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International marketing doctrine: the use of guiding principles

Yoel Asseraf (Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ruppin Academic Center, Emek Hefer, Israel) (Center for the Study of Organizations and Human Resource Management, School of Business Administration, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel)
Itzhak Gnizy (Faculty of Business Administration, Ono Academic College, Kiryat Ono, Israel)
Aviv Shoham (School of Business Administration, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Article publication date: 5 August 2020

Issue publication date: 6 April 2021




Marketing doctrine (MD) refers to a “firm's unique principles, distilled from its experiences, which provide firm-wide guidance on market-facing choices” (Challagalla et al., 2014, p. 4). Drawing on the knowledge-based view, the purpose of this paper is to develop a model of how MD is used and provide the first quantitative test of its relationship with business success.


The authors advance the understanding of MD by providing a mixed-methods paper. In Study 1, a survey-based quantitative study was used. The final sample comprised 349 internationally active strategic business units (SBUs) of Israeli firms. Data were analysed using structural equation modelling. Study 2 provides insights into the use of MD based on 20 in-depth interviews.


The cross-sectional evidence shows that there tends to be more MD Use in higher-performing firms. The important roles of MD Clarity and MD Knowledgeability as mobilising processes of MD Use are demonstrated. Learning by doing impacts MD Use only through MD Clarity and MD Knowledgeability.

Practical implications

MD is a new strategic tool that can be applied practically. MD may provide a straightforward way of communication between international ventures. MD Use may allow global consistency and flexibility within local markets, simultaneously. Therefore, marketing managers are advised to supplement MD to their portfolio of management tools.


This paper is the first to investigate empirically, through newly developed scales, whether and how MD's core processes (learning by doing, MD Clarity, MD Knowledgeability and MD Use) are related to the success of international ventures.



The authors would like to express sincere appreciation to the editor (Professor John W. Cadogan) for his helpful comments and valuable guidance, which helped improve the quality of the paper tremendously.


Asseraf, Y., Gnizy, I. and Shoham, A. (2021), "International marketing doctrine: the use of guiding principles", International Marketing Review, Vol. 38 No. 2, pp. 321-342.



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