Annals of Business Administrative Science
The Survival of Market Orientation through Artificial Selection
Observations of a Japanese automobile dealer company shifting from a selling orientation to a market orientation revealed the following: (1) A market-oriented program with a process and team orientation threatened the self-concept of the sales force and was rejected by most of them; (2) when three out of 54 shops, or only approximately 5%, appeared to be developing a form of market orientation, the top management selected managers of those three shops as well as changed the existing evaluation and reward system, which caused market orientation to take precedence in the organization. It should be noted that what happened at this company was contrary to natural selection or competitive isomorphism. At first, these three shops performed so poorly that they could well have been “selected out.” However, the top management allowed the three shops to survive and, when the time was ripe, deliberately made an effort to spread the form of market orientation within the organization. In essence, it is suggested that the key mechanism of developing a market orientation is institutional isomorphism through artificial selection.