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The relationship between small business market orientation and environmental uncertainty

Simone Didonet (Department of Administration, Faculty of Applied and Social Sciences, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil)
Geoff Simmons (Ulster Business School, University of Ulster, Newtownabbey, UK)
Guillermo Díaz‐Villavicencio (Partners Consulting Ltda, Antofagasta, Chile)
Mark Palmer (Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK)

Marketing Intelligence & Planning

ISSN: 0263-4503

Article publication date: 19 October 2012



While literature has examined market orientation, it is limited with respect to small businesses. More specifically, previous research has not considered empirically the relationship between small business market orientation and environmental uncertainty. Due to resource constraints, smaller businesses are especially vulnerable to environmental uncertainty. To address this, the purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between environmental uncertainty and small business market orientation.


Drawing from small business literature, the authors developed a research model advancing and testing hypotheses to address the research aim. An empirical study was conducted with 104 small grocery retailers from Brazil. A questionnaire was administered, divided into two sections relating to measurement of market orientation and the market turbulence and technological turbulence as dimensions of environmental uncertainty. ANOVA technique and a multinominal logistic regression model were employed to analyze the results.


The findings reinforce the view of market orientation as a dynamic construct which can explain the relationship between small businesses and environmental uncertainty. Small businesses with higher levels of market orientation emphasized responsiveness as a critical dimension in orienting to turbulent markets. The findings also show that aspects of technological turbulence, particularly pertaining to the opportunities for competitive advantage and new ideas for product supply related to higher levels of market orientation.


The paper's findings, addressing a knowledge gap in the small business literature, emphasize the importance of small businesses orienting themselves to the market, particularly in environments characterized by higher levels of market and technological turbulence.



Didonet, S., Simmons, G., Díaz‐Villavicencio, G. and Palmer, M. (2012), "The relationship between small business market orientation and environmental uncertainty", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 30 No. 7, pp. 757-779.



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