Guest editorial

Rudolf R. Sinkovics (Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK AND Lappeenranta University of Technology, Lappeenranta, Finland)
Ruey-Jer "Bryan" Jean (Department of International Business, National Chengchi University, Taipei, Taiwan.)
Daekwan Kim (The College of Business, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Article publication date: 9 May 2016



Sinkovics, R.R., Jean, R.-J.". and Kim, D. (2016), "Guest editorial", International Marketing Review, Vol. 33 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Guest editorial

Article Type: Guest editorial From: International Marketing Review, Volume 33, Issue 3.

1. Advancing the international marketing research agenda with innovative methodologies – an introduction

1.1. About the special issue

The theme “Advancing the international marketing research agenda with innovative methodologies” emerged out of a realisation that significant progress in and around methodologies in international marketing requires systematic checks, stock-take exercises and reflection in terms of where we are and where we are (to be) going. There is a realisation that “international” research has become common practice in the domain of business and marketing (Cadogan, 2010; Malhotra et al., 1996), yet, there the utilisation of appropriate procedures may not always be satisfactory. Data are frequently collected and analysed at multiple levels (Oliveira et al., 2012), cross-cultural equivalence tests prove unsatisfactory and fall short of desired comparability thresholds (Salzberger and Sinkovics, 2006; Steenkamp and Baumgartner, 1998) and response-rates are plummeting because researchers are cramming too much into their studies and respondents’ fatigue is stretched to its limits (Dillman et al., 1993).

The rise of emerging markets, due to their significant institutional difference from the developed markets, further heightens these conceptual and methodological challenges. Questions arise regarding large bodies of existing literature and how these translate into applicable and actionable research questions for emerging market contexts. For instance, how to make sense of internationalisation research and how to synthesise findings with a view to their suitability for emerging markets? Further, company capabilities are likely to be shaped within business groups and networks and thus social network analysis may become increasingly relevant for conceptual and methodological reasons (Borgatti et al., 2013). These approaches may be particularly useful when studying internationalisation processes of SMEs. How much can advanced methods of systematic analysis help us to reach a consensual understanding out of vastly diverging bodies of work (Borenstein et al., 2009). Advanced research methodologies also push us to tackle new marketing issues and develop new theories for these markets (Burgess and Steenkamp, 2006, 2013; Sheth, 2011). For example, qualitative research methods may be more suitable than quantitative methods to explore the effects of institutions on consumers and organisations at the individual and group level (Burgess and Steenkamp, 2006; Ingenbleek et al., 2013). Significant within-country-heterogeneity in emerging markets may challenge traditional data analysis methods such as measurement invariance and level of analysis. To this end, methods such as finite mixture model and multilevel analysis have been proposed to help remedy these deficiencies (Burgess and Steenkamp, 2006; Peterson et al., 2012).

There is much pressure on the research community to diversify research methodologies (Nakata and Huang, 2005). This special issue was set up with a view of pushing the frontiers regarding rigour and trustworthiness (Sinkovics et al., 2008), for the sake of clearer conceptualisations and perspectives on the real problems underlying these phenomena. We further invited submissions around emerging new themes such as multilevel modelling, meta-analytic techniques, big data, etc. However, few of the submissions received addressed these emerging topics. We see this as an opportunity for future research rather than a limitation. Research that refines our understanding of practices/methodologies in international marketing research will continue to be of relevance in the years to come. The advancement of methodologies is a continuous process, and practices and favourable approaches shift over time. To this end, future methodology focused special issues will have to capture such emerging topics.

1.2. Overview of the papers

The papers in this special issue fall in broadly three categories. The first two papers contribute to the theoretical elements of methodological advancement. Two following papers deal with partial least square structural equation modelling (PLS-SEM) and the last three papers address various methodological concerns that exist in primary data collection process, one of these related to qualitative methodology, the latter two papers focusing on survey methodology.

The paper by Noemi Sinkovics is entitled “Enhancing the foundations for theorising through bibliometric mapping” and builds on the “publish and perish” phenomenon and the pressure of scholars for a share of voice and ideas in an increasingly crowded publication space. The author examines techniques that can help researchers to effectively and efficiently navigate large bodies of publications and help to build solid foundations for high-quality theorising. With a specific focus on a set of journal articles connected to ethics in (international) marketing research, the author explores the software tools VOSviewer software, a package that helps with the visualisation of bodies of literature, and QSR NVivo, a computer assisted qualitative data analysis software that helps to dig deeper and explore specific themes identified through the visualisation tool. The specific contribution of this paper to the special issue is the fact that it provides guidance for the improvement of idea generation, conceptualisation and problem identification stage of the scholarly paper writing process. Most of the methodological advancements found in the literature and certainly also in this special issue usually address methodological issues that are pertaining to the methodological execution itself.

The second paper by Sven Feurer, Elisa Baumbach and Arch G. Woodside, “Applying configurational theory to build a typology of ethnocentric consumers”, is set against a very specific debate in the international marketing literature, related to consumer ethnocentric behaviours of consumers and inconsistencies with regard to its antecedents. The methodological contribution of this paper rests in the application of fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) of consumer survey data and the efforts to contrast the fsQCA findings with traditional statistical hypotheses testing via multiple regression analysis. Their study has implications for the specific literature domain of consumer ethnocentrism and its distinct types, but perhaps more importantly for this special issue, it shows how fsQCA as an increasingly popular methodology can add value to substantiate findings that have previously been corroborated via more traditional methodological approaches.

The third paper in this special issue by Nicole Franziska Richter, Rudolf R. Sinkovics, Christian M. Ringle and Christopher Schlägel is employing “A critical look at the use of SEM in international business research”. With the development and advancement of new software tools such as SmartPLS the methodology has experienced a new awakening and recognition in various business and management fields. The paper recognises that the covariance-based SEM approach is still dominant in international marketing, but due to the field’s dynamic nature and the sometimes early stage of theory development may benefit from a PLS-SEM approach. The study critically reviews the application of SEM techniques in the field, analyses research objectives and methodology choices, and assesses whether the papers follow best practices outlined in the literature. The value of the paper and its distinctive contribution to this special issue rests with the practical guidelines for making better choices concerning an appropriate SEM approach. The paper not only reviews existing practices in the international business and marketing literature, but also points out problems in previous studies with concrete recommendations for better practice.

Jörg Henseler, Christian M. Ringle and Marko Sarstedt are key contributors and at the forefront to the advancement of PLS methodology as well as software tools. They carry out pioneering work that has led to significant shifts in conversations in the methodology space. The forth paper in this issue is entitled “Testing measurement invariance of composites using partial least squares” and addresses an unresolved issue of measurement, specifically when traditional common-factor models and reflective measurement are not used or applicable. Composite models follow a different philosophy of measurement and are dominant in variance-based SEM. The authors offer a novel three-step procedure to analyse the measurement invariance of composite models (MICOM) when using variance-based SEM, such as PLS path modelling. They test their approach in a simulation study and show that this MICOM procedure is very suitable to analyse the measurement invariance in PLS applications. Effectively, researchers in international marketing and other disciplines will have to consider this procedure and assessment, before any meaningful multigroup analyses can be undertaken.

The fifth paper by Elfriede Penz and Erich Kirchler shifts the focus on “Households in international marketing research: Vienna Diary Technique (VDT) as a method to investigate decision dynamics”. The paper complements the rest of the papers in the special issue as it introduces the Vienna Diary Technique, a relatively time and resource-intensive methodology which is of qualitative nature. This technique has a particular power in research situations when rather small samples are concerned and detailed insights regarding everyday consumption choices and decision making are required. The methodology allows for dyadic analyses of decision makers and their and keeping track of everyday decision making. Penz and Kirchler illustrate in their business partners paper the particular suitability of this methodology in a transition economy context. They outline specifics regarding culture and embeddedness of decision making and thus establish the suitability of this methodology in growth areas or “rising power” markets.

Sanna Sintonen, Anssi Tarkiainen, John W. Cadogan, Olli Kuivalainen, Nick Lee and Sanna Sundqvist are concerned with “Cross-country cross-survey design in international marketing research: the role of input data in multiple imputation”. This is a highly pertinent issue in international marketing research, which is concerned with collecting data from different countries. An apparent challenge arises from missing data and invariance of the scales used. The solutions for these problems might lay in shorter questionnaires and imputation of missing data. The authors propose and evaluate three different imputation approaches with varying breadth and number of variables used for imputing the missing data to deal with the challenge of cross-country cross-survey designs. Their findings show that the imputation that takes into account the invariance structures of the joint items used in imputation (previously neglected perspective) gives the best results (i.e. most accurate inferences about statistical significance of the covariances), suggesting that using knowledge on between country measurement qualities may improve the imputation results. This simultaneously reduces the amount of data used for imputation, however, and the authors conclude that further (e.g. simulation based) research is needed to find the best methods for cross-country/cross-survey research.

The final paper in this special issue is offered by Ruey-Jer “Bryan” Jean, Ziliang Deng, Daekwan Kim and Xiaohui Yuan. The paper is entitled “Assessing endogeneity issues in international marketing research” and makes a unique contribution as this study is one of the first to discuss the endogeneity issue specifically in international marketing research. In doing so, the study elaborates on the origins and consequences of the three most frequently confronted sources of endogeneity in IM research, offering several statistical methods and procedural remedies to address endogeneity for future IM research including some potential approaches in SEM. Given that the topic is drawing attention from the researchers recently, this paper makes important contributions to the international marketing domain by recognising the potential issue associated with endogeneity and offering future directions.

Rudolf R. Sinkovics - Alliance Manchester Business School, The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK and Lappeenranta University of Technology, Lappeenranta, Finland

Ruey-Jer “Bryan” Jean - National Chengchi University, Taipei, Taiwan

Daekwan Kim - Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA


Special thanks go to the editor of International Marketing Review, John W. Cadogan, Loughborough University, and Martyn Lawrence, Emerald Publishing for supporting this special issue. Furthermore, the authors are indebted to colleagues who were prepared to invest time and effort to review the papers submitted and work with these through various rounds of revisions. Their contribution has been vital to the development of the papers and to the overall coherence of this special volume. The reviewers are listed in alphabetical order: Ibranhim Abosag, SOAS, UK; Eva Alfoldi, University of Bradford, UK; Matt Allen, The University of Manchester, UK; Edward Bruning, University of Manitoba, CA; Francisco Jose Castillo Molina, University of Murcia, ES; Gabriel Cepeda, Universidad de Sevilla, ES; Umair Choksy, The University of Manchester, UK; David Crick, Victoria University, NZ; Sarah De Meulenaer, University of Antwerp, BE; Nathalie Dens, University of Antwerp, Belgium; Dahlia El-Manstrly, University of Edinburgh, UK; John Ford, Old Dominion University, USA; Siggi Gudergan, University of Newcastle, AU; Amjad Hadjikhani, Uppsala University, SE; Joe Hair, Kennesaw State University, USA; Xinming He, Durham University, UK; Jörg Henseler, University of Twente, NL; Bryan Hochstein, Florida State University, USA; Michael Höck, Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg, DE; Gang Ok Jung, Hannam University, KR; Kathy Keeling, The University of Manchester, UK; Zaheer Khan, Sheffield University, UK; Yusuf Kurt, The University of Manchester, UK; Peter Magnusson, Florida International University, USA; Rod McNaughton, University of Auckland, NZ; Ursula Ott, Loughborough University, UK; Elfriede Penz, Vienna University of Economics and Business, AT; Pia Polsa, Hanken School, SE; Riliang Qu, Central University of Finance and Economics, CN; Christopher Richardson, Universiti Sains Malaysia, MY; Salman Saleem, The University of Vaasa, Fi; Marko Sarstedt, Otto von Guericke Universität Magdeburg, DE; Noemi Sinkovics, The University of 325 Guest editorial Manchester, UK; Bruce William Stening, Peking University, CN; Nees Jan van Eck, Leiden University, NL; Irena Vida, University of Ljubljana, SI; Elizabeth Wilson, Suffolk University, USA; Mo Yamin, The University of Manchester, UK; Xiahui Yuan, Renmin University of China, CN; Cherrie Zhu, Monash University, AU.


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