Purpose - To investigate whether strategic orientation affects the evaluation of specific market research projects in for-profit firms. Design/methodology/approach - A small-scale follow-up survey was conducted, building on qualitative and quantitative research among a sample of the top-1,000 marketing managers in Australia. The study used an existing market research evaluation tool, the USER scale and items generated from the qualitative research, to investigate the firm's most recent market research project. Findings - Four market research performance factors were identified - market research as a knowledge enhancing (KE) function, the internal political use of market research, the misuse of market research and the generation of market understanding. The Miles and Snow strategy types were related to these factors, with Prospector types more likely to use market research rationally and less likely to use it for internal political purposes. Tactical projects were more likely to be misused than were those with a strategic orientation. Prospectors were far less likely and analysers far more likely to misuse tactical research projects. Prospectors were more often satisfied with the performance of their most recent market research. The Porter typology was less successful in predicting market research performance. Research limitations/implications - The study was based on a small sample of market research projects in Australian for-profit firms. Future studies need to study these phenomena more intensively using ethnographic methods and more extensively using larger multi-country samples. Practical implications - Market research suppliers should learn the nature of their client's strategic intent to improve their effectiveness. Defender firms should carefully monitor the use of market research, especially that of a tactical nature, which may be wasted or misused. Originality/value - Contributes to an understanding of how strategic orientation relates to the ways market research information is used within the firm.
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