Marketing practice varies among firms. However, the prescriptive literature emphasises a universal view of practice, a ‘one size fits all’ view. This paper addresses the issue of explaining diversity in marketing practice in competitive space and in time. Diversity in competitive space reflects the existence of different routes to high performance. Diversity in time reflects some combination of change in the individual firm and change in a population of firms. In the former case, diversity is shaped by organisational change; in the latter by the disbandment and founding of firms in the population. In so far as diversity is the norm, the manner in which practice
will be shaped by evolutionary processes is considered. Finally, the
role of the academy as one of the forces driving the evolutionary
process is discussed. Miles and Snow's (1978, 1986) work is taken as a
main point of departure in the search for explanation and ecological and
evolutionary concepts are drawn on for support and to suggest an
explanation for the nature of diversity over time.