respondents companies in order to obtain a profile of such organizations. The measures used were generally found to be reliable and valid and multiple regression analysis was used to analyze the data and test the model empirically. The variables that were found to have the most significant impact on the level and quality of utilization were organizational culture, individual decision making style, nonprogrammability of the decision situation, technical quality of the research report, degree of competition, user experience in marketing decision making, exploratory research objectives and quantifiability of research information. The thesis concludes with some theoretical conclusions and policy implications with a view toward improving the academic understanding and managerial pursuit of the process of utilizing external marketing research information in British companies.