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Title: SME market orientation : relationship with supermarket loyalty card data
Author: Donnelly, Christina
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2011
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Market oriented organisations are firms which are well informed about the market in which they operate in, and utilise this market information and knowledge to create competitive advantage. This is particularly important for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In Northern Ireland (NI), particular focus has been placed on the agri-food SME sector and the need for a constant flow of market information, in what has become an extremely competitive and evolving food and drink market. This study sought to explore the relationship between SME market orientation (MO) . and formalised supermarket loyalty card data (SLCD), within the NI agri-food context. This is the first time that SME agri-food firms have received free access and analysis of SLCD. The research design was qualitative and required a six month longitudinal inquiry utilising an in-depth interviewing process with seven agri-food SME case firms, before and after exposure to SLCD. The study made a number of contributions to knowledge, practice and policy. Findings confirmed that SMEs do possess some level of MO, practicing informal, unstructured and haphazard marketing due to their small scale and the central role of the generalist owner/manager. However, post exposure findings confirmed that the SME agri-food cases did relate to SLCD, with owner/managers enhancing understanding of the consumer, increasing confidence in data use and validating decision making with SLCD. In effect SLCD facilitated the management of risk for the SME agri-food firm. During the initial stages of inquiry, other strategic orientations emerged, in the form of Entrepreneurship Orientation (EO) and the capacity to innovate. These concepts both supported the current MO of the SME, facilitating enhanced understanding and utilisation of SLCD. A further contribution was the recognition of the role of the owner/manager within the relationship and the need for the action research approach in the delivery of SLCD to the agri-food SMEs. Key findings suggest that future acquisition of SLCD is necessary for SMEs within the food industry, but dissemination and utilisation requires future support by government and industry bodies. To facilitate this, policy makers should review existing policies and practices, to support agri-food SME development through the continual flow of market information and analytical assistance on a partnership basis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available