Market Orientation in non-profit organisations


  1. Rupinder Kaur, SRF, School of Business Studies, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana
  2. Babita Kumar, Professor, School of Business Studies, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, Punjab


Non-profit organisations (NPOs) have remained in focus of various researchers and practitioners over the last few decades. The proliferation of these organisations around the world has resulted in studies across various dimensions on these organisations. These organisations have started adopting marketing tools which are meant for the commercial sector. Various books, journals and articles have witnessed not only the applicability of marketing tools but also its extension in the non-profit domain. Market orientation is one such knowledge domain which has
applicability in the non-profit sector as well. The plea of adoption of market orientation has been echoed in nearly every textbook on non-profit organisations. The last few decades have seen a number of research studies investigating market orientation in non-profit organisations and the results have found a positive impact on their performance. The objective of the study is to investigate determinants of market
orientation in social service organisations in Punjab. For the present study, 100 NPOs have been selected from four districts of Punjab with the highest number of social service organisations. The methodology used has been described and the measurement instrument which has been used is also discussed. Finally the findings of the study are summarized along with the implications.


Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) remain in constant focus of various practitioners and scholars. The use of marketing in the non-profit sector began in the late 1960s and has accelerated in recent years; this has also been widely acknowledged and practiced. Marketing in Non-Profit Organisations differs from marketing in commercial organisations. There is a wide range of marketing strategies and instruments available to nonprofits that can be put into practice without changing or refuting their true mission (Dolnicar & Lazarevski, 2009). In Non-Profit Organisations, marketing strategies help to attract and allocate resources. Though marketing activities help NPOs in a number of ways, these are perceived as detrimental and too expensive. This attitude still exists in Non-Profit Organisations (Tscheulin & Helmig, 1998). Kotler and
Levi (1969) believe that marketing plays a very vital role in the activities of Non-Profit Organisations. It was argued that the non-profit sector faces market-like problems such as membership decline, funds crunch and fierce competition. To deal with these issues, it has been suggested that marketing can help these organisations to survive, grow and strengthen. Over the last decades, Non-Profit Organisations have
started adopting marketing tools with the realization that it may help the organisation in achieving its mission.

Market orientation is one such marketing tool that has applicability in Non-Profit Organisations. Empirical studies on Non-Profit Organisations over the last decades indicate that NPOs must integrate market orientation into their key segments which includes customer orientation, competitor orientation, interfunctional coordination and responsiveness. Various researchers and practitioners have indicated renewed
interest in studying the concept of market orientation in the non-profit domain (Wood, Bhuian & Kiecker, 2000; Balabanis, Stables and Philips, 1997; Kumar, Subramanian & Strandholm, 1998; Voss & Voss, 2000; Vazquez, Alvarez & Santos, 2002; Gainer & Padanyi, 2002; Kara, Spillan & DeShields, 2004; Shoham, Ruvio, Gadot & Schwabsky, 2006). Non-Profit Organisations have gradually become aware of the benefits of
market orientation and have redesigned their strategies accordingly to cope with the demanding and evolving environments (Shoham, Ruvio, Gadot & Schwabsky, 2006). Researchers have made a number of contributions on operationalisation of the market orientation concept and more importantly, to investigate its link with organisational performance.

1.5.1 Definition of Market Orientation

On the basis of review of the literature on market orientation, it becomes apparent that numerous definitions exist by different researchers to provide a definitional accuracy and hypothetical background. All definitions necessitate an external focus with the customers as the primary focal point. All the definitions except that of Deshpande & Webster, (1989) have given a clear idea of being responsive to customers. Shapiro, 1988 has emphasized on the decision making process, Kohli & Jaworski, 1990 on the information processing activities, Narver and Slater,
1990 on the business culture as a set of behavioural components, Deshpande & Webster in 1989 on the business culture as a set of beliefs and Day, 2000 emphasized on organisational skills.

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