Does CEO Leadership Style Impact on Adoption of the Marketing Concept?
Thesis DisciplineBusiness Administration
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Commerce
An exploratory investigation using a case study approach was undertaken in five organisations in different sectors, to explore whether there is any connection between CEO leadership style and adoption of the marketing concept by the organisation. Findings emerged on several levels. The market orientation and marketing concept, beyond the level of customer focus, is not well understood in organisations. The integration of market orientation and marketing effort across the organisation presents as the most problematic component of the marketing concept, as well as the one where CEO leadership style has the most potential to impact. The language of leadership theory is not actively assumed by people working in the case study organisations. The way people experience leadership style is ultimately personal, interpersonal and difficult to describe. Leadership attributes are valued differently in different organisations. Highly regarded leadership strengths result in perceived weaknesses being forgiven. In relation to the main research question, intuitively most people believed there is a connection between CEO leadership style and adoption of the marketing concept, but this was difficult to test at an organisational level due to small sample sizes and because each case study business presented with relatively high market orientations and CEOs with appropriate leadership styles. The CEO leadership themes commonly determined to be relevant were people focus (in terms of customers and staff), vision, change orientation, and passion/enthusiasm for the business. Survey data at the individual level was aggregated across the five organisations and analysed. Results showed the above attributes, and others associated with transformational leadership approaches, were related to perceptions of market orientation. While these results cannot be statistically generalisable because of the small and unrepresentative sample used, the findings suggest that the link between individual organisation members' perceptions of market orientation and CEO leadership would be worthy of a larger study.