The influence of market orientation on firm performance and members’ livelihood in Ethiopian seed producer cooperatives

Sisay, Dawit Tsegaye; Verhees, Frans J.H.M.; Trijp, Hans C.M. Van


The positive effects of market orientation and its components on firm performance are empirically supported by studies conducted for large firms in developed economies. However, its influence on performance in developing and emerging (D&E) economies, particularly under a cooperative's context, has been under-researched. This paper examines the impact of market orientation components on the performance of seed producer cooperatives (SPCs) in Ethiopia. Results show that customer orientation, interfunctional coordination, and supplier orientation, but not competitor orientation, contribute to higher business performance. Our findings confirm that customer orientation is the key factor for superior business performance in D&E economies. Business performance has a mediating effect between market orientation components and livelihood performance. Interfunctional coordination and supplier orientation influence the livelihood of member farmers both directly and indirectly via business performance. The study concludes that market orientation of SPCs is very important for business performance and provides a strong basis for the livelihood of seed producer families. SPCs can improve their performance and the livelihood of member-farmer families by implementing market oriented strategies, emphasising the key components of market orientation.