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Have small businesses adopted the market orientation concept? The case of small businesses in Michigan

Charles Blankson (Department of Marketing and Logistics, College of Business Administration, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, USA)
Julian Ming‐Sung Cheng (Business School, National Central University, Jung‐Li City, Taiwan)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 1 October 2005




Sets out to nvestigate the adoption of and application of the market orientation concept within the small business sector using Michigan, USA, as a study setting.


Following a literature review, a pilot study involving face‐to‐face interviews with owner‐managers, and covert and overt observation of small businesses' marketing practices, was undertaken. The main thrust of the research involved a postal survey based on an adapted market orientation construct. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses are employed to assess the reliability of the results.


Reveals four dimensions/factors/strategies underpinning market orientation in the study setting. The paper concludes that the size of the business does not moderate the importance ascribed to, and the application of, the marketing concept (i.e. market orientation).

Research limitations/implications

Future research should be directed at assessing the congruence between owner‐managers' purported marketing practices and consumers' perceptions of their actions. There is the need to develop normative guidelines concerning small businesses' best practice in market orientation.

Practical implications

Insights derived from this study will provide owner‐managers with the building‐blocks for understanding their firm's market orientation capabilities, an important facet in dealing with upstream (suppliers) and downstream (customers) business relationships.


This study responds to a suggestion for marketing scholars to adapt/adopt existing models, constructs, frameworks, definitions, and also to an assertion that the age‐old adage that what does not get measured does not get managed and, as a result, empirical evidence explaining the appreciation and the employment of an extant market orientation construct in the small business environment has been put forward.



Blankson, C. and Ming‐Sung Cheng, J. (2005), "Have small businesses adopted the market orientation concept? The case of small businesses in Michigan", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 20 No. 6, pp. 317-330.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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