Many market research methods normally used in the West encounter a variety of problems if relocated to environments that are culturally very different. This article is about the Kyrgyz Republic, where assumptions of mainstream marketing simply do not apply. In order to engage in successful marketing in the Kyrgyz Republic, one must distinguish between three sectors of the economy: the formal firm‐type sector; the state‐controlled planned sector; and the bazaar, where the traditional focus is not on the transaction but on personal relationships. The author defines and describes each of these, and reports on ethnographic research conducted in the Kyrgyz Republic. The article concludes with a discussion of qualitative methodology and its relevance.
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