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Dening market orientation for libraries

Barbara Sen
School of Business Information, Faculty of Business and Law, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK
Purpose This paper is the result of exploratory research forming part of ongoing study into the value and relevance of market orientation as a strategic option for library managers. The aim of the study is to dene the concept of market orientation relative to the library sector. Design/methodology/approach A series of focus groups and eld interviews were carried out in order to validate the established constructs of market orientation prevalent in the management literature. Focus groups were used to gather data from librarians working at different levels in two different sectors, health and arts. Interviews were carried out with library service managers in two other sectors, academic and public. Senior library policy makers were also interviewed. The object was to gain an indication of the breadth of opinion across sectors. The data were coded and analysed using a taxonomic map developed during the study. Findings Market orientation is a concept that library professionals see as being valuable. Library managers dene market orientation in the same way as the concept is dened in the management literature. Their understanding of the concept is developing. Research implications/limitations There are implications for further research. Methods used to measure market orientation in other domains are likely to be relevant for libraries. Practical implications Fostering an organisational culture that supports market orientation has implications for service management and development. Originality/value Research in market orientation in libraries is limited. This study provides the basis for research development into market orientation and its value for libraries. Keywords Market orientation, Information services, Marketing strategy, Library management Paper type Research paper

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Received 4 October 2005 Revised 13 November 2005 Accepted 21 February 2006

Introduction This paper is exploratory research forming part of a PhD in market orientation (MO) as a strategic option for libraries. The aim of this study is to dene the concept of market orientation relative to the library domain. MO is a strategic option. It is theorised to be the central construct behind successful marketing management and strategy (Wood, 2000). MO is concerned with achieving business value through a clear understanding of the customers, the organisation and the wider business environment. It is broader than pure environmental scanning in that it is more holistic in its approach encompassing corporate culture and engaging all departmental functions in customer focussed operations and strategy. The concept of MO has been researched widely in the elds of management and marketing, having
Sections of this data presented at IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Federations) 2005. Marketing and management satellite meeting, August 8-11, Bergen Norway. Available at:
Library Management Vol. 27 No. 4/5, 2006 pp. 201-217 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0143-5124 DOI 10.1108/01435120610668151

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been found to have a positive relationship with organisational performance and business protability (Han et al., 1998; Slater and Narver, 2000). MO is about performance, viability and responsiveness (Harrison and Shaw, 2004). There has been much discussion of the changes facing libraries and the increasing demand on their services; the increasingly competitive environment, the need for accountability, the pressure on resources and an ever more demanding customer base (Gupta and Jambhekar, 2002a; Robinson, 2003). Adopting a market-orientated strategy is posited as a way of successfully managing the impact of changes in the library domain. For library customers it could mean more appropriate services that better meet their needs. For library staff it could mean a better understanding of their roles in achieving organisational and personal goals. For libraries it could mean survival. The survival of libraries has been the focus of a number of recent reports in the UK, which call for new strategic directions if libraries wish to sustain their roles in the future (Audit Commission, 2002; Laser Foundation, 2005; Leadbeater, 2003; Resource, 2003). Understanding the core dimensions of MO is fundamental to determining the suitability of MO for libraries. Once it is determined how library professionals dene and understand MO, then progress can be made in exploring the extent to which library services are market orientated and the benets or problems experienced. The denitions of MO in the management literature are numerous (Blois, 2000), and the denitions of the concept have changed over time (Gainer and Padanyi, 2001). Two pioneering studies of MO are widely used, those of Kohli and Jaworski (1990) and Narver and Slater (1990). Kohli and Jaworski (1990) dene MO as being composed of three sets of activities: (1) organisation-wide generation of intelligence; (2) dissemination of the intelligence; and (3) organisation-wide responsiveness to it. Narver and Slater (1990) dene MO as being composed of three components: customer orientation, competitor orientation and inter-functional co-ordination. The theories have parallels, both being concerned with customers, organisational management and intelligence. However, Kohli and Jaworski (1990) are often discussed as having an activity focus and therefore being operational in outlook, while the Narver and Slater (1990) denition is considered to be more strategic and cultural (Pulendran et al., 2000). The two pioneering conceptual denitions, Kohli and Jaworski (1990), and Narver and Slater (1990) have been used to support this research due to their wide adoption in the management literature. They provide the framework to determine if library professionals dene MO in the same way as marketing and management professionals. The changing focus of market orientation and libraries As in the management literature there is no universal denition of MO in the library literature, with Gupta and Jambhekar (2002b) calling for the need for consensus among professionals on marketing concepts, orientations, and practices. There has been an element of confusion with the terms of market orientation (having a strategic focus) and marketing orientation (more promotional and activity based) being used inter-changeably (Nims, 1999). Savard (1996) comments on the growth in interest in marketing concepts in the library profession, but suggests that often the librarians understanding of the marketing concept is inaccurate and not

sufciently developed. Reviewing the library literature shows a development of the understanding of market orientation and marketing related concepts. As early as the 1970s and early 1980s marketing and market orientation was discussed as having possible benets for libraries, but much of the discussion was focused on marketing activities (Dragon, 1983; Gwynn, 1978). The 1990s saw increased discussion of MO, now as a strategic option for library services (Dimick, 1995; Donlon, 1992). There was a denite customer focus (Johnson, 1995; Rowley, 1997), just one component of MO, and still discursive literature rather than in depth research. The call for libraries to adopt more market orientated strategies extends into recent years (Broady-Preston and Preston, 1999; Lozano, 2000). The drive for change is posited to be stronger, reecting a more demanding library environment (Gupta and Jambhekar, 2002b). There have been a handful of recent studies on marketing issues (Broady-Preston and Steel, 2002; Finney and Warnaby, 2004; Kavulya, 2004). And one particular seminal paper on MO; Harrison and Shaws (2004) qualitative case study of a public library in Australia that considers four components of: (1) intelligence gathering; (2) customer orientation; (3) competitor orientation; and (4) inter-functional co-ordination. These four components are based on both Narver and Slater (1990) and Kohli and Jaworskis (1990) work as is this study. The library literature shows a development from general discussion based mainly on the functional aspects of marketing, to research in the form of case studies grounded in the management literature, more concerned with strategic issues. There are no wide reaching studies across sectors, no longitudinal studies, and no meta-analysis. To date, there is no research into how librarians dene MO. Librarians have focussed their writing on components of MO for example customer orientation (Lozano, 2000) or competitor orientation (Broady-Preston and Barnes, 2001). There has been no in depth study of MO, only case studies (Harrison and Shaw, 2004). This paper is preliminary research that enables librarians to dene the concept of MO for them selves and makes comparisons with the management literature. In dening MO for libraries, factors emerge that will lead to the development of research into the extent to which library services are market orientated, the antecedents, consequences and barriers to MO. Methodology A mixed methodology has been used, mainly qualitative to assess the opinions of library professionals with some supporting quantitative analysis of the data to assess the incidence of responses. Multiple method approaches are common in exploratory studies, can be complementary, and can support validity through triangulation (Robson, 2002). The data was gathered using a combination of focus groups and eld interviews to gain an indication of broad opinion across the library domain. The purpose of this eld research was to provide insights into MO and to validate the established constructs of MO. A purposive sampling approach was taken to facilitate the generation of conceptual categories (Robson, 2002).

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Focus groups The focus groups were held at two conferences, the Arts Library and Information Service Annual Conference, Oxford July 2004 and the Health Libraries Group Conference, Belfast September 2004. A total of 69 people took part in the focus groups, 43 from health and 26 from the arts sector. The participants were all professionals working at various levels with job titles ranging from Information Ofcer to Head of Service. The interactive sessions lasted between 60 and 90 minutes. The participants worked in small groups. They were encouraged to discuss freely within their groups and to record their ideas on ip chart paper. At the end of the sessions the comments of the smaller groups were shared in a free and open discussion and any additional comments were noted for later analysis. The participants were asked: . What do you understand by market orientation? . What kind of things does a market orientated organisation do? A total of 131 statements were generated. A total of 81 statements came from the health librarians focus group; the arts librarians generated 50 statements. The statements were categorised into themes by a panel of seven marketing and management experts; a method used successfully by Kohli and Jaworski (1993) in their scale development of MO. A panel was used to avoid researcher bias (Robson, 2002). The panel were asked to categorise the feed back relative to Kohli and Jaworski (1990) and Narver and Slaters (1990) components of MO i.e. intelligence generation, intelligence dissemination, responsiveness, customer orientation, competitor orientation and inter-functional co-ordination. For example; know your competition might be categorised under competitor orientation and intelligence generation; statements were often identied as having relevance across more than one component of MO. The panels results were scored in Microsoft Excel. A high level of agreement would achieve a score of 7, 6, or 5. A moderate level of agreement would achieve a score of 4 or 3 and a low score, indicating a low level of agreement was 2, 1 or 0. This exercise helped to validate the responses from the focus groups. It generated a taxonomy that could be used to aid analysis of both the focus group data and later the interview data (Gibbs, 2002). Interviews To support and expand on the ndings of the focus groups a total of seven interviews were carried out (Kvale, 1996). The sectors covered were different from the focus groups in order to broaden the scope of the study and to establish possible differences between the sectors. Two interviews were carried out within the public library sector, one service manager within a Beacon Council and large city service and another within a smaller metropolitan council covering small urban towns and services in rural areas. Two interviews were carried out in the academic library sector, one with the service manager of a large traditional red brick university library and a second with the service manager of a new university. In addition, interviews were carried out with three senior policy makers in the library domain. A standard format was followed for each interview. After a brief description of the research aims each interviewee was asked a series of semi-structured questions. This approach allowed for discussion to develop (Robson, 2002). Questions included those used to stimulate discussion in the focus groups supplemented by issues that had emerged from the literature review. Care was taken not to give a greater emphasis on

questions that might relate to one particular component of MO above another. The interview typically lasted between 45 and 90 minutes. The interview data was analysed using the three components of MO for both Kohli and Jaworksi (1990) and Narver and Slater (1990) the same as for the focus groups. The interviews were coded using the taxonomy generated from the focus groups as a framework. For example We are very aware of the competition. Might be coded Cp for competitor orientation and IG for intelligence generation. Two coders were used to ensure reliability (Neuendorf, 2002). A pilot of four of the interview transcripts was coded to test the quality of the coding and levels of agreements. Following the successful pilot all seven interviews were coded. The two coders reached a high level of agreement achieving a Cohens Kappa value of 0.914, 1.00 being total agreement. A correlation coefcient of above 0.80 is deemed acceptable in most situations (Banerjee et al., 1999; Neuendorf, 2002,). Cohens Kappa is reported to be the most widely used reliability coefcient (Neuendorf, 2002). Where there was disagreement, discussion took place to decide how the interview content should be coded. Where agreement could not be reached a third coder was consulted to be the deciding factor. As with the focus group data, there was a slightly higher level of disagreement on the coding units for the Kohli and Jaworksi (1990) components of MO than on the Narver and Slater (1990) components of MO. So small as not to be signicant (disagreement across 31 units to 25). The information obtained from both the focus groups and the interviews gives insights into how library professionals understand and dene MO. The ndings Focus groups The focus groups were lively and highly interactive sessions with the participants having no hesitance about discussing the concept of MO. Examples of the feedback statements from the focus groups categorised by the expert panel are shown in Table I. The participants generated statements that could be categorised into the components of MO as dened in the management literature. There were no statements generated that indicated the librarians might have a total misunderstanding of the concept, however 31 (8 per cent) of the total of 379 statements generated were concerning promotion, advertising, branding and image which could be described as marketing activities rather than components of MO. However, during the discussion it was apparent that the librarians saw these activities as legitimate in terms of responsiveness, customer focus and being able to compete. One aspect of feedback that came out of both the focus groups and the interview data was the need to be proactive. By its very denition being proactive is not responsiveness, but the expert panel felt this was the best t along with customer orientation. The incidence of the coded statements is presented in Table II. Interview data When asked to dene MO, and explain their understanding of what a market orientated organisation should do, two respondents chose to dene what MO is not; identifying that it is not PR, gloss and spin, and acknowledging the misconception

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Component of market orientation Kohli and Jaworksi Intelligence generation

Examples of statements categorised by the expert panel Be informed Monitor current trends Understand your market Communication Market resources internally Have a plan Align services to customer needs Be proactive Respond to external factors Giving customers what they want Market segmentation Providing solutions Know your competition SWOT Monitor current trends Ability to change Have a holistic approach Embed your service within the organisation


Intelligence dissemination Responsiveness

Table I. Examples of statements generated from the focus groups and categorised by an expert panel according to denitions of market orientation from the management literature

Narver and Slater Customer orientation Competitor orientation Inter-functional co-ordination

that MO means advertising. Though three respondents did see the promotion of services to users as being part of what a market orientated organisation should do. All respondents expressed MO in terms of having an awareness and understanding of their users in terms of market segments, understanding their needs and offering a service that meets those needs. One respondent highlighted the importance of adaptability in line with the parent organisation. One respondent felt it important to add that the market doesnt always know what it wants so there is a need to be proactive. Another talked of the importance of people we work with, i.e. partners and stakeholders. No one directly mentioned competitors within their denitions of MO, though one respondent did name a competitor that had lost focus and at the date of the interview that competitors future was uncertain. The full responses to the two questions; What do you understand by market orientation? and What does a market orientated organisation do?, is presented in Table III. The data from the focus groups and the interviews was coded for analysis. The complete coding of the interview data comparative to the focus groups is presented in Table IV. Discussion The analysis of the content of the focus groups and interview data found that librarians generated terms that could be categorised across all components of MO as dened in the management literature by Kohli and Jaworski (1990) and Narver and Slater (1990). This shows that they have an understanding of MO that is multifaceted, including a range of components. In the interviews, some of the responses indicated

Focus group feedback: Incidence of terms as categorised by an expert panel

Kohli and Jaworski Health sector Arts sector Combined sectors Customer orientation 65 (59%) 34 (47%) 99 (54%) Competitor orientation 14 (13%) 9 (13%) 23 (13%) Inter-functional co-ordination 31 (28%) 29 (40%) 60 (33%)

Intelligence generation 45 (37%) 13 (18%) 58 (29%) Responsiveness 48 (39%) 38 (51%) 86 (44%)

Intelligence dissemination 30 (24%) 23 (31%) 53 (27%)

Total number of terms for categorisation 123 (100%) 74 (100%) 197 (100%)

Narver and Slater Health sector Arts sector Combined sectors Total combined across both sectors

Total number of terms for categorisation 110 (100%) 72 (100%) 182 (100%) 379

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Table II. Feedback from focus groups held with library professionals at two conferences, ARLIS and HLG. Incidence of the terms categorised by an expert panel

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Case and sector 1. Academic 2. Academic

Denition of market orientation Not PR gloss and spin. It is about establishing peoples needs and what you can do to meet those needs Orientation on the market you serve and an understanding of the market in which we operate. Marketing of the service broadly and adapting with the university Concentrate on market segments and how the service impacts on them.Its about perceptions Market segmentation. That is something we already do but only informally really. Looking at our service as a business and who are we trying to target our service at. We do quite a lot of analysis of our customer base in relation to that but we what we dont do is really target our services accordingly. There is still that rather crusading image about public libraries and we are always trying to sell ourselves and get people to use us At best a marketing orientation means to me to be aware of, dene who our users are, understand their needs and respond where we can, in addition often the market does not know what it wants. We need to be pro-active and offer things they might benet from. Denitely improve regular contact with the user, promotion to users and non-users, they should be aware of (name of library) of public good We exist to add value. Market segmentation. Be clear on what your market is; have an outward facing culture Understand your audience, then shape priorities and shape their services. There is often a misconception that it means advertising etc.

3. Public 4. Public

Table III. Understanding market orientation. A summary of responses given by senior managers in the library domain to the questions What do you understand by market orientation? What does a market orientated organisation do?

5. Policy maker

6. Policy maker 7. Policy maker

Number of times the codes were applied: To the focus group To the interview data (830 in total) data (379 in total) Public Academic Policy Health Arts Component of market orientation Total sector sector makers sector sector Table IV. The incidence of the components of market orientation as categorised and coded across data generated from focus groups and interviews across the library domain Intelligence generation (IG) Intelligence dissemination (ID) Responsiveness (R) Customer orientation (Cu) Competitor orientation (Cp) Inter-functional co-ordination (IF) Total 124 31 244 125 77 229 830 42 7 78 51 22 71 271 30 6 50 24 17 51 178 52 18 117 50 38 106 381 45 30 48 65 14 31 233 13 23 38 34 9 29 146

that library professionals understood MO in terms of strategic issues focussing on providing services to meet customer needs within market constraints. For example, Understand your audience, then shape priorities and shape their services. There is often a misconception that it means advertising etc. This conrms a development in the understanding of the concept of MO shown in the library literature, from a misunderstanding of purely marketing activities to a more strategic view of a concept that affects the whole organisational culture.

The amount of management training the managers might have was not discussed, and is a consideration for further study. One library manager prior to the interview stated that she was familiar with the term MO from a management perspective, others were not condent about the management denitions but had their own understanding of MO, So that is what I would see as being market orientation. Whether it is or not I dont really know. All the managers in the interviews offered their own understanding of MO; no one refused or said it was something they did not feel able to do. The training of library professionals in management skills has been an issue for discussion for some time (Breen et al., 2002; Kinnell, 1996). Over ten years ago, Koenig (1993) called for library professionals to adopt a more entrepreneurial and market orientated approach. More recently, Webbers (2001) review of the teaching of marketing topics in UK library schools found that marketing subjects are not featuring strongly in library related degree programmes and identied a need for curriculum development. Figure 1 and Table IV illustrate general trends across library domain and how library professionals understand MO. Generally, the participants gave greatest emphasis to responsiveness and inter-functional co-ordination, two parallel components from different theories, followed by customer orientation and inter-functional co-ordination. There are weak areas, for example, intelligence dissemination, a component of MO that participants seemed to give little importance. Intelligence dissemination is critical to having informed stakeholders and enable effective responsiveness to market situations (Kohli and Jaworski, 1990). Another component given little emphasis was competitor orientation. In the interviews all the library managers were very clearly concerned with competition on different levels, though some did not have competitive intelligence strategies in place.

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Figure 1. Market orientation across library sectors, showing the emphasis given of components of market orientation analysed from focus groups and interview

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The ndings illustrate a greater emphasis being given by library professionals to some components of MO than others. The health sector librarians show differences to other sectors giving a greater emphasis on customer orientation, though Booth (2004), with a health background, identies a resistance amongst library professionals to the word customer, having a preference for reader, user or client. In the health sector, participants also appeared to be more concerned with intelligence generation than other sectors, this may be due to the culture of evidence-based practice that dominates the health sector (Booth and Brice, 2004). In contrast the arts sector staff gave little emphasis to intelligence generation they also gave little emphasis to competitor orientation, which suggests that their management responses are not generally evidence based. This would warrant further study (Figure 1). Discussion of the components of market orientation in relation to the library domain Kohli and Jaworski Intelligence generation. Organisations cannot have effective market orientation without paying attention to intelligence generation. Kohli and Jaworski (1990) see the intelligence generation process as being broad, including a variety of formal and informal methods of intelligence gathering. All the library managers formally interviewed gathered intelligence on their customers, and shared examples of the methods that they used: we tend to carry out formal surveys, we have a formal have your say procedure, we produce a satisfaction survey. We use mystery shopping to test customer service standards. Most of these formal procedures were concerned with the satisfaction of existing customers. When asked about the market in general, there was a mixed response we constantly gather information on the market, we are developing a market research programme. We keep our ears to the ground No, we dont have any formal procedures for monitoring the industry or the environment. We need more market research. We need to do better. . . its a bit more piece meal. We are getting better, but we still dont have that body of information that enables us to really look at our market and to be very clear, sometimes I think that the commercial companies would weep if they came into public services. This evidence suggests that lessons can be learnt from the private sector. All interviewees commented on partnership or benchmarking initiatives with other organisations. We collect and work with SCONUL statistics There is the CIPFA plus survey, Other departments are using EFQM and we are adopting it too. Partnership working has bee frequently offered as a way forward for libraries in order to maximise skills and resources and share best practice (Laser Foundation, 2005). It was not clear what mechanisms were in place in libraries for capturing information using informal methods and this issue needs further investigation. Intelligence generation seems to be in a stage of development with tried and tested formal procedures for monitoring customer satisfaction, less formal monitoring of the market in general and the competitive situation and not much emphasis placed on harnessing the intelligence inherent amongst staff. Harrison and Shaw (2004) in their case study of a public library found little market intelligence being gathered apart from relatively unsophisticated surveys. The UK situation seems better with evidence of a formal and structured approach to intelligence generation of customer

data, but a sometimes ad hoc approach to wider horizon scanning and competitive intelligence. Intelligence dissemination. The feedback showed that this is one component of MO that does not appear to be given much importance. From the interview responses it is an area needing improvement. Some libraries are working hard at communicating and disseminating intelligence; We work quite hard at internal communication. No organisation gets it completely right, We have a business reporting system, We have an honest and open forum, We do have a communications team. We report to people monthly on the web site Information is shared with other Directorates. It has to be shared, otherwise why are we bothering. We are a good profession for networking We have quite a few peer to peer meetings We do talk to people. But there are a number of barriers to intelligence dissemination, The nature of the building is not helpful for internal relationships, Its hard to get hold of people, Yes but it takes a long time to feed through. The barriers to MO have been researched widely in the management literature (Gainer and Padanyi, 2005; Harris, 2000). A research opportunity exists here for libraries. Management strategies may be needed to overcome any barriers. The processes for intelligence dissemination are sometimes ad hoc, with a higher incidence of management being kept informed. Information is shared with the leadership team and in theory is cascaded down. We have a fortnightly management team meeting, but its not boxed off as it should be. There is opportunity for this improvement with perhaps more focussed communication or knowledge management strategies (Kelleher and Levene, 2001). Responsiveness. Responsiveness is a broad area dened by Kohli and Jaworksi (1990) as having two sets of activities, response design i.e. using market intelligence to develop plans, and response implementation, executing such plans. Strategic planning is a mature discipline in most library sectors. All respondents have formal plans in place. We have action plans to respond to our customers needs, three year, ten year. When asked specically about their ability to respond to market changes again there was a mixed reaction. We try to respond, It takes time, its bound to take time We mustnt become a knee jerk organisation, We cant respond quickly enough Its not about size its about culture, We should be better, We have to get sharper at responding We move at the pace of the slowest . . . sometimes frustrating. It is not always easy to respond quickly depending on the nature of the problem, There are not huge things to respond to. All sectors acknowledged the importance of responsiveness, and were honest about their capabilities. Recent research has highlighted problems Public libraries have a diminishing capacity to respond to mounting challenges(Leadbeater, 2003). To address capacity issues action is needed at all levels, from government to local level library managers. The rst responsibility for turning around a failing of declining service lies with the people running it (Leadbeater, 2003). Discussion of the components of market orientation in relation to the library domain Narver and Slater Customer orientation. Two interviewees were concerned that the responsibility of libraries was more societal rather than market orientated and that consumerist approaches are not appropriate for libraries. We are very much a socially inclusive

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service. We are not here to focus on the majority of the consumer wants. If you have a consumerist approach then its not appropriate for libraries. We have cultural cohesion, Black and Asian writers may not be what the majority want but we have to represent it. This feeling links with evidence in the library literature of library professionals long being uncomfortable with marketing as a concept and the idea of the term users as being preferable to the term customers (Booth, 2004). Yet overall, the interviewees felt that MO is appropriate for libraries. These same respondents equally see customer orientation as being high on the agenda within the library domain.
Customers drive what we do, If I dont attract users I may as well pack up. We are good at customers, It is important to meet the needs of customers, In public libraries we have been providing customer focussed services for 150 years. We have to think of the needs of our users; Our relationship with our customers is based on the fact that customers need value for money.

One theme that emerged was the poor understanding that customers often have as to what is available to them, and what libraries can offer, Customers dont always know what they want we need to be proactive and educate. Librarians have a responsibility to raise awareness of their services through developing their marketing activities (Robinson, 2003). It has to be the responsibility of all staff, as one senior manager responded, Every member of our profession has to have a market orientation. The attitudes found in this survey were the same as Harrisons (2004) survey nding that all personnel were highly committed to customer service, but with some conict between the perceptions of management and frontline staff. There is a constant battle, staff think they are customer focused and they are not, they are really staff focused and do what suits the staff not the customers. They all know they are delivering a frontline services, some of them may think they are the only people with any value because they do that, and what are managers doing sitting in ofces. Its hard worker, management relationships. Problems such as these may be addressed by closer attention to another component of MO, inter-functional co-ordination or intelligence dissemination which may serve to promote better working relationships. Competitor orientation. The Australian study found a simplied perception of competitors with the respondents rst reaction being that of having no competitors but after probing, naming bookshops as their competitors, and no participants initially considering other libraries as competitors (Harrison and Shaw, 2004). The response from the focus groups and interviews in this study was very different. Although competitor orientation was given the least emphasis, everyone understood that the library environment is now competitive. We have competitors on different levels, There are internal competitors, We dont have a vicious free market style competition What libraries have to compete with are the blandishments of the internet We are very competitive We have competitors for certain things We watch what our competitors do We are always being compared to bookshops but libraries and bookshops are completely different concepts. The commercial sector are our competitors, and elsewhere in the world. Sometimes it is co-operation, sometimes

it is competition. Competition is everywhere, that is sure re. Competition and partners. Co-opertition. We dont make snap decisions as a result of our competitors. We are monitoring all the time. The respondents identied a complicated competitive situation with libraries operating in several distinct markets. Broady-Broady-Preston and Barnes (2001) advocates the requirement for competitor analysis in libraries combined with creative problem-solving strategies to ensure survival. This view is shared by Wilding (2001), who identies the need for any support systems to be affordable given the problems that many libraries face with under-funding. One that the interviewee conrmed this, We havent got the budget, the expertise, the skills and the staff. Such drastic lack of resources gives rise for concern, and further investigation. Recent reports on the future of libraries in the UK have called for funding issues to be addressed (Coates, 2005; Leadbeater, 2003; Resource, 2003). What was apparent from discussion was that formal strategies for monitoring the competitive situation are not in place. Lack of resources and skills may be some of the reasons, with priorities being focussed on customers. Inter-functional co-ordination. Inter-functional co-ordination was given high priority across the sectors, the working together to meet the aims of the organisation whether in terms of planning or working relationships. We have a clear sense of integration with one sense of business objective Integrated business functions are at the forefront of our minds. There is opportunity for everybody to make an input We try to work together with other council services Our vision has to be the council vision, it has to be the user vision, it should be the non-user visions. Change was one aspect that some respondents found difcult. There is an inbred culture of not changing the biggest issues as a workforce is cultural change. If you try to change the service there is an absolute outcry. I love change but others dont and I have to remind myself that it is OK. Surprised how I cant get some staff to be enthusiastic and it is mostly this fear of change and not enough trust. Adapt or die. It is our role. Change is an issue of concern, not everyone in the profession welcomes change, yet change is a necessity (Bryndley, 2005). Careful management is needed to make any change processes more acceptable and efcient (Gauzente, 2000). Conclusions This research shows that library managers understand and dene MO in the same way as the concept is dened in the management literature. The responses from library professionals seem to t more appropriately with the Narver and Slater (1990) denition of MO. This is argued on the basis that both the panel of experts, and the coding team had slightly higher level of agreement against the Narver and Slater (1990) denition than the Kohli and Jaworski (1990). In addition, being proactive is an issue for library professionals, being proactive does not t easily with the activity based reactive Kohli and Jaworski (1990) denition. Some researchers of MO have chosen to combine aspects of the two concepts when measuring MO feeling that both have value (Pulendran et al., 2000). This combination approach may be appropriate to measure MO in libraries. The literature suggests that library professionals have a developing understanding of MO, which is being applied in the management of many library services (Besant and

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Sharp, 2000; Harrison and Shaw, 2004). Some aspects of the concept have yet to be formalised within library services such as competitor orientation (Broady-Preston and Barnes, 2001). The ndings from this research have implications for the management of services in the library domain with regard to the maturing of the MO concept in libraries and the subsequent management of services. There are two components of MO that library professions particularly need to develop if they claim to manage market-orientated services. Firstly, there is the organisations focus on the competitive environment. The library professionals interviewed in this study were acutely aware of the competitive environment. They all claimed to be monitoring the competitive environment but when probed not all have formal procedures in place for tracking competitors. Much of the competitive activity is ad hoc, showing an intelligence generation process that is not fully mature. Secondly, the dissemination of competitive intelligence together with information on customers and the wider market could be improved in an effort to more effectively target customers, and manage appropriate services and resources. The dissemination of intelligence would support the delivery of target-focussed services as a result of that intelligence. Library service managers need also to pay attention to the capturing the knowledge within their organisations and sharing it effectively to improve and support inter-functional co-ordination. Moving from an ad hoc approach to knowledge sharing to a formal knowledge management strategy and improved communications. The concept of MO is one that needs communicating throughout all levels giving what Harrison and Shaw (2004) describes as an integrated multi-level approach to service delivery. To do this requires effective communication and intelligence dissemination. Survival was a reason identied by more than one interviewee for having a market orientated attitude, Survival! If you are not doing it, (market orientation) what is the point. Strategies are called for to ensure the survival of libraries. Having a market orientated strategy could be an effective option, given the appropriate conditions. Limitations and future research This research was designed to explore the concept of MO in libraries and give a basis for future research. It has been successful in providing an understanding of how librarians dene MO. The sample was purposive to give an indication of views across different levels of staff and different sectors in the library domain. The sample was not large enough to draw rm conclusions but nevertheless gives indications for further study in certain areas. It has been established that library professionals do have an understanding of the concept of MO that is in line with the management literature, but that is still developing. Longitudinal studies could track any such development. MO is a concept that library professionals see as being valuable. Research is needed into cost benet ratios of any market-orientated strategies. There is need for further research into the extent to which library services are market orientated, as some components of MO seem better developed than others in the UK library domain. The appropriate method would be to develop and apply a scale to

measure MO replicating methodologies that have been used successfully in other non-prot sectors. Although there are general patterns emerging, there is some indication that there may be sector differences into emphasis given to the different components of MO. This nding calls for more cross sector, and cross-cultural studies. There is a need to explore the appropriate antecedents for ensuring that a market-orientated culture can thrive, and a need to understand what barriers there might be to MO. MO is an important concept for libraries and possibly their survival. There is much research opportunity in this management topic, which has practical implications for libraries and their service development.
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