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Abstract

Chief executives of 186 computer services companies participated in a survey designed to establish (i) how firms in this sector were likely to respond to serious failures in their marketing communications programmes, and (ii) the factors affecting the mode of response. Businesses can react to a failure radically or conservatively. Radical responses might involve the dismissal of marketing managers, extensive reorganization of the marketing department and the implementation of radical changes in current programmes. Alternatively, a company could intensify the continuation of existing programmes; support, develop and mentor employees; and slightly modify rather than fundamentally alter its current marketing-communications activities. A number of variables identified from academic literature concerning general organization decline and innovation were applied to the examination of corporate responses to marketing communications failures. In particular, hypotheses were developed and tested regarding the possible influences of managerial rigidity, internal power diffusion, organizational complexity and degree of formality, resource slack and decision-making style.