The overall aim of this research area is to understand how firms can design and implement proactive market strategies and unravel how they can shape markets. In both research and practice, it is possible to discern a move away from the dominant market metaphor that emphasizes markets as pre-existing towards markets as ongoing processes that actors can influence, and therefore shape, through various activities. Rather than acting defensively, protecting existing markets and market shares, research has found that organizations can shape its markets by performing proactively oriented market-related activities. Being proactive in managing the market has been shown to be an important driver of customer value creation and superior business performance. A proactive firm gains these benefits primarily through a better understanding, and management, of its customers, allowing the firm to satisfy latent needs of the customers as well as anticipate their future needs, enabling the creation of customer value.
Proactive market shaping
Proactive market shaping is indeed being recognized as a viable and deliberate market strategy for organizations to consider as markets are consideredas being malleable, and thus possible to shape. The market strategy of a firm outlines the firm’s market-oriented approach for creating superior value, thereby gaining a competitive edge over competitors and achieving above-average business performance. As a part of the market strategy, a firm performs strategic activities intended to implement the strategy and achieve its goals. Such proactive strategies are especially important on contemporary markets with emerging challenges, such as digitalization, servitization and sustainability that may render more traditional market strategies obsolete. It is also of particular interest for firms that are global leaders within their market niches, so called ‘hidden champions’, as they need to balance local competitors and global actors as well as shape their markets in order to sustain growth.
The prerequisities for our research
A starting point for research in this area is that firms are able to proactively act on, and shape, markets through conscious market shaping strategies. Through a focus on proactive value creating processes, they are better suited to drive markets, take advantage of emerging opportunities, and consequently outperform other actors
Current research investigates what proactivity can entail in a market strategic context, how firms can act in order to be proactive, and how firms can shape markets.
Proactivity and market shaping are emerging areas that are receiving increased attention globally and the division of Industrial Management at LiU is aiming to be a leader actor in this development.