Market orientation has been illuminated as a critical component in shaping an institution’s success. While marketing orientation is embedded within the philosophical foundation of marketing, its operationalisation does not automatically translate in university success as there are various constraints, which impede its implementation. The objective of the study is to examine the influence of market orientation and the current barriers to market orientation on university performance among universities of technology (UoTs) in South Africa. This paper employs a cross-sectional quantitative survey. Data from a convenient sample of 507 academics in five UoTs are analysed. Through confirmatory factor analysis and structural model analysis, these relationships are discerned and explained. The findings of the study support theoretical arguments that higher education institutions (HEIs) can be successful in terms of their performance by initiating and adopting market-oriented activities. This study contributes to the critical challenge facing UoTs as a new type of HEI within a South African context in creating a culture and climate that maximises organisational learning, resource utilisation and capabilities to create superior university performance. Based on the findings, limitations and implications for further research are also provided. Management of UoTs can also enhance performance of their institutions by implementing key recommendations that the study advances.