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Is market orientation a relevant strategy for higher education institutions? Context analysis and research agenda

Deogratias Bugandwa Mungu Akonkwa (Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium Higher Institute of Applied Computer Science and Management, ISIG/Goma, North‐Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo)

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences

ISSN: 1756-669X

Article publication date: 16 October 2009




The purpose of this paper is to encourage the development of a research stream on the market orientation concept in higher education. Specifically, the author explains why this concept has emerged as a potentially relevant strategy to manage higher educational institutions. The paper raises the main problems surrounding the use of market orientation in higher education, and thereby, suggests an extensive research agenda which is expected to improve the importation of marketing concepts in higher education.


This paper is based on an extensive critical literature review on market orientation, and a document analysis to grasp the major changes that have affected higher education institutions' context since the middle of the 1980s. A bulk of research agenda is proposed and summarised in a table. The different topics are rooted in the link the author has attempted to put between marketing theory and higher educational context.


Research on market orientation in higher education still has many rooms to explore. These are: competition, quality issues, the impact of budget cuts on marketing implementation and market orientation operationalisation, etc.


While the market orientation strategy has been widely studied in commercial sector, its use in public and non‐profit sector such as higher education is still unsatisfactory. The paper: points on the limits of conceptual transpositions; discusses why market orientation is important to face the new context of higher education; and raises a number of research directions that have tremendous promises in the endeavour to build richer theories of marketing management, and to address significant problems of marketing practice in higher education.



Bugandwa Mungu Akonkwa, D. (2009), "Is market orientation a relevant strategy for higher education institutions? Context analysis and research agenda", International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, Vol. 1 No. 3, pp. 311-333.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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