To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

“Miles ahead” – using jazz to investigate improvisation and market orientation

Noel Dennis (Teesside Business School, Middlesbrough, UK)
Michael Macaulay (Teesside Business School, Middlesbrough, UK)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 5 June 2007



The purpose of this article is to investigate ways in which improvisation can be used to enhance and advance market orientation.


The article draws upon existing market orientation literature and musical theory to extend the authors' previous work of the need for improvisation in strategic market planning (SMP) into a wider area of market orientation.


The article evinces a conceptual matrix to illustrate four basic levels of market oriented improvisation: one‐size fits all; improvisation through alternatives; single level improvisation (SLI); and multi‐level improvisation (MLI).

Practical implications

The article will demonstrate the core competences of a jazz band: musical knowledge; role definition; quasi‐autonomous leadership; open communication; and self‐reflexivity. It will discuss how these competences are directly transferable to market oriented organisations.


The article provides a new definition of market orientation, which posits improvisation as a central element.



Dennis, N. and Macaulay, M. (2007), "“Miles ahead” – using jazz to investigate improvisation and market orientation", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 41 No. 5/6, pp. 608-623.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited