Market information approaches, product innovativeness, and firm performance: An empirical study in the fashion industry
In this study the authors propose a distinction between two approaches to market information, rooted in the marked-based learning theory. The two approaches are conceptualized and operationalized on the basis of their differences along three processes: generation, dissemination and use of market information. In the retrospective approach, the generation process is based on expressed customer needs and extant market relations; the dissemination is based on formal mechanisms; the use process is more instrumental. In the forward-looking approach, the generation process is based on latent customer needs and on the evolutionary patterns of the future market relations; the dissemination process is more informal; the use of information is more conceptual. A series of hypotheses concerning the relationships between these approaches, product innovativeness and firm performance are tested on a sample of Italian fashion firms. Results suggest that the two approaches are complementary for firm performance, but have opposite effects on product innovativeness: while a forward-looking approach is positively related to product innovativeness, a retrospective approach seems to be negatively related. The results also shed light on how market information approaches and product innovativeness jointly affect firm performance.
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