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Investigating firm's customer agility and firm performance: The importance of aligning sense and respond capabilities


  • Roberts, Nicholas
  • Grover, Varun


In today's hypercompetitive environment, firms that are agile tend to be more successful. However, despite the widely accepted importance of agility, there is limited research on this construct. In this study we aim to conceptually define and operationalize firm's customer agility. We propose that agility comprises two distinct capabilities, sensing and responding, and we address the issue of alignment between these capabilities and its impact on performance. Using a dynamic capabilities framework, we formulate both matching and mediating perspectives on customer agility. Based on data collected from marketing managers, we tested hypotheses pertaining to the two methods of alignment. The results indicate significant support for the role of both forms of alignment on performance. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Roberts, Nicholas & Grover, Varun, 2012. "Investigating firm's customer agility and firm performance: The importance of aligning sense and respond capabilities," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 65(5), pages 579-585.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbrese:v:65:y:2012:i:5:p:579-585
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2011.02.009

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Yusuf, Y. Y. & Sarhadi, M. & Gunasekaran, A., 1999. "Agile manufacturing:: The drivers, concepts and attributes," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1-2), pages 33-43, May.
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    4. Rapp, Adam & Trainor, Kevin J. & Agnihotri, Raj, 2010. "Performance implications of customer-linking capabilities: Examining the complementary role of customer orientation and CRM technology," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 63(11), pages 1229-1236, November.
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    7. Sanchez, Ron, 2004. "Understanding competence-based management: Identifying and managing five modes of competence," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 57(5), pages 518-532, May.
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    9. Akbar Zaheer & Srilata Zaheer, 1997. "Catching the Wave: Alertness, Responsiveness, and Market Influence in Global Electronic Networks," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 43(11), pages 1493-1509, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Roberts, Nicholas, 2015. "Absorptive capacity, organizational antecedents, and environmental dynamism," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 68(11), pages 2426-2433.
    2. Shin, Hojung & Lee, Jae-Nam & Kim, DaeSoo & Rhim, Hosun, 2015. "Strategic agility of Korean small and medium enterprises and its influence on operational and firm performance," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 168(C), pages 181-196.
    3. Trainor, Kevin J. & Andzulis, James (Mick) & Rapp, Adam & Agnihotri, Raj, 2014. "Social media technology usage and customer relationship performance: A capabilities-based examination of social CRM," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 67(6), pages 1201-1208.
    4. Fullerton, Rosemary R. & Kennedy, Frances A. & Widener, Sally K., 2013. "Management accounting and control practices in a lean manufacturing environment," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 50-71.
    5. Herhausen, Dennis, 2016. "Unfolding the ambidextrous effects of proactive and responsive market orientation," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(7), pages 2585-2593.
    6. Stephanie Fernhaber, 2013. "Untangling the relationship between new venture internationalization and performance," Journal of International Entrepreneurship, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 220-242, September.
    7. Ernkvist, Mirko, 2015. "Velocity shifts in the creative economy: incumbent-entrant dynamics in the emergence of Japanese social games," Ratio Working Papers 267, The Ratio Institute.
    8. repec:eee:aumajo:v:22:y:2014:i:3:p:179-188 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Stav Fainshmidt & Amir Pezeshkan & M. Lance Frazier & Anil Nair & Edward Markowski, 2016. "Dynamic Capabilities and Organizational Performance: A Meta-Analytic Evaluation and Extension," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(8), pages 1348-1380, December.


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