Purpose: Market orientation (MO) is at the center of the marketing discipline and has been the focus of one of the longest and richest research efforts in the field. This paper aims to study the development of the MO research area and changes in its nature, and the implications these have for MO research in particular as well as for the marketing discipline as a whole. Design/methodology/approach: The study is guided by sociology of science research and studies of the history of the marketing discipline. It is based on a review of all MO articles and references in the period 1957-2005. Findings: The findings reveal three periods in the development of MO research: 1950s-late 1970s, late 1970s-early 1990s, and early 1990s until today. In terms of diffusion over time, MO research has diffused from marketing mostly to management, from generalist to specialist journals, from higher to lower quality journals, and from the USA only to Europe. Over time more scholars have become involved in MO research and the number of co-authored MO articles has increased. The paper also finds that the MO research knowledge base and impact continue to be limited to marketing and management. Research limitations/implications: While the study involves a large effort to collect longitudinal data on MO publication activity, its main limitation is its descriptive nature. Originality/value: Unlike previous research in marketing that has typically studied articles, authors and reference data to gain insight into the intellectual developments of specific marketing journals, here the authors use these sources for studying the structure and evolution of a specific and important research area such as MO. Also, the study is based on rich and longitudinal data, enabling a variety of longitudinal analyses. The link between the MO area and the marketing discipline is of value, showing how the development of MO mirrors key developments in the marketing discipline at large and is influenced by many of the same forces that shape the discipline.
- Market orientation
- Marketing theory