This study examined the customer orientation ‐ performance link in small‐ and medium‐sized businesses and tested for the possible effects of innovation orientation, market dynamism and competitive intensity on the degree of customer orientation among these firms. Specific performance measures used were new product success, sales growth and return on investment (ROI). Based on constructs of these measures, a research scale was developed for the study and data were collected via a self‐administered mail survey among a UK samples of small‐ and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs). The results show a positive effect of customer orientation on SME performance. There are also findings on the varied influences of innovation orientation and the competitive environment on the levels of SME customer orientation. In the light of existing literature, implications of our findings for SME managers, the study’s limitations and future research directions are subsequently addressed.
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