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International marketing research: The importance of being complex

Matthew J. Robson (Lecturer in Marketing and International Management at Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK. E‐mail:

Strategic Direction

ISSN: 0258-0543

Article publication date: 1 June 2005




To investigate the state of the international marketing literature in terms of its ability to offer managers with fine‐grained insights into marketing strategy effectiveness.


Conceptual study based on insights into advances in international marketing research.


Contingency accounts of strategy effectiveness are persuasive in the international marketing literature. But areas of research (e.g. the trust‐performance literature) have been slow to identify and discuss contingencies inherent in foreign marketplace ventures.

Practical implications

Practitioners would be advised to consider the degree to which empirical research on international marketing strategy accounts for contextual complexity. Scholarly research should cover not only “whether” an international marketing strategy is productive, but crucially “when” the strategy is productive.


Suggests different areas of international marketing research are at different stages of theoretical development. Usefulness of academic findings may be linked to the level of development of the contingency framework within an international marketing stream.



Robson, M.J. (2005), "International marketing research: The importance of being complex", Strategic Direction, Vol. 21 No. 6, pp. 30-32.



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