Organisations are forming partnerships to enhance their capabilities to improve product quality, innovation, and market research. Researchers and managers have recognized the potential synergy in a partnership regardless of the types of relationship. The main objective of this paper is to determine the influence of market orientation on the trust-commitment-relational norms model of relationship marketing in the higher education context. Specifically, the researchers are interested in determining whether the private colleges own market orientation and perception of its partner's market orientation have a positive influence on the trust, commitment and relational norms Respondents were chosen from 65 private colleges in Malaysia. Questionnaires were distributed by enumerators hired by the researcher. Completed questionnaires were then collected by the enumerators and mailed to the researcher within three month after it was distributed. Results from this study indicate that there were significant correlations between the private colleges own market orientation with its trust, commitment and relational norms toward its partner university. In addition, organisation trust does have significant and strong influence on commitment and commitment in turn has a strong and positive relationship with relational norms. The results highlighted the importance of organisations to have a strong market orientation in order to enhance its level of trust, commitment and relational norms towards its partner. This will help increase the length and strength of the partnership.
Key words: Market orientation, private colleges, trust, commitment, higher education.
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