Top Management Emphasis and Silo-Spanning Communication for Marketing Knowledge Integration: An Empirical Examination: An Abstract
Marketing is a central business function, and because marketing strategy affects decisions central to generating and sustaining competitive advantage, it plays a significant role in the firm’s overall business performance. Further, marketing’s boundary-spanning nature results in marketing strategies playing a major role in the business-strategy formulation. However, in the aftermath of the 2008 recession, many firms have questioned the value of marketing as evidenced by reduced marketing budgets, less executive time allocated to marketing, marketing increasingly being perceived as a cost, and the reduction in the tenure of marketing executives on top management teams (TMTs). In recent times, from a position touted to be in great peril, marketing executives on TMTs are slowly growing into the role of being significant contributors to firm strategy. In this research, drawing on upper echelons theory and silo-spanning communications research, we investigate how integration of marketing knowledge can go a long way in facilitating strong firm performance. Specifically, we investigate how top management emphasis, silo-spanning communication through formal and informal cross-functional interface mechanisms, knowledge valuation, and knowledge-oriented culture influence marketing knowledge integration and, in turn, marketing and financial performance. The results of our research support our premise that organizations that facilitate the integration of marketing knowledge are more likely to reap the positive influence on firm performance. Specifically, by not facilitating effective marketing knowledge integration, it is firms that fail the marketing function and not the other way around. Overall, modern-day marketing strategy is inherently complex and dynamic, and the ever-changing bundles of knowledge about customers, competitors, technologies, strategies, policies and procedures, and other environmental forces demand continuous integration of marketing knowledge. This research is one of the first to empirically examine the role of the marketing function in impacting firm performance. Specifically, on the foundations of upper echelons theory, this research demonstrates the valuable role that the marketing function can play in contributing to firm performance.