The prevalence and usefulness of market research - an empirical investigation into 'background' versus 'decision' research

Raguragavan Ganeshasundaram and Nadine Henley
Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Australia


Much of the literature on market research begins with the premise that information plays a critical role in the success or failure of organisations. This widespread belief among business academics, and some practitioners, leads to the argument that more information always leads to better business decisions. Some authors (for example, Glazer 1991; Turner 1991; Ruekert 1992; Maltz & Kohli 1996; Wierenga & van Bruggen 1997; Dawes et al. 1998; Li & Calantone 1998; Yeoh 2000) go so far as to say that the growth and even survival of today's business entities will depend on their strategies for handling and processing information. However, information acquired by decision makers will have little impact on company performance if it is not actually put to use in the making of decisions (Fletcher & Wheeler 1989). Given that much of the same information is available to competing firms at the same time, it is likely that a key source of competitive advantage lies in the purpose for which the information was collected and how this information is used, rather than in who does or does not have it (Sinkula & Hampton 1988; Zaltman & Moorman 1988).