Date of Award

Winter 2004

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Business Administration-Marketing

Committee Director

Anusorn Singhapakdi

Committee Member

Anil Nair

Committee Member

Yuping Liu


Customer orientation has been acknowledged by both practitioners and scholars as a critical element for the success of almost every business.

The primary objective of this research study is to respond to the previous research calls (e.g., Brown et al. 2002; Deshpande, Farley, and Webster 1993; O'Hare, Boles, and Johnston 1991) by investigating the antecedents and consequences of customer orientation at the individual level through a comprehensive structural model. The suggested model captures a comprehensive set of potential antecedents of customer orientation. The antecedents and consequences of customer orientation include organizational factors (i.e., organizational culture and market orientation), j ob-related factors (i.e., job involvement, role ambiguity/conflict, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment), individual factors (i.e., gender, age, experience, and education), personality factors (i.e., compliant, aggressive, and detached) and performance factors (i.e., improved buyer-seller relations and performance). Especially, the effect of organizational culture type (i.e., clan, adhocracy, hierarchy, and market) on customer orientation of the individual is an important issue that has not been investigated much.

The study results suggest that high levels of market orientation lead to high levels of individual-level customer orientation. Role ambiguity has a significant negative effect on customer orientation. Organizational commitment was found to be positively linked to customer orientation. The study results do not support the hypothesis that women marketers are more customer-oriented than their male counterparts. The study also tested the effects of age, experience and education on customer orientation. According to the study results, younger marketers (less than 45 years old) place more value on customers than older marketers (45 years and older); inexperienced marketers (less than 10 years of experience on the job) care more about their customers than experienced ones (at least 10 years of experience on the job); and finally, more educated marketers (having attended graduate school or higher) have more customer orientation than less educated marketers. The study results also reveal that higher levels of customer orientation result in higher levels of relationship development and individual performance. Managerial implications of the study results were also presented and discussed. At the end, future research suggestions were provided.