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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Emerging perspectives in qualitative research in international marketing
Article Type: Guest Editorial From: International Marketing Review, Volume 30, Issue 4.
We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to be Guest Editors of the Special Issue on “Emerging perspectives in qualitative research in international marketing”. This special issue is timely, given the way the international marketing discipline has been/is evolving in response to globalisation and the increasing complexity of conducting and researching business in global markets. In line with new perspectives of what it means to be international, there is a growing need for scholars and practitioners to explore phenomena and gain valuable insights of emerging processes and practices through qualitative inquiry. Reflecting on the relative unpopularity of qualitative research in the international marketing field, this special issue showcases examples of qualitative research, providing key insights into the forces that shape management thinking and behaviour in international marketing contexts, such as Bangladesh, Croatia, Greece, Jordan and Serbia.
The structure of the special issue
The special issue includes five articles, which use qualitative approaches to unveil important insights into the “how” and the “why” of international marketing phenomena.
The opening article entitled, “A qualitative approach to understanding brand image in an international context: insights from Croatia and Serbia” by Ruica Brei, Jelena Filipovi, Matthew Gorton, Galjina Ognjanov, aklina Stojanovi and John White, looks specifically at the way socialist era brands are perceived and established in Serbia and Croatia. In their paper, the authors compare contemporary brand images of labels from the socialist period with those of competing products, looking specifically at the way these brands are perceived among consumers in the home and adjacent markets. They explain why differences are linked to cultural aspects of the newly (re-)emerging states. The study is novel in the way it distinguishes between brands from the socialist era, competing products launched by local manufacturers in the post-socialist period and those from transnational companies.
The second paper, entitled “A qualitative enquiry into the appropriation of mobile telephony at the Bottom of the Pyramid”, by Bidit Lal Dey, Ben Binsardi, Renee Prendergast and Mike Saren, uses the Bottom-of-the-Pyramid approach to explore how mobile phones might be and can be better utilised in Bangladesh. The authors look specifically at how farming in rural areas and farming communities might benefit from mobile phone devices within their villages. Whilst the paper openly acknowledges that not all communities are accepting of technology for a variety of reasons, it offers a fascinating perspective on the way different social groups perceive and adapt technology to fit with their lifestyle challenges. Understanding the lifestyle of developing communities is important if marketers wish to extend product life cycles through growth in developing country markets. For example, the basic dress of farming communities in Bangladeshi villages inhibits mobile phone usage because of the lack of pockets. This in itself affects the opportunity for technology appropriation.
The third paper, “Drivers of information sharing and export performance in the Jordanian agri-food export supply chain: a qualitative study”, by Luai Jraisat, Manto Gotsi and Michael Bourlakis, looks at export performance in the context of Jordanian agri-food export supply chains, by exploring the way information is shared in both individualistic and collective scenarios. The authors argue that inter-firm co-ordination will be enhanced when producers and exporters pursue active strategies for building and enhancing the network relationship, highlighting the important factors that need to be considered for heightened export performance. Specifically, they suggest managers should and need to pay attention to both financial and non-financial elements of export performance, since information sharing is shown to be driven by a focus on integration and a willingness to share information by ESC partners. The concluding recommendation will be useful for export buyers and suppliers both within Jordan and for other countries in general.
The fourth paper by Konstantinos Poulis and Efthimios Poulis, entitled “The influence of intra-national cultural heterogeneity on product standardisation and adaptation: a qualitative study”, illustrates how qualitative approaches can be applied to explore how intra-national cultural heterogeneity induces patterns of standardisation/adaptation in fast moving goods firms. The paper reveals that firms use multi-dimensional standardisation/adaptation configurations to address sub-contextual variations and endorse agility. As such, it challenges the “sameness” assumption that has characterised extant discourse in multi-cultural markets.
The final paper entitled “Exploring the landscape of qualitative research in international marketing: two decades of IMR”, by Constantine Andriopoulos and Stephanie Slater takes stock of extant qualitative work in IMR and looks at how qualitative research can be used and developed to inform the challenges posed in trying to understand international marketing phenomena. The article shows how qualitative techniques have evolved over the past two decades and highlights examples of best practice in using qualitative approaches to build and develop international marketing theory.
About the special issue and acknowledgements
All papers within the special issue underwent a double-blind peer review process. Reviewers were selected after the call for papers had closed to ensure that they were independent and that there was no potential conflict of interest between the review process and the manuscripts submitted. We would like to thank the reviewers who invested time in reviewing and assisting both the author(s) and the guest editors with the development of the manuscripts through their timely feedback and constructive comments: Rob Angell, Fleura Bardhi, Constanza Bianchi, Adilson Borges, Stephania Borghini, Max Briggs, Margo Buchanan-Oliver, Gary Buttriss, Jesús Cambra-Fierro, Adriana Campelo, Julien Cayla, David Crick, Barbara Czarnecka, Luigi De Luca, Catherine Demangeot, Pervez Ghauri, Suraksha Gupta, Vassiliki Grougiou, Amy Rungpaka Hackley, Aida Hajro, Marc Herz, Hazel Huang, Kevin Ibeh, Aliakbar Jafari, Philip Kitchen, Tatjana Koenig, Adam Lindgreen, Sally McKechnie, Nina Michaelidou, Ghazali Musa, Stan Paliwoda, Elfriede Penz, Emanuella Plakoyiannaki, Shaun Powell, Bill Proud, Matthew Robson, Rudolf Sinkovics, Barbara Stöttinger, Magne Supphellen, Mark Tadajewski, David Taylor, Alke Töllner and Gabriele Troilo.
We would like to extend our thanks to the journal editors, Professor Jeryl Whitelock and Professor John Cadogan for giving us the opportunity to guest edit this special issue for The International Marketing Review.
In line with best practice, the guest editors would like to draw readers’ attention to the fact that the special issue contains an article which was written by the guest editors. This manuscript underwent blind peer review along with all other articles that are featured in this issue. However, the editorial management and the review process for the article by the guest editors was managed by the Journal Editor Professor Jeryl Whitelock. The guest editors would, therefore, like to extend their thanks to Professor Jeryl Whitelock and the anonymous reviewers that provided constructive feedback on their manuscript.
Finally, we would also like to thank all authors for their paper submissions, and for giving us the opportunity to learn about their work and the way scholars move the international marketing field forward by applying qualitative research.
About the guest editors
Stephanie Slater is a Senior Lecturer in International Marketing, Strategy and Business at Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University. Her research focuses on the role of culture in international marketing, strategy and business, an interest which developed from her earlier experience working in industry in Japan. The common themes among her works are the determinants of relationship quality in international business strategy, and exploration of the effects of culture and trust-based relationships on management style and infrastructure. Dr Slater has published in international journals such as International Business Review, Management Decision, International Marketing Review, Journal of Marketing Management, Asia Pacific Journal of Business Administration, Multinational Business Review.
Constantine Andriopoulos is a Professor of Strategy and Head of the Marketing and Strategy Section at Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University. He has extensively used qualitative methods in the areas of strategy, organizational ambidexterity, innovation management, branding and entrepreneurship. He has published widely in these fields and his articles have appeared in Organization Science, Human Relations, Long Range Planning, European Journal of Marketing, International Small Business Journal among others.
Stephanie Slater and Constantine Andriopoulos
Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, UK