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Using cross-sectional surveys to support proposals of causal sequences in theoretical models is problematic, especially when the surveys are of managers and performance is a dependent variable. The results of such surveys reveal more about managers' sensemaking processes than the actual processes, a rival causal theory that marketing potentially ignores. This problem leads to unsound conclusions and management advice. The paper illustrates the argument using the case of research on the relationship between market orientation and firm performance and shows how sensemaking theory can account for existing results and some that otherwise lack explanation.
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