International dynamic marketing capabilities: developments and a research agenda

Gregor Pfajfar (School of Economics and Business, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia)
Maciej Mitręga (University of Economics in Katowice, Katowice, Poland)
Aviv Shoham (Department of Business Administration, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Article publication date: 13 February 2024

Issue publication date: 5 March 2024




In this paper, the authors aim to introduce international dynamic marketing capabilities (IDMCs) theoretically derived from marketing capabilities (MCs), dynamic marketing capabilities (DMCs) and international marketing capabilities (IMCs) and provide a novel conceptualization of the concept by applying a holistic view of the international enterprise.


This is a literature review that maps the current research on MCs, DMCs and IMCs and serves as a basis for the theoretical conceptualization of a novel IDMCs concept as well as for the identification of research gaps and the development of future research directions on this phenomenon.


Existing typologies of MCs, DMCs and IMCs are classified into four categories: strategic, operational, analytical and value creation capabilities. A new typology of IDMCs is proposed, consisting of digital MC and dynamic internationalization capability as strategic capabilities, agile IMC, IM excellence and absorptive capability in IM as operational capabilities, IM resilience capability, IM knowledge management capability, AI-enabled IDMC and Industry 4.0-enabled IDMC as analytical capabilities, and ambidextrous IM innovation capability as value creation capability. Finally, the authors identify research gaps and develop research questions that open future research avenues for the coming years.


This paper offers a novel view of MCs, DMCs and IMCs and argues that, in contrast to the majority of previous research, a comprehensive understanding of these is only possible if all levels are considered simultaneously: the strategic, the operational, the analytical and the value creation level. A new conceptualization and typology of IDMCs follows this logic.



Pfajfar, G., Mitręga, M. and Shoham, A. (2024), "International dynamic marketing capabilities: developments and a research agenda", International Marketing Review, Vol. 41 No. 1, pp. 1-41.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024, Gregor Pfajfar, Maciej Mitręga and Aviv Shoham


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1. Introduction

This Special Issue of International Marketing Review aims to answer how commercial, non-profit and government organizations develop, maintain, manage and leverage dynamic international marketing capabilities. We view international dynamic marketing capabilities (IDMCs) as capabilities firms use to understand and fulfil foreign market customers expressed and latent needs better than its rivals (Mitręga, 2020; Morgan et al., 2018; Narver et al., 2004). International markets are more volatile and complex and so firms operating in them often are less familiar with and have limited access to necessary resources; these businesses require a unique bundle of knowledge, skills and routines that shape company resources labeled as IDMC (Gnizy, 2019). Similarly to other dynamic capabilities (DCs), dependent on the context in which they develop, IDMC may take the form of more or less complex organizational routines and managerial decision-making shaping company resources vis-a-vis changing international markets (Eisenhardt and Martin, 2000; Peteraf et al., 2013; Schilke et al., 2018). The special issue aimed to attract researchers from a variety of disciplines, including international marketing, strategy and management research, organizational research, who are willing to combine strong theoretical foundations and world-class empirical evidence using quantitative or qualitative methods.

The core interest of this special issue is on capabilities, which are generally understood as “complex sets of skills and knowledge embedded in the organizational processes by which the available resources of an organization are transformed into valuable outputs” (Day, 1994, p. 37). If we add “international”, “marketing” and “dynamic” dimensions to the concept of capabilities, we obtain a domain that spans different areas of research. If marketing capabilities (MCs) are defined as the ability of a company to use resources to perform marketing tasks in such a way that the desired marketing results are achieved (Morgan et al., 2012), then dynamic marketing capabilities (DMCs) focus on strategic changes in marketing assets and point the way to sustained market advantage (Barrales-Molina et al., 2014; Mitręga, 2020; Schilke et al., 2018). The international marketing literature identifies MCs specific/unique to international marketplaces (Morgan et al., 2018): MNC’s product innovation capability, global brand management capability, international customer-support capability, global account management capability, local market competence, overseas market-related exploitative and explorative capabilities, etc. Since it is suggested that international MCs are frequently dynamic in nature (Morgan et al., 2018), this results in a field of research with numerous applications, e.g. DCs related to international marketing innovation, market entry, international diversification, international acquisitions and alliances, etc.

Despite the growing interest in MCs in the international marketing literature, research to date provides equivocal answers regarding the extent to which “the conceptual and empirical approaches to the study of marketing capabilities in the international context differ from those in the domestic market context” (Morgan et al., 2018, p. 61). This special issue called for contributions to fill this important knowledge gap regarding IDMC from a theoretical perspective (e.g. conceptualization and measurement of domestic vs international marketing capabilities, different theories for explaining IDMC), an industrial perspective (e.g. what types of international marketing capabilities should be focused on depending on the industry and company size) and an organizational perspective (e.g. what specific micro-building blocks lie behind IDMC in executive decision making).

This special issue attempts to further develop the theory of marketing capabilities and international marketing by promoting novel theoretical approaches. The vast majority of the marketing literature up to this point applied either the theory of the resource-based view or the theory of DCs to study marketing capabilities, while from the perspective of internal marketing, organizational learning and the knowledge-based view were applied (Morgan et al., 2018). However, it is still unclear which (this or any other) theory supports the conceptualization of marketing capabilities in international markets. For example, we observe a broader application of social psychological theories in marketing – would they also fit in with the development of IDMC? The other example is the recent expansion of the resource-based view focusing on the versatility of resources in the context of company growth (Nason and Wiklund, 2018) or theoretical framework for explaining the dynamic international growth of some companies, e.g. the successfully born global SMEs (Falahat et al., 2018; Weerawardena et al., 2019). In general, as marketing function changes nowadays (Rust, 2020) while some theories seem to dominate studies in marketing (Van der Merwe et al., 2007), other theories build potential for further investigation (Gligor et al., 2019), specifically in the context of international marketing capabilities.

The topic of this special issue is very relevant to business practice. “Many companies fail not because they do something wrong or mediocre, but because they have been doing what was right in the past for too long” (Doz and Kosonen, 2010, p. 371). We explore this premise by examining the dynamic nature of international marketing capabilities that promote (constant) change. The special issue is also timely because, due to the global pandemic, companies were facing drastic changes in the way they work and the capabilities they need to succeed. As a result, companies may need to re-evaluate or even redevelop their international marketing capabilities as they face a different level of dynamism than ever before. This situation provides a unique opportunity to observe the process of agile development of international marketing capabilities by organizations in all kinds of industries. Answers to questions such as what kind of dynamic international marketing capabilities were developing during the pandemic, and how these capabilities can be built, maintained and used, could not only help business people to create and maintain their competitive advantage in international markets but also help researchers to understand the development of dynamic international marketing capabilities during dramatic shifts in business environment.

This special issue acknowledges the over-focusing of international marketing literature on strategies of transnational corporations from the richest countries, including their expansion in emerging markets, which gives us only a very limited understanding of how companies from developing countries use their marketing capabilities to expand internationally (Caputo et al., 2016; Dikova et al., 2016; Kowalik et al., 2023; Kumar and Srivastava, 2020). Companies from developing countries operate in a more unstable environment than their competitors from industrialized countries because their domestic markets usually quickly became open to rivalry with transnational corporations and lack institutional support (Cieślik et al., 2012). In return, entry into foreign markets is sometimes seen by these companies as a way to diversify against unstable situations in their country markets (Cieślik et al., 2012). Such a context provides a favorable environment for the development and application of DCs (Teece et al., 1997; Fainshmidt et al., 2016). Although the literature provides evidence that marketing capabilities are useful for resource-constrained companies when entering foreign markets, it is difficult for them to build strong positions in international value chains, as these chains are asymmetric in terms of power structure, i.e. these chains are usually dominated by large multinational companies that protect their position (Siemieniako and Mitręga, 2018; Baraldi and Ratajczak-Mrozek, 2019; Pfajfar et al., 2019). It would therefore be interesting to explain theoretically the dynamic international expansion of companies from resource-limited developing regions such as Central Asia, Africa, Latin America and post-communist Europe. Furthermore, the conceptualization of dynamic international marketing capabilities will potentially need to change depending on whether the study is in developed vis-a-vis developing economies, in single or multi-unit businesses, in a corporate HQ vs its multinational subsidiaries. Since there has been a debate on the marketing department’s loss of influence, with some arguing that its impact is declining (Homburg et al., 2015), while others call for protecting and increasing marketing investment (Hughes et al., 2019), it is a relevant question who should be responsible for the development and utilization of IDMC in a multinational corporation.

Last but not least, this special issue addresses increased volatility in the international markets resulting from tensions between regions and countries in the geopolitical area, which create the shift from unipolar to bipolar world order and creates potential instabilities such as enforced decoupling in international supply chains and increased protectionism in international trade (Handfield et al., 2020; Thürer et al., 2020). These tendencies are observable with increased intensity since the world economic crisis of 2008 and they are accelerated by the world pandemics of 2020. Rust (2020) proposes geopolitical changes as one of three main tendencies (together with technological and socioeconomic trends) driving how marketing practice and marketing theory need to be reshaped in the future. Therefore, international marketing research needs to address the question of how current marketing resources and capabilities may be reorganized by companies in international markets to keep up with increased geopolitical risks.

2. Theoretical challenges for IDMCs

2.1 Toward the conceptualization of IDMCs

A core theoretical challenge for IDMCs lies in the conceptualization and operationalization of the phenomenon. While it is clear that its foundation lies in dynamic capabilities view (DCV), it is less clear whether its components are rooted more in marketing capabilities (MC), dynamic marketing capabilities (DMC) or international marketing capabilities (IMC).

DCs were initially defined as “the firm’s ability to integrate, build, and reconfigure internal and external competences to address rapidly changing environments” (Teece et al., 1997, p. 516). The main reason for developing DCs is to enhance the firm’s ability to provide more dynamic responses (by purposefully altering, renewing or reconfiguring its resources) to continuously changing environments that lead to superior performance and sustainable competitive advantage (Teece, 2018; Cataltepe et al., 2023). In these terms, IDMCs are DCs.

Since the seminal study of Teece et al. (1997), a large body of research helped to bring the debate on DCs view to a mature stage (Barrales‐Molina et al., 2014). However, we cannot say this to be true for DMCs or IMCs, since the research on DMCs and IMCs remains fragmented, and still emerging and gaining impetus particularly due to heightened uncertainty and volatility in (international) marketing environment. Moreover, the extant literature offers equivocal understanding whether DMCs and IMCs stem from/are based on/are part of DCs and/or MCs.

DMCs are most often defined as extensions or a part of a broader set of DCs (Bruni and Verona, 2009; Barrales-Molina et al., 2014). On one hand, DCs refer to the firm’s ability to change the way it solves its problems by modifying operational capabilities (Zahra et al., 2006) and enable the firm to alter how to do business by doing the right things (Teece, 2014). On the other hand, DMCs are affected by marketing (Fang and Zou, 2009; Barrales-Molina et al., 2014), depend on market knowledge (Menguc and Auh, 2006) and support firms to absorb it (Bruni and Verona, 2009; Kachouie et al., 2018). The literature also provides evidence for DMCs’ interaction effects. For instance, interactions between market orientation and DMCs positively impact firm performance (Morgan et al., 2009b) and interactions between dynamic innovation capabilities and DMCs negatively impacts product expansion (Mitręga et al., 2021).

At the same time, DMCs are understood as “the adoption and deployment of market knowledge in cross-functional business processes through the organization’s possession of higher-order marketing capabilities” (Hoque, 2017, p. 27). In the existing literature, MCs mostly refer to the firm’s ability to manage the marketing mix (Kamboj and Rahman, 2015). Specifically, MC refers to a firm’s ability to manage product offerings, business partners and distribution systems, as well as advertising and communication activities and pricing (Cavusgil and Zou, 1994). In other words, MCs refer to “a firm’s ability to use available resources to perform marketing tasks in ways that achieve desired marketing outcomes” (Morgan et al., 2018, p. 61). Conceptualized this way, we could interpret DMCs as MCs. Similarly, as IMCs “facilitate customer knowledge, price adjustment, product/service development and manipulation of marketing tactics to target foreign customers with differentiated offerings” (Zahoor and Lew, 2023), we could treat IMCs as MCs. Even more, IMCs could theoretically be expected to enable a fit between MCs as a higher-order capability and foreign market opportunities (Zahoor and Lew, 2023).

However, the existing body of literature implies that there is more than just 1 MC (Mitręga, 2020) and not all hold equal value (Jaworski and Lurie, 2019), which raises questions about whether the significance and value of identical MCs may vary across different contexts (Morgan, 2019; Cortez and Hidalgo, 2022). This takes us to numerous conceptualizations of MCs (as well as DMCs and IMCs), discussed later, and the conclusion that there is no unified view on the phenomenon. For example, traditional ways of conceptualizing MCs in some fields of past research ignored within-firm variation in those capabilities, and tended to overlook the idea that their existence within firms evolves (e.g. Day, 1994). An example is market orientation (MO), which is rarely modeled as a DC, yet which most likely is, since longitudinal studies show that firms transform their MO in response to the competitive environment (e.g. see Kumar et al., 2011). The development of market orientation in firms’ foreign markets itself acts as a catalyst for firms’ MCs, enabling them to transform to be more dynamic in nature (Jaworski and Lurie, 2019; Cortez and Hidalgo, 2022). That is, the effectiveness of MCs relies on a company’s strategic orientation and its capacity to allocate resources for the implementation of research and development and market diffusion efforts (Davcik et al., 2021). Consequently, viewing MCs only in terms of traditional marketing mix elements (e.g. the 4 Ps) is not sufficient. A broader view is required encompassing elements such as marketing planning, market research and selling (Vorhies and Morgan, 2005).

To resolve the complexity of conceptualizing and measuring MCs, DMCs and IMCs, we need to return to the common origin of the concepts under study – namely, capabilities. Extant literature defines a capability as “the ability of an organization to perform a coordinated set of tasks, utilizing organizational resources, for the purpose of achieving a particular end result” (Helfat and Peteraf, 2003, p. 999). Furthermore, capabilities are “complex bundles of skills and collective learning, exercised through organizational processes that ensure superior coordination of functional activities” (Day, 1994, p. 38). Capabilities have their own life cycles that are shaped by external and internal factors, which can lead to the renewal or decline of those capabilities (Helfat and Peteraf, 2003; Gliga and Evers, 2023). This is largely neglected by the extant literature.

Teece (2007) suggests that a firm’s capabilities can be categorized as either ordinary or dynamic. On one hand, ordinary capabilities represent the firm’s capacity to carry out consistent operational functions, while DCs, on the other hand, encompass more advanced activities that come into play when managers strategically coordinate, refresh, adapt and reconfigure ordinary capabilities to gain a competitive edge (Teece, 2014). Following this distinction, ordinary MCs are marketing function-focused processes and routines, while DMCs enable the transformation of ordinary MCs through market-learning, resource configuration and capability enhancement (Morgan and Slotegraaf, 2012). The main differences between the (static) MC, DMC and IMC can be observed in their theoretical foundations, the role of the environment, aspect of strategic focus and key components (Guo et al., 2018). MCs are generally studied through a resource-based view lens, DMCs through a DCV view/theory and IMCs through multiple theories, usually DCs theory complemented with some other theory (e.g. institutional theory). The environment is relatively stable and predictable only when studying MCs, while it can be radically changing and hard to predict in the case of DMCs and IMCs. The strategic focus of firms developing MCs is typically exploiting, in case of DMCs it is usually exploring and reactive, and in case of IMCs it is proactive and adapting.

In addition to the differences between the MC, DMC and IMC concepts, the literature also offers insights into causal relationships and connections between the concepts. DCs positively directly influence MCs (Wilden and Gudergan, 2015), while MCs mediate the positive relationship between DC and firm performance (Cataltepe et al., 2023). Similarly, DCs (sensing ability, seizing ability and transforming ability) positively impact IMCs (Chatterjee et al., 2022a, b). These findings have led us to propose a conceptual model (Figure 1) that shows how these concepts are conceptually linked and how they might form a novel concept of IDMCs. In order to fully answer the question of how DMCs and IMCs can transform into IDMCs, we need to gain insight into the different typologies and categorizations of the three phenomena.

We observe several MC categorizations in the extant literature. Morgan and Slotegraaf (2012) differentiate between higher-order (learning processes that involve capability enhancement and resource reconfiguration), intermediate (orchestrating, coordinating and organizing processes) and lower-order (specialized skills and activities) MCs. Gliga and Evers (2023) identified three categories of MCs: (1) Specialized/functional capabilities pertain to routine marketing activities at an ordinary or lower level, focusing on traditional elements of the “marketing mix,” such as market research, pricing strategies and marketing communications. (2) Cross-functional capabilities, positioned as a mid-level in marketing capabilities, integrating specialized marketing capabilities by incorporating inputs from various functions like brand management, customer relationship management and new product development. (3) DCs, at a higher echelon, can be applied within the marketing function to expand or adapt existing resources in various ways, such as modifying ordinary specialized and cross-functional capabilities.

Similarly, we observe multiple categorizations of IMCs. Morgan et al. (2012) split export marketing capabilities in three groups: (1) architectural marketing capabilities (learning about export venture market, planning-related processes involved in selecting export marketing strategy goals and formulating strategies to attain them), (2) specialized marketing capabilities (tactical marketing program-related processes needed to implement marketing strategy) and (3) marketing capability integration (dynamic capability). Architectural marketing capabilities consist of marketing planning, market information acquisition, market information interpretation and market information dissemination. Specialized marketing capabilities include pricing, product development, channel management, delivery management, post-sale service, marketing communication and selling capabilities. A recent study by Jie et al. (2023) distinguishes between two substantive capabilities (international market operation, international market administration) and two DCs (international market resource acquisition and international market observation and evaluation capability).

Despite these multiple categorizations, there is little by way of evidence of MCs, DMCs and IMCs being studied at different levels. In this respect, a seminal study by Hooley et al. (1999) proposes a hierarchy of MCs in which outside-in, inside-out and spanning capabilities are rooted in marketing operations that shape marketing strategy and thus marketing culture. Similarly, Morgan and Slotegraaf (2012) claim MCs to be hierarchical in nature and propose a taxonomy of B2BMCs, distinguishing between higher-order, intermediate and lower-order MCs.

2.2 A foundational platform: strategic, operational, analytical and value creation capabilities

Our approach is different. We looked for a possible conceptualization of capabilities (as the common root of all three concepts, as explained earlier) outside the MCs and DCs literature that would provide a more comprehensive view of the enterprise. On this front, Elia and Margherita (2022) provide a novel approach that distinguishes between four pillars of the cognitive enterprise and the four distinct capabilities: strategic, operational, analytical and value creation capabilities. Strategic capabilities refer to firm’s strategic positioning and consist of transformation drivers, transformation projects and network influence. Operational capabilities [1] refer to firm’s operational excellence, which is rooted in process management, project management and governance algorithms. Analytical capabilities refer to firm’s resilience embedded in emergency assets, learning and experimentation, autonomy and communication. Value creation capabilities refer to value creation and innovation and consist of performance dashboard, intangibles and openness.

We use this typology to distinguish between various operationalizations of MCs, DMCs and IMCs (see Table 1). The analysis reveals several interesting outcomes and points at the gaps in the extant literature. First, MCs, DMCs and IMCs are most often studied at the operational level, offering rich insights into diverse conceptualizations and typologies of corresponding capabilities. At the same time, there is a lack of studies at the value-creation level, where also the diversity of studied capabilities is not as rich as at other levels. Second, some capabilities studied as MCs are adapted also in DMCs and IMCs research. For example, networking capabilities are tested at the strategic level for all three types of capabilities, customer relationship management is conceptualized at the operational level for all three types of capabilities, marketing planning spans all three types of capabilities at the analytical level, and marketing innovation spans all three types of capabilities at the value creation level. Third, extant literature that would study MCs, DMCs and/or IMCs at all four levels is rare or practically non-existent. This implies that our understanding of MCs, DMCs and IMCs is limited and there is ample opportunity for future research to fill this gap.

Following this logic, IDMCs that are conceptualized and operationalized at all four levels can provide a more comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon. Previous attempts have not given equal weight to the “international” and “dynamic” components in operationalizing IDMCs, prioritizing one at the expense of the other. For example, in a recent qualitative study by Kim and Lim (2022), entrepreneurial orientation, networking capability and versatile dynamic capability are suggested to form higher-order IDMCs, and some of these factors (if not all) can be applied equally to domestic and international markets. It has been shown that numerous companies failed on the global stage not because of any missteps, but because they adhered to international marketing strategies that were effective and feasible in the past. We believe that the dynamic nature of contemporary firm’s external challenges from geopolitical conflicts, uncertainty and economic instability to the ongoing threats related to climate issue and digital transformation challenges (Deloitte Insights, 2023) call for a new conceptualization of IDMCs. While firms may operate in diverse industries and engage with distinct customers, their international marketing managers face similar business decisions and would therefore benefit from a unified view on IDMCs. In line with the contemporary global marketing trends, we propose a novel typology of IDMCs along four previously discussed levels in the firm (see Table 1).

At the strategic level we propose IDMCs to include digital international marketing capability (Wielgos et al., 2021; Homburg and Wielgos, 2022) and dynamic internationalization capability (Peng et al., 2023). Digital marketing capabilities are defined as “a firm’s ability to use digital technology-enabled processes to interact with customers and partners in a targeted, measurable, and integrated way to create new forms of value without regard for distance or time” (Homburg and Wielgos, 2022, p. 666). These capabilities add value by effectively managing the digital business transformation that companies are forced to do today to remain competitive (Wielgos et al., 2021).

Since digital marketing capabilities are highly scalable, measurable, interconnected and adaptable, as opposed to low to moderate levels in the case of MCs, it is no surprise that digital marketing capabilities contribute significantly to business profitability beyond the impact of MCs (Homburg and Wielgos, 2022). Moreover, as the business landscape changes and evolves with advancing technology, digital international marketing capabilities will maintain their significance in the years ahead (Wang, 2020). Thus, we believe that digital marketing capabilities developed for international markets should constitute IDMCs to achieve superior export performance. Similarly, dynamic internationalization capability refers to dynamic organizational learning by matching international exploration (i.e. knowledge gained from international markets) and international exploitation (i.e. developing new marketing technologies, strengthening international marketing resilience, acquiring new international marketing capabilities) that enables firms a clear strategic position and improves their international performance (Peng et al., 2023). In other words, these capabilities refer to how to gain expertise in applying novel capabilities and generating fresh value propositions to facilitate improved integration upon entry into a foreign market. We believe that this could be a key to the company’s long-term survival in dynamic international markets.

At the operational level we propose IDMCs to consist of agile international marketing capability (Asseraf et al., 2019; Gomes et al., 2020; Moi and Cabiddu, 2021; Shams et al., 2021), international marketing excellence (Homburg et al., 2020) and absorptive capacity/capability in international marketing (Zahra and George, 2002; Chatterjee et al., 2022a, b; Cho et al., 2023a). Marketing agility refers to “a firm’s capability to proactively anticipate and sense marketing opportunities, and to react quickly and flexibly to these opportunities to better satisfy customer needs” (Zhou et al., 2019, p. 3). Consequently, international marketing agility (see the special issue of International Marketing Review on international marketing agility, 2019, vol. 36, no. 2) describes firm’s ability to respond fast to shifts in international markets (Asseraf et al., 2019; Gomes et al., 2020). Agility is crucial especially for multinational firms operating in culturally different host countries (Shams et al., 2021) and was found to create customer value and increase firm’s international competitive advantage through leading digital transformation (Moi and Cabiddu, 2021). As international marketing agility contributes to new products advantage and international market performance (Asseraf et al., 2019), we consider it as important IDMC. Marketing agility priority, together with end-user priority and marketing eco-system priority form marketing excellence (Homburg et al., 2020), another proposed sub-dimension of IDMCs.

Building on international marketing agility, Homburg et al. (2020) re-conceptualize marketing excellence, which rests on three pillars: marketing ecosystem priority, end-user priority and marketing agility priority. Marketing excellence is recognized in the literature as a “superior ability to perform essential customer-centric activities that improve customer, financial, stock market and societal outcomes” (Moorman and Day, 2016, p. 6). Building on this definition, Homburg et al. (2020, p. 3) define marketing excellence as “a type of firm strategy that focuses on achieving organic growth by implementing the marketing ecosystem priority, the end-user priority, and the marketing agility priority”. The focus of marketing excellence, then, is on the integration of marketing skills and accumulated knowledge operationalized through organizational processes, with this synergy enabling a company to effectively execute its marketing activities (Moorman and Day, 2016). In this sense, marketing excellence is a marketing capability. For instance, there is a recurring discussion, particularly in the international business literature, that in developing DCs, organizations should go beyond dyadic relationships or even a network of relationships to include the entire ecosystem of the organization (Teece, 2014). Consequently, prioritizing the marketing ecosystem is an important marketing capability as building and maintaining excellent customer relationships should lead to better results (Homburg et al., 2020). In summary, marketing activities that lead to marketing excellence enable the organization to anticipate market changes, adapt strategies to outperform competitors, synchronize the organization with both strategy and market dynamics, implement strategies effectively, ensure accountability for outcomes, attract resources and proficiently manage marketing assets (Moorman and Day, 2016). Consequently, marketing excellence should represent IDMCs at the operational level.

Absorptive capability in international marketing could be defined as a set of international marketing routines and processes by which international firms systematically acquire, assimilate, transform and exploit knowledge producing a dynamic international marketing capability (Zahra and George, 2002). In other terms, absorptive capability refers to firm’s ability to recognize the value of new information in international markets, assimilate it and apply it to commercial ends (Chatterjee et al., 2022a, b). Originally, this capability appears in two forms (Zahra and George, 2002): potential absorptive capacity (i.e. acquisition and assimilation of knowledge) and realized absorptive capacity (i.e. transformation and exploitation of knowledge). Firms with greater potential absorptive capacity can seize emerging international marketing opportunities better than their competitors, while firms with greater realized absorptive capacity can refine their grasp of innovation and commercialization potential, leading to fresh perspectives on foreign market opportunities, thereby strengthening their sensing capabilities (Cho et al., 2023a). Absorptive capacity seems to share a lot with market orientation as described by Hunt and Morgan (1995, p. 11): “we propose that a market orientation is (1) the systematic gathering of information on customers and competitors, both present and potential, (2) the systematic analysis of the information for the purpose of developing market knowledge, and (3) the systematic use of such knowledge to guide strategy recognition, understanding, creation, selection, implementation, and modification.” Following the argumentation in the literature that export market orientation is a set of capabilities that involves acquiring, and responding to (exploiting) export market knowledge (Cadogan et al., 2009), we explicitly link international absorptive capacity and international market orientation. Thus, we believe they are important part of IDMCs.

At the analytical level we propose IDMCs to embrace international marketing resilience capability (Gölgeci and Kuivalainen, 2020; Wulandhari et al., 2022; Nguyen et al., 2023), international marketing knowledge management capability (Scuotto et al., 2022), AI-enabled IDMCs (Manis and Madhavaram, 2023) and other industry 4.0–enabled IDMCs (Nayal et al., 2023). Firm’s resilience can be defined as “an ability to absorb shocks in the form of extreme events and an adaptive capability to adjust to new circumstances” (Johnson et al., 2013, p. 325). In the context of global supply chains, the term cooperative resilience recently emerged that can be defined as “the organizations’ ability to recover from disruptions, maintain dynamic integrity in the presence of ongoing stress, and exploit opportunities that pivot on achieving economic and social goals” (Wulandhari et al., 2022). International marketing resilience capability follows this logic and relates to firm’s ability to adapt, survive and bounce back to international unpredictable event in global value chains beyond firm’s control (Nguyen et al., 2023). As building international marketing resilience as a pivotal capability to respond to challenges and uncertainties in international markets, as well as embrace the complexity to create sustainable customer value, particularly in international environments where companies and their competitive advantages have a tendency to be short-lived (Gölgeci and Kuivalainen, 2020), we treat international marketing resilience capability as one of the key IDMCs.

We believe that international marketing resilience can be enhanced by building dynamic capabilities for international marketing knowledge management, which occurs particularly when employees in the international marketing department have the capacity to solve problems, adapt and change (Scuotto et al., 2022). Although individual employees in international marketing are the primary source of knowledge that cannot be easily copied, today’s marketers rely more and more on the technologies to conduct international marketing activities. There are some, who even claim that all MCs can be enabled by technology (Manis and Madhavaram, 2023). Thus, international marketing knowledge management capabilities need to be complemented by recently introduced industry 4.0–enabled IDMCs (Nayal et al., 2023). The term Industry 4.0 refers to a variety of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), big data, blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, biotechnology, new computing technologies like cloud computing, etc. (Cho et al., 2023a). On one hand, these technologies collect and analyze real-time data, thus they provide valuable information in predicting customer needs and international marketing mix customization, as well as play important role in customer relationship management (Nayal et al., 2023). On the other hand, these technologies disrupt the industries structures and the competitive environment, introducing firms to novel competitive forces in global markets, which adds complexity to their efforts in addressing concerns related to value creation and capture, reevaluating relationships with traditional business partners and managing the vast amount of new data generated (Cho et al., 2023b). Thus, these capabilities as part of IDMCs will be critical for firms to understand international (global) markets.

As not all these dimensions of IDMCs are equally applied in a given international context, we believe AI-enabled international marketing capabilities need to be added to IDMCs analytical level portfolio. AI-enabled international marketing capabilities are connected with the concept of hierarchical capabilities and refer to “one or more AI operations that can enable – facilitate or reinforce – higher-order capabilities by combining or integrating with other resources, in turn, helping a firm progress up the hierarchy of capabilities” (Manis and Madhavaram, 2023, p. 7). There is not much known about these capabilities in extant literature, thus future research may fill this gap.

At the value creation level we propose IDMCs to develop ambidextrous international marketing innovation capability (Buccieri et al., 2020; van Lieshout et al., 2021). Ambidextrous innovation refers to a company’s capability to engage in both exploitative (i.e. refinement or incremental product improvement) and exploratory (i.e. generation of advanced product design through disruption) innovation simultaneously (Buccieri et al., 2020). In other words, exploration refers to inbound open innovation and exploitation refers to outbound open innovation, both of which can be explained by the micro-foundations of DCs (van Lieshout et al., 2021): (1) exploration refers to firm’s capability in using local and foreign resources, assets, sources of knowledge and innovation (sensing), firm’s capability to capitalize on external knowledge and innovation from external sources (seizing) and firm’s ability to invest and maintain its RandD capability; (2) exploitation refers to firm’s capability to commercialize internal knowledge out of the firm’s core business and market (sensing); firm’s capability to evolve through efficient orchestration of assets and resources (seizing), and firm’s ability to firm’s ability to achieve fit between the firm and culture, which enables integration of external knowledge and innovation to internal ones. Exploitation as a market-driven orientation is often described as less risky, more certain and efficient, while exploration as a market-driving orientation may create unexpected value for customers and thereby driving the firm’s future (Tolstoy et al., 2022). In international marketing, a successful international firm will emphasize both market exploration and market exploitation knowledge-based resource accumulation through international learning processes in order to deal with uncertainty and competitive pressures in export markets (Hoque et al., 2022a). Dual international marketing ambidextrous innovation capabilities are expected to complement each other in a way to enable the international firm to strengthen its competitiveness in foreign markets and overcome any resource constraints (Buccieri et al., 2020). Ambidexterity was suggested for future researchers as an important factor to be studied in relation to IDMCs influencing internationalization strategies (Garcia Ortiz et al., 2021) and superior export performance (Cho et al., 2023a, b). Thus, we treat ambidextrous international marketing innovation capability as future oriented value-creation IDMC.

3. Articles in this special issue

The purpose of this Special Issue is to advance our understanding of IDMCs by conducting conceptual studies, literature reviews and empirical research focused on related contemporary issues that have relevance for various types of businesses and markets. In response to the call for papers, nine papers took the journey through the reviewing process till the end and now form the special issue. Table 2 is intended to provide an overview how papers in this special issue contribute to the conceptualization and measurement of IDMCs.

We briefly present the main findings of the nine papers in this special issue below in alphabetical order of the first author. Figure 2 provides an overview of the empirical results related to IDMCs. This figure can serve as a synthesis of main empirical findings in this special issue.

First paper by Akter et al. addresses the research void related to how global B2B service companies incorporate DCs into their omnichannel management strategies to impact favorable word of mouth (WOM), customer engagement and customer equity. The authors are among pioneers who view omnichannel management in the context of international marketing as a DMC and contribute to the extant literature by addressing content and concerns across international channels through DCs theory. The study adds knowledge to the specific channel management capabilities and their overall effects on customer-based performance outcomes. Specifically, based on data collected from 312 service-oriented global firms in Australia analyzed using structural equation modeling the authors confirm content management and concern management capabilities to be key significant contributors to positive WOM within B2B omnichannel setting in international marketing, while suggesting customer engagement to mediate the relationship between positive WOM and customer equity. In other words, this is one of the first studies suggesting that distribution channel’s integration and agility should be utilized as strategic capability to manage the dynamic global service market environment to derive to positive customer-based performance outcomes.

Second paper by Bargoni et al. is a conceptual study that proposes how firms can build and nurture IDMCs by implementing growth hacking strategies, a novel phenomenon observed mainly in managerial practice. The paper builds on the premise that an increased number of endogenous or exogenous market events (e.g. global COVID-19 pandemic, increased market competition, geopolitical tensions) force firms to find new business, organizational or decision-making models that would enable them to adapt to higher degree of volatility and uncertainty in the international markets. In authors’ view, IDMCs can address these challenges in dynamically changing international markets by shaping company resources through growth hacking, a data-driven mind-set in marketing decision-making that combines big-data analysis and continuous learning. The authors develop a comprehensive framework of four phases of growth hacking and related capabilities and routines developed by companies to cope with dynamically changing international markets. These include ensuring product-market fit through international demand management capability, finding growth hack by creating international marketing knowledge capabilities, going viral as an affordance perspective to develop IDMCs, and retention and optimization through absorption capabilities in the context of IDMCs. In addition, research propositions with rich future research directions are developed for three critical components of growth hacking: coding and automation, digital marketing and big data analytics.

Third paper by Behl et al. is an empirical study that aims to answer two research questions: (1) what is organizational culture’s effect on firm’s innovation capability to improve sustainability and organizational marketing performance and (2) how can gamification improve firm’s technological and environmental innovation capability, leading firms to achieve environmental sustainability. In particular, this paper contributes to better understanding of gamification-based and non-gamification based organizational culture influence on international marketing innovation capability, environmental sustainability and organizational marketing performance viewed through the lens of theory of administrative behavior and theory of organizational creativity. International marketing innovation capability is used as a proxy for IDMCs conceptualized as technological and environmental innovation capability. A structured survey of 384 climate-conscious firms that abide by the ISO 14091 (adaptation to climate change) certification revealed that organizational culture has positive influence on environmental and technological innovation capabilities. Moreover, technological innovation capabilities yielded positive effects on environmental sustainability, with a significant correlation between the two concepts. Environmental innovation capabilities were found to positively influence on both environmental sustainability and organizational marketing performance. Finally, there is evidence of gamification action as a moderating factor in the interaction between organizational culture and international DCs in the form of environmental innovation capabilities. In sum, this paper shows how IDMCs can be a useful theoretical framework for understanding how can various capabilities be converted into small business assets.

Fourth paper by Chatterjee, Chaudhuri and Vrontis presents a unique DCs theory-based model studying the relationship between dynamic abilities (sensing, seizing and transforming ability), IDMCs (conceptualized as international marketing operational capability, international marketing knowledge management capability and international strategic marketing capability) and international marketing performance. This paper also investigates how much could marketing leadership support influence the relationships between international marketing performance and its IDMCs predictors. A structural equation model on a sample of 455 respondents from Indian multinational firms supports positive relationship between firm’s dynamic ability factors and its IDMCs. In addition, multigroup analysis confirms that firm’s marketing leadership team has a significant positive moderating impact on improving its international marketing performance. Besides these important empirical findings, this study contributes to the extant literature with its unique conceptualization of IDMCs with three aforementioned components and its empirical test in relation to international marketing performance. It is also one of the first studies to perceive IDMCs with valuable, rare, inimitable and non-substitutable (VRIN) characteristics that could help companies outperform their competitors in today’s international markets. In addition to investigation of different characteristics of IDMCs, this study contributes to and extends the application of dynamic capabilities theory in the context of international marketing by showing how and why firms successfully adapt to rapid changes in the dynamic business environments.

Fifth paper by Ciszewska-Mlinaric, Siemieniako and Wojcik provides a novel conceptualization of IDMCs and a rich argumentation how these are theoretically derived from DMC and DC respectively. The authors develop a new scale for IDMCs consisting of nine items that correspond to original Teece’s conceptualization of DCs (sensing, seizing and reconfiguring), and also empirically validate it. The aim of the paper was to test the relationship between newly conceptualized IDMCs and international performance, mediated by adaptation to foreign markets and product development capability. In addition, extreme environmental dynamism (context of COVID-19 pandemic) is used as a moderator of this relationship. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis of 277 surveyed exporting manufacturers from the post-transition economy of Poland show a strong support for IDMCs influence on international performance, where this relationship is mediated by adaptation to foreign markets and product development capability. This paper reveals also a significant and positive indirect effect of IDMCs on international performance through both mediators, which is weakened under conditions of extreme environmental dynamism. This empirical study offers recommendations for managers on fostering resilience in global markets amidst periods of instability. These strategies encompass investments in IDMCs that facilitate endeavors focused on enhancing product development and adjusting to international market conditions. These findings could also be valuable for policymakers when creating efficient support measures for exporters from post-transitional economies when facing sudden environmental disruptions or unconventional crises.

Sixth paper by Mostafiz et al. explores the mediating role of IDMCs in the relationship between international entrepreneurial firms’ innovation (explorative and exploitative) and commercialization of innovative products/services internationally. This study assesses also the moderating role of breadth and depth of international networks in the exploration of IDMCs effects on commercialization. Time-lagged survey data were collected from 201 Malaysian international entrepreneurial firms and structural equation modeling was applied to test the conceptual model fit, as well as additional robustness test and endogeneity analyses were provided. The results indicate that the IDMCs play a mediating role in the relationship between exploratory and exploitative innovation and the process of commercialization. Moreover, the findings show that the effect of IDMC on commercialization becomes much stronger when the breadth and depth of international networks are considered, which indicates that international entrepreneurial firms are embedded in strong external networks and actively utilize them to enhance their resources and knowledge. These findings extend the logic of DCs theory by prioritizing IDMCs over any other form of DCs in relation to the commercialization of innovation. As the authors conceptualized IDMCs as functional DCs linked to three cross-border operational processes, their findings suggest that IDMCs need to be specifically crafted for entrepreneurial firms operating globally opposed to just simply adopting general marketing capabilities.

Seventh paper by Pfajfar, Mitręga and Shoham is a systematic literature review of IMCs in DCV and aims at calibrating research on IDMCs, thereby increasing the chances for more conceptual and terminological rigor in future research on the phenomenon. A multilevel analytical approach, combining inductive coding with deductive coding and following antecedents-phenomenon-consequences logic revealed 20 empirical studies on IMC applying DCV. Synthesis of the extant literature revealed frequent antecedents to IDMCs (inter-organizational capabilities, responsive market orientation, resource availability, international culture), frequent consequences (financial performance, export performance, innovation performance), as well as infrequent antecedents (e.g. proactive market orientation, ambidextrous innovation) and infrequent consequences (e.g. internationalization, competitive advantage). The review shows that there is little knowledge of moderators of these links, especially with regard to consequences, while the extant research lacks consistency and how key constructs are defined and measured. Only 3 studies out of 20 measured focal capabilities aligned with DCV premises. This study makes an important contribution by providing guidelines for future conceptualization and measurement of IDMCs. In addition, rich future research directions are provided using a structured approach along Theory, Context and Methods framework. Recommendations for theory include (1) making research consistent with the theoretical boundaries and developments of DCV, (2) aligning the research with specific angles of analysis in international marketing literature, (3) investigating links with relevant theoretical perspectives in the literature and (4) call for conceptual and terminological rigor. Recommendations for context consist of: (1) more studies on specific micro building blocks of focal capabilities in specific markets and industries, (2) call for studies on IDMCs from middle- and low-income countries, especially transforming economies, (3) need for international comparative research on IDMCs and (4) more studies on the unboxing mechanism how focal capabilities affect international performance. Finally, recommendations for methods embrace (1) a more qualitative and in-depth approach to exploring the forms and dimensions of focal capabilities, (2) call for non-tautological measurement within theoretical boundaries and (3) call for process-oriented research approaches.

Eighth paper by Rivero-Gutierrez et al. aims to answer how firms manage their DMCs to adapt their business to new international environment, and what is the role of DMCs in generating organizational legitimacy that helps firms to overcome all possible disadvantages of being a new firm in a foreign country. Addressing these research questions, the paper aids in elucidating the methods by which marketing managers cultivate their DMCs, and in turn, offers a potential framework for implementing DMC strategies aimed at enhancing legitimacy within international markets. This is a qualitative study. 16 in-depth interviews with manufacturing company managers are analyzed to derive to novel findings suggesting 5 DMCs, which could improve firms’ legitimacy in foreign markets: local market sensitivity, relationship management, anticipation, flexibility and exemplariness. The authors suggest international firms to combine these capabilities, but alert also that these capabilities will play a different role depending on the implementation phase. In addition, authors emphasize credibility, engagement, alliances, adaptability and proximity as part of integrating resource allocation and capability development to reach differentiation in the foreign markets. This study makes an important contribution to IDMCs field of research by applying institutional theory and showing IDMCs and legitimacy to coexist, where the development of DMCs would provide the necessary differentiation for multinational firms to obtain legitimacy. Consequently, legitimacy can be viewed as important differentiation factor and enables multinationals to offer credible and clear value proposition in the international markets.

Ninth paper by Vardarsuyu et al. aims to uncover the significance of managerial process thinking skills in nurturing the dynamic capabilities required to cater to international clients and thrive in export markets. The authors collected cross-sectional data from export managers working in 204 small- and medium-sized Turkish exporters. The results of the path analysis show that in case when export managers’ prove orientation is high, learning and avoid orientations are low and export venture experience (duration and scope) increases, the positive effect of export managers’ process thinking skills on dynamic capabilities increases. Moreover, export venture dynamic capabilities serve as a mediator between export managers’ process thinking skills and export performance. This study contributes to the conceptualization and operationalization of DCs that form the foundation of a company’s export operations. Specifically, the authors conceptualize export venture DCs as a higher-level construct composed of sensing, seizing and reconfiguring elements related to the firm’s export market operations and empirically validate it. Furthermore, this study utilizes micro-foundations approach of competitive advantage to study export managers’ process thinking skills and addresses the question how these contribute to DCs development in export ventures. Finally, this study deepens the understanding of managers’ goal orientation within the context of export marketing and its role in the impact of process thinking skills on development of DCs in export ventures.

4. Research gaps and future research agenda

Each of the papers in this special issue identifies research gaps in the current research on IDMCs and provides avenues for future research, thereby contributing to the further development of IDMCs phenomenon. We would like to point particularly at Pfajfar, Mitręga and Shoham paper which maps the current research on IDMCs and provides rich avenues for future research along Theory, Context and Methods framework. At this point, we would not like to repeat any future research proposition that are listed in the papers in this special issue, but would like to go back to the origin of IDMCs (see Figure 1) and source for research gaps and future research directions in the contemporary literature on MCs, DMCs and IMCs that could be applicable to IDMCs. The result of the analysis is Table 3, which highlights research gaps and challenges and outlines research questions that can help researchers advance the discussion of IDMCs.

4.1 Antecedents to the IDMC

We call future research to tap into antecedents to IDMC phenomenon, which we observe are much less frequently applied in the research models than outcomes. In fact, looking at the leading empirical papers in the field of MC, DMC and IMC up to this date gives us a surprising result – many did not include any antecedent to the capabilities phenomenon.

When looking at the extant MC research, we could split most frequently used antecedents into two groups: knowledge and other resources. Knowledge type of antecedents includes marketing information (Vorhies, 1998), informational knowledge (Morgan et al., 2003), market knowledge development (Vorhies et al., 2011), branding and retailing knowledge (Irfan et al., 2023), experiential knowledge (Morgan et al., 2003), and ethical/social compliance knowledge (Irfan et al., 2023) among others. Most often studied other resources as antecedents to MC were marketing resources (e.g. Yalcinkaya et al., 2007; Nath et al., 2010) and technological resources (e.g. Yalcinkaya et al., 2007). Other antecedents consist of brand reputation and marketing planning (da Fonseca et al., 2023), environmental turbulence, business strategy, organizational structure and task routinization (Vorhies, 1998). Finally, DCs were studied as antecedent to MCs as well (Wilden and Gudergan, 2015; Cataltepe et al., 2023).

When looking at extant DMC literature, we observe knowledge and other resources related antecedents to repeat, only in a different, more dynamic form. For instance, knowledge antecedents consist of knowledge integration, breadth and depth (Zhang and Xu, 2019), while other resources antecedents include resource magnitude and complexity (Fang and Zou, 2009). We observe a strong presence of business-relationship related antecedents like customer relationship management (Barrales-Molina et al., 2014), vertical and horizontal relationship quality (Xu et al., 2018) and human capital (Elsharnouby and Elbanna, 2021). Other antecedents include marketing vision and marketing readiness (Sukdej and Ussahawanitchakit, 2015), market orientation and entrepreneurship orientation (Tsai, 2015), supply chain management, social media and network competence (Barrales-Molina et al., 2014), and sustainable human resource management (Nayal et al., 2023) among others. Finally, operational MCs influence DMCs (Perez-Cabanero et al., 2015) as well.

When reviewing the extant IMC articles, the most frequently used antecedents could be split into two categories: (1) marketing theory rooted concepts (e.g. market orientation (Reimann et al., 2022), segmentation and targeting (Cortez and Hidalgo, 2022)) and (2) international business related phenomena (e.g. international vision (Weerawardena et al., 2015), increased number of foreign markets (Ledesma-Chaves et al., 2020), firm’s cultural intelligence (Hazzam and Wilkins, 2022)). Other observed antecedents include market-focused learning and network learning (Weerawardena et al., 2015), as well as factors leading to digital marketing capabilities like social media technologies (Hazzam and Wilkins, 2022) and contingency variables (environment, technology, business context, customer’s behavioral traits (e.g. age, gender, generation, online shopping, e-payment, etc.)) (Apasrawirote et al., 2022) among others. Finally, marketing planning capability and flexibility maintenance capability (Asseraf et al., 2019), strategic flexibility as dynamic capability (Zahoor and Lew, 2023) and organizations' dynamic ability (sensing ability, seizing ability, transforming ability) (Chatterjee et al., 2022a, b) effect IMCs as well.

4.2 Moderators

We encourage future research to explore the factors that moderate the relationship of IDMCs with its antecedents and outcomes. Majority of the extant research on MC, DMC and IMC used the moderators on the outcomes side, so there is a paucity of boundary conditions that would explain how and when the effect of antecedents on IDMCs occurs. We call for contemporary factors that would provide more nuanced insights into the underlying mechanisms behind IDMCs development.

Studies of MCs have used following moderators, among others, in their conceptual models: marketing organization fit with Miles-Snow (1978) strategic type (prospector, analyzer, defender, reactor) (Vorhies and Morgan, 2003; Song et al., 2007, 2008), environmental turbulence (Wilden and Gudergan, 2015), technological turbulence (Han et al., 2023), environmental dynamism (Cataltepe et al., 2023), efficiency (Nath et al., 2010), ambidextrous innovation (Martin et al., 2017), market orientation, marketing strategy (differentiation, cost leadership) and organizational power (Cacciolatti and Lee, 2016). Among the capabilities, marketing employee development capabilities (Orr et al., 2011) were also used as a moderating factor between MCs and customer satisfaction and market effectiveness.

Studies on DMCs provide for even more versatile moderators. These are mostly internal to the organization: innovative climate (Sukdej and Ussahawanitchakit, 2015), customization norm (Mitręga, 2020), organizational structure (departmentalization, formalization) and organizational culture (goal congruency, learning culture) (Fang and Zou, 2009), formalization, learning culture and institutional distance (Zhang and Xu, 2019), entrepreneurship orientation and ownership (domestic vs foreign) (Xu et al., 2018). Most often external factor used in the extant studies on DMCs is market/environmental dynamism (e.g. Buccieri et al., 2020; Elsharnouby and Elbanna, 2021). Finally, when selecting exclusively among capabilities, market-sensing capabilities and CRM capabilities (Morgan et al., 2009a) were also used as a moderator between DMCs and firm’s revenue and margin growth rate.

Studies of IMCs have most frequently examined the moderating effect of competitive intensity (e.g. Morgan et al., 2012; Reimann et al., 2022; Efrat et al., 2018; Hoque et al., 2022b; Cho et al., 2023a, b) on the relationship between IMCs and performance, followed by environmental dynamism/turbulence (e.g. Chatterjee et al., 2022a, b; Hazzam and Wilkins, 2022; Homburg and Wielgos, 2022). Other factors include market orientation (Homburg and Wielgos, 2022), entrepreneurial orientation (Wang, 2020), adoption of digital technologies (Zahoor and Lew, 2023), absorptive capacity (Peng et al., 2023), dysfunctional competition (Boso et al., 2019), promotion and product adaptation (Asseraf et al., 2019), product type, brand ownership and economic development level (Cho et al., 2023a, b), competitive hybrid strategy and environmental responsiveness (Hoque et al., 2021), as well as demographic factors (age, gender, education) (Apasrawirote et al., 2022) among others. Finally, IMCs conceptualized as architectural capabilities (planning capability, implementation capability) moderate the relationship between cost goals and cost advantages as well as differentiation goals and differentiation advantages in export ventures (Spyropoulou et al., 2018).

4.3 Outcomes of the IDMC

Analyzing the results of the studies on MCs, DMCs, and IMCs, we find that business performance and competitive advantage are the most frequently used outcome factors. The low diversity of outcome factors prompts future researchers to reconsider their contributions in this area.

Researchers of MCs most often used firm performance as an outcome variable (e.g. Yalcinkaya et al., 2007; Nath et al., 2010; Cacciolatti and Lee, 2016; Cataltepe et al., 2023). This was measured either as a subjective performance (e.g. customer satisfaction (Vorhies and Morgan, 2005; Orr et al., 2011), marketing effectiveness (Vorhies, 1998; Vorhies and Morgan, 2003, 2005; Orr et al., 2011), marketing efficiency (Vorhies and Morgan, 2003), adaptive performance (Morgan et al., 2003)) or objective financial performance (e.g. relative return-on-assets (Orr et al., 2011), profitability (Vorhies and Morgan, 2005)). Innovation is the second most often used outcome variable, appearing in several varieties: product innovation (Yalcinkaya et al., 2007), management innovation (Han et al., 2023), radical and incremental technological innovation (Han et al., 2023). Other factors include competitive strategy and positional advantage (Martin et al., 2017), and launching own product or brand (Irfan et al., 2023). Finally, customer-focused marketing capabilities appear as an outcome of marketing exploration and marketing exploitation (Vorhies et al., 2011).

Researchers of DMCs similarly applied firm performance most often in their studies (e.g. Fang and Zou, 2009; Morgan et al., 2009a, b; Perez-Cabanero et al., 2015). Here, too, innovation-related outcomes are in second place. These include service innovation (Perez-Cabanero et al., 2015), product innovation success (Mitręga, 2020), commercialization performance of radical innovation (Tsai, 2015) and innovation performance (Xu et al., 2018). Other factors include competitive advantage (Fang and Zou, 2009), induced market turbulence (Kachouie et al., 2018), marketing excellence, marketing productivity, marketing responsiveness and marketing survival (Sukdej and Ussahawanitchakit, 2015), circular product design (Nayal et al., 2023) and company agility (Mitręga, 2020). Finally, DMCs result in reconfiguration of operational marketing capabilities (Kachouie et al., 2018).

Researchers of IMCs most often studied their relationship to export performance (e.g. Blesa and Ripollés, 2008; Reimann et al., 2022; Ripollés and Blesa, 2012; Cacciolatti and Lee, 2016; Asseraf et al., 2019; Wang, 2020; Hoque et al., 2021, 2022a; Cortez and Hidalgo, 2022; Hazzam and Wilkins, 2022; Homburg and Wielgos, 2022; Zahoor and Lew, 2023; Cataltepe et al., 2023; Cho et al., 2023a, b; Peng et al., 2023). International business specific outcome factors include internationalization (Garcia Ortiz et al., 2021), international commitment (Blesa and Ripollés, 2008), foreign market expansion (Mitręga et al., 2021), international expansion ability (Chatterjee et al., 2022a, b) and (higher commitment) entry mode (Blesa and Ripollés, 2008; Ripollés and Blesa, 2012). Researchers also claim that IMCs result in some sort of advantage in foreign markets, which being either new products advantage (Asseraf et al., 2019), low-cost and branding advantage (Zou et al., 2003) or general competitive advantage (e.g. Efrat et al., 2018; Tan and Sousa, 2015). In the context of international new ventures, extant literature offers empirical evidence for the effect of IMCs on early internationalization (Weerawardena et al., 2015), international new venture performance and international entrepreneurial culture (Buccieri et al., 2020). Other factors include products expansion (Mitręga et al., 2021), innovation (Weerawardena et al., 2015), marketing ambidexterity (Tolstoy et al., 2022) and distribution channel integration (Garcia Ortiz et al., 2021). Finally, Morgan et al. (2012) distinguish between IMCs’ internal and external implementation effectiveness, while Behl et al. (2023) look at the IMCs’ effect on leveraging process of the firm’s resources and capabilities.

4.4 Context, methodology, measures and conceptualization of the IDMC

Majority of the extant research on DMCs and IMCs, as a field of research from which IDMCs could source, is conducted in developed economies. Replicating the studies among international firms based in different cultural and institutional environments, particularly fast growing economies and/or emerging countries would shed a different light on IDMCs (Kaleka and Morgan, 2019). Interestingly, research on MCs is growing in the context of Chinese and Indian firms, while it is almost nonexistent in other emerging countries (Cortez and Hidalgo, 2022). We strongly suggest future researchers to collect data from multiple countries to further contextualize their studies, as initial evidence suggests that MC–international performance relationship seems to withhold country differences (Weerawardena et al., 2015). Expanding the scope of studies could also help researchers uncover and understand country-specific phenomena (Jie et al., 2023) like for small and open economies being a test-ground for new marketing approaches. Finally, researchers could investigate the institutional distance between home and host countries, as resource dependence on the firm’s local partners when developing IDMCs would be significantly decreased when regulations in the home country are similar to those in the host country, and firms would find it easy to adapt to the host countries (Xu et al., 2018).

Majority of the extant research on MCs, DMCs and IMCs is based on cross-sectional data collected at a certain point in time (Cortez and Hidalgo, 2022). Consequently, one cannot generalize the studied causal relationships between the resources, capabilities and international performance (Hazzam and Wilkins, 2022). We encourage researchers to resolve this limitation by adopting a longitudinal design, which could unravel the dynamics of crossvergence over time and validate the directions of the relationships between the studied variables (Cortez and Hidalgo, 2022; Hazzam and Wilkins, 2022). In the context of IDMCs, assessing international performance outcomes over time may be particularly worthwhile (Morgan et al., 2003), as it may reveal novel antecedents and moderators in IDMCs – international performance relationship. Future studies could use both perceptual and objective measures of performance to attest the validity of relationship between IDMCs and export performance (Reimann et al., 2022). How IDMCs develop over time might be especially beneficial to managers and entrepreneurs, who shift from managerial positions in firms owned by others to managing their own firms (Gliga and Evers, 2023). As we conceptualized IDMCs including the international marketing resilience capability, future research could shed extra light it by surveying international managers before and after and important change of key factors in the international marketing environment (e.g. geopolitical tensions, social event, extreme event like pandemic, etc.) (Kaleka and Morgan, 2019).

This study presents a novel conceptualization of IDMCs. We encourage researchers to develop and test the measures for the novel conceptualization of IDMCs. Even if the research follow their own conceptualizations and measurement, we strongly suggest to combine marketing and technology driven capabilities (Bruni and Verona, 2009) as part of higher-order IDMCs. As technology, in particularly AI, can enable firms to progress from basic to interconnected capabilities, such IDMCs can strengthen the sustainable competitive advantages of international firm (Manis and Madhavaram, 2023). In addition, it can lead to innovative practices (e.g. digital co-creation of products and services) and enables international managers to experiment and create new ways of engaging with customers, suppliers and other channel members (Wang, 2020). At the same time we call for more rigor in the capability research as some researchers claim to have analyzed capabilities, whereas in fact they analyze antecedents or consequences of capabilities, creating content-validity problems (Jie et al., 2023). At the same time, most of the extant research views capabilities as given, rarely researchers are interested how international firms derived to those capabilities. How the IDMCs process (e.g. international pricing process, international communication process) is developed can be considered a capability (Tan and Sousa, 2015), but the extant literature is rather silent on that question.

Future researchers could expand the research beyond IDMCs. DCs were identified as important determinant of eco-innovation that contributes to sustainable transition of the economy and society toward the circular economy (Kiefer et al., 2019). Including sustainability, circular economy, sharing economy and regenerative economy in future research on IDMCs could contribute to better understanding of IDMCs social impact and its contribution to eco-innovation from various stakeholders’ perspective, being domestic or international.

5. Conclusion

This paper provides multiple theoretical contributions. First, it provides theoretical and conceptual differences between DCs, MCs, DMCs and IMCs. This brings higher clarity for the understanding of these concepts and provides for contemporary conceptualizations, pointing at the historical evolution of these concepts. Second, this study proposes a conceptual model of causal effects between DCs, MCs, DMCs and IMCs, as well as their relationship to the novel IDMCs construct. Despite rapidly growing research on some of the concepts (e.g. DCs and DMCs) over the last years, the extant literature offers little evidence how these concepts are interrelated and which one precedes the other. This is particularly important for the novel IDMCs construct conceptualization and understanding of its theoretical origin. Third, this study maps the conceptualizations and measurements of MCs, DMCs and IMCs in the extant literature at the four distinct levels of capabilities development: strategic, operational, analytical and value-creation. This categorization provides for a novel and a more complete approach to understand capabilities development in the contemporary international firm. It also points at the measurement gaps that future researchers need to fill to enhance comprehension of MCs, DMCs and IMCs in the contemporary international firms. Fourth, this study proposes a novel conceptualization and measurement of IDMCs that is in line with the contemporary international business and marketing trends. This novel approach to IDMCs opens several future research avenues, including empirical testing of the proposed measurement. In addition, our approach to IDMCs may serve researchers to rethink their future conceptualizations of DCs, MCs, DMCs and IMCs as well. Finally, this paper identifies numerous research gaps in the extant literature and develops corresponding research questions that can serve researchers for years to come.

This paper offers several practical contributions as well. As the international marketing managers are navigating through the times of uncertainty, we are certain that developing IDMCs may ease this volatility and direct them toward improved competitiveness and performance in international markets. We recommend that international marketing managers need to develop IDMCs geared toward sensing new international marketing trends and the same time manage their global value chains. Specifically, we propose them to develop digital marketing capability and dynamic internationalization capability as strategic capabilities, agile international marketing capability, international marketing excellence and absorptive capability in international marketing as operational capabilities, international marketing resilience capability, international marketing knowledge management capability, AI-enabled IDMC and industry 4.0–enabled IDMCs as analytical capabilities, and ambidextrous international marketing innovation capability as a value creation capability. Each paper in this special issue uncovers a piece of a puzzle that has not been touched upon before and contributes significantly to the theoretical and practical understanding of IDMCs. As we navigate through the dynamic international marketing landscape, the empirical findings in this special issue and the future research avenues identified can serve as a foundation for research innovation for the foreseeable future.


IDMCs and its origin in DCs, MCs, DMCs and IMCs

Figure 1

IDMCs and its origin in DCs, MCs, DMCs and IMCs

Summary of empirical findings in this special issue

Figure 2

Summary of empirical findings in this special issue

Toward the categorization and conceptualization of IDMCs

Marketing capabilitiesDynamic marketing capabilitiesInternational marketing capabilitiesInternational dynamic marketing capabilities
Strategic capabilities
Operational capabilities
Analytical capabilities
Value creation capabilities

Source(s): Authors own creation

IDMCs in the articles of the special issue

SourceConstruct/contextDefinition of the studied IDMCsTheoryMeasures for IDMCsMethodology
Akter et alDynamic omnichannel management capabilities in international B2B marketing as IDMCsIDMCs refer to the firms’ abilities to understand international customers’ expressed in latent needs so that the firm can create, deploy, and upgrade organizationally embedded and return-generating resources in pursuit of positive word-of-mouthDynamic capabilities theory, word-of-mouth theoryContent management capability (information consistency, source trustworthiness, endorsement), concerns management capability (privacy, security, recovery)Cross-sectional survey of 312 service-oriented global firms in Australia
Bargoni et alIDMCs development through growth hacking strategiesIDMCs allow firms to identify important foreign market signals; develop new processes, products or services; and design and execute effective responses to market changeDynamic capabilities theory, information technology literatureInternational demand management capabilities, international marketing knowledge capabilities, adaptive digital international capabilities, international customer relationship management/absorption capabilitiesTheoretical, methodology of problematization
Behl et alInternational marketing innovation capabilities as IDMCsIDMCs explain strategic processes that integrate, combine and generate new technology and marketing resources, which in turn shape an organization’s performance in international marketingDynamic capabilities theory, resource-advantage (R-A) theory, theory of organizational creativity, theory of administrative behaviortechnological innovation capability, environmental innovation capabilitysurvey of 384 firms that abide by the ISO 14091 (climate change) certification
Chatterjee, Chaudhuri and VrontisIDMCsIDMCs are conceptualized as the abilities that firms have to understand and efficiently fulfil the expressed and implied needs of customers in foreign markets, which enables firms to outperform rivals in international marketing to gain a competitive edgeDynamic capabilities view, resource-based-viewInternational marketing operational capability, international marketing knowledge management capability, international strategic marketing capabilityMultigroup analysis of 455 surveyed respondents from 14 Indian multinational firms
Ciszewska-Mlinaric, Siemieniako and WojcikIDMCs in the context of extreme environmental dynamism (during the COVID-19 pandemic)IDMCs are defined as firms’ cross-functional processes for effectively reconfiguring marketing resources in response to environmental dynamism in international markets so as to create and deliver value to international customersDynamic capabilities view9-items scale capturing the three major categories of DCs: sensing, seizing and reconfiguringSurvey of 277 exporting manufacturers from the post-transition economy of Poland
Mostafiz et alIDMCs of international entrepreneurial firmsIDMCs refers to tweaking the configuration of a firm’s internal resource bundles (e.g. knowledge, skills and routines) by actively interacting with network partners and integrating cross-functional disciplines in order to develop marketing processes specific to foreign marketsResource-based view, dynamic capabilities theory, network theoryIDMC is conceptualized as a functional dimension of the DMC, including 3 cross-border operational processes (product/service management, customer relationship management, supply chain management)Time-lagged survey data drawn from 201 Malaysian international entrepreneurial firms
Pfajfar, Mitręga and ShohamIDMCs as IMCs in dynamic capabilities viewIDMCs can be defined broadly as the processes by which organizations transform their marketing resources and capabilities to meet changing international market conditionsDynamic capabilities viewMeasures of focal capabilities developed by Fang and Zou (2009), Boso et al. (2019) and Mitręga et al. (2021)Systematic literature review
Rivero-Gutierrez et alIDMCs as DMCs in international manufacturing companyIDMCs relate to company’s processes that reconfigure its marketing resources for market anticipation, …, this means how new products, networks and relationships should be managed, or how solution development should be adapted to different markets, how to reconfigure marketing tools or how to use market knowledge to improve routines in different marketsResource-based view, dynamic capabilities theory, evolutionary economics, institutional theory, grounded theoryFlexibility, relationship management, sensitivity to the local market, anticipation, exemplariness16 in-depth interviews with manufacturing company managers in collaboration with an association of exporting firms
Vardarsuyu et alIDMCs as DCs in export market operationsIDMCs enable the exporting firm to modify its resources to respond to export market demands that are likely to be different from those in the domestic market and also survive in changing foreign marketplace conditionsDynamic capabilities perspectiveIDMCs are treated as export venture dynamic capabilities that are conceptualized as a higher-level construct comprising sensing, seizing and reconfiguring elements pertinent to the firm’s export market operationsSurvey among export managers working in 204 small- and medium-sized Turkish exporters

Source(s): Authors own creation

Research agenda: domain, research gaps and research questions

ChallengeResearch gapResearch questionsSourcesDomainsTheoretical lenses
IDMCs conceptualizationIDMCs can be theoretically derived from DMCs and IMCs, but there is not unified definition or conceptualization of the phenomenonRQ1.1. How to build IDMCs?Garcia Ortiz et al. (2021), Cortez and Hidalgo (2022)International Marketing, Strategic Management, International Business, Knowledge Management, Global Supply Chains and Value Chains ManagementGrounded theory, Resource-based view, Dynamic capabilities theory, Absorptive capacity theory, Knowledge based view, Organizational learning theory, Network theory
RQ1.2. How to derive to IDMCs by experimental learning?Day (2011)
RQ1.3. How firms IMCs could be improved?Chatterjee et al. (2022a, b)
RQ1.4. What are the synergistic effects between IDMCs?Elsharnouby and Elbanna (2021)
RQ1.5. What is the substitutability and complementarity of IDMCs?Orr et al. (2011)
RQ1.6. What is the hierarchy of capabilities comprising IDMCs?Manis and Madhavaram (2023)
RQ1.7. How does capability learning process contribute to IDMCs augmentation?Teece (2014)
Examining IDMC through various theoretical lensesMost of the extant research employs DCV as theoretical lenses, which is let alone not able to identify the appropriate conditions when the IDMC will be most valuable (Dubey et al., 2019)RQ2.1. What are optimum conditions when the IDMCs could derive best results for the organizations?Chatterjee et al. (2022a, b)International Marketing, Strategic Management, International Business, Knowledge Management, Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technology ManagementResource-based view, Dynamic capabilities theory, Strategic network orchestration theory, Entrepreneurial marketing theory, Theory of competitive advantage
RQ2.2. How can dynamic capabilities theory complemented by theory of competitive advantage explain the direct and indirect effects of IDMCs?Tan and Sousa (2015)
RQ2.3. How can entrepreneurial marketing theory explain the rise of IDMCs in start-ups and born globals?Gliga and Evers (2023)
RQ2.4. How can strategic network orchestration theory help explain relationships between distinct IDMCs?Rui and Bruyaka (2021)
Research beyond well-established growing marketsFirms faced with limited or saturated domestic market create a unique combination of IDMC to succeed in international markets, while these IDMC remain relatively unknownRQ3.1. How are IDMCs developed in firms operating in limited or saturated domestic market?Kaleka and Morgan (2019)Marketing Management and Strategy, International BusinessResource-based view, Dynamic capabilities theory, Internationalization theories
RQ3.2. How foundational IDMC change with the speed and scale of internationalization?Buccieri et al. (2020)
RQ3.3. What differences in IDMCs development exist between firms that focus their sensing processes on current (most prominent) markets compared with underserved or new markets?Wilden and Gudergan (2015)
Every firm builds a unique set of IDMCsFirm’s characteristics as boundary conditions to IDMCs development remain fairly unknownRQ4.1. How IDMC development differs between multinational corporations and born global firms?Weerawardena et al. (2015), Asseraf et al. (2019)International Business, Service Marketing, International Trade and Economics, Knowledge ManagementResource-based view, Dynamic capabilities theory, Born globals, Organizational behavior theory, Institutional theory
RQ4.2. How and why IDMCs may be different for B2B vs B2C firms?Morgan and Slotegraaf (2012)
RQ4.3. What are the effects of IDMCs in service-intensive firms opposed to technology-intensive firms?Tsai (2015)
RQ4.4. What is the relationship between the firm’s specific factors (e.g. size, export experience), institutional networks and IDMCs development?Ghaderi et al. (2021)
IDMCs and value creationHow IDMCs contribute to global value creation remains unansweredRQ5.1. How the interplay between IDMCs and long-term international business relationships affects value creation?Irfan et al. (2023)Marketing Management, Consumer Behavior, Strategic Management, Operations Management, Human Resource ManagementResource-based view, Dynamic capabilities theory, Social Exchange Theory, Service-dominant logic, Theory of value co-creation
RQ5.2. Which and how IDMCs contribute to cross-border market creation and co-creation, influence trends and shape foreign markets in the firm’s ecosystem?Teece (2014)
IDMC measurementThe measurement of IDMC remains ambiguousRQ6.1. Should researchers measure IDMCs as a first-order construct or a second-order construct?Han et al. (2023)International Marketing Management, Strategic Management, International BusinessResource-based view, Dynamic capabilities theory, Market orientation, Resource-advantage theory, Item response theory, social measurement theory
RQ6.2. To what extent are IDMCs integrative capabilities and can be acknowledged as key aspects of a market-driven firm?Orr et al. (2011)
RQ6.3. How IDMCs portfolios contribute to the international performance?Jie et al. (2023)
Examining IDMC at different levels of analysisWhile the literature focuses quite substantially on IDMC at the level of the firm or industry, it often overlooks IDMC relationship to specific parts of the operations (e.g. in global supply chains, finances, B2B relationships)RQ7.1. How other functions (e.g. supply chain management) important to export performance drive IDMCs?Hoque et al. (2022a)Strategic Management, Supply Chain Management, International Marketing Management, Organizational Behavior, International BusinessResource-based view, Dynamic capabilities theory, Institutional theory, Stakeholder theory, Network theory, Systems thinking
RQ7.2. Under what boundary conditions (e.g. organizational characteristics like top management commitment, institutional distance) fit between IDMCs and the strategic objectives of a firm (e.g. cost minimization vs profit maximization)/strategic orientations impacts export performance?Hoque et al. (2022b)
RQ7.3. How the interaction between organizational dynamic capabilities and combinative capabilities (e.g. system capabilities, coordination capabilities, socialization capabilities) contributes to IDMCs?Sheng (2017)
Developing reflexivityThere is a need for a deeper understanding of the boundary conditions under which companies develop IDMC, the intentionality behind IDMC, and the severity of transformational changes following IDMC developmentRQ8.1. What is the role of organizational culture in the relationship between IDMCs and international marketing strategy? Do different competing values or strategic orientations impact this relationship differently?Morgan et al. (2012)International Marketing, International Business Environment, Strategic Management, Organizational Culture and Behavior, Information Technology and Systems, Process Management, Knowledge ManagementResource-based view, Dynamic capabilities theory, Organizational identity theory, Contingency theory, Complexity theory
RQ8.2. Which IDMCs should be prioritized?Cortez and Hidalgo (2022)
RQ8.3. Do formally organized and more centralize organizational structures facilitate or hinder IDMCs-marketing strategy implementation effectiveness relationship?Morgan et al. (2012)
RQ8.4. How the IDMCs process (e.g. international pricing process, international communication process) is developed?Tan and Sousa (2015)
RQ8.5. When the resulting reconfigurations of international marketing knowledge base from the interaction of IDMCs with other capabilities (e.g. technological capabilities) and resources becomes counterproductive?Wilden and Gudergan (2015)
Expanding the set of drivers and motivationsThe literature needs to expand the set of drivers and motivations that make companies develop IDMCRQ9.1. What is the effect of different levels of strategic goal aspirations on IDMC and are there inflection points beyond which goal aspiration levels have negative effect?Spyropoulou et al. (2018)International Marketing Management, Strategic Management, Information Technology Management, Customer relationship management, Knowledge managementResource-based view, Dynamic capabilities theory, Internationalization theories, Relationship marketing theory, Network theory, Born Globals
RQ9.2. How are the processes different for developing an AI-enabled online vs an AI-enabled offline IDMCs? How do their antecedents differ?Manis and Madhavaram (2023)
RQ9.3. Which marketing resources (e.g. reputational, financial, knowledge) are needed to build IDMCs?Hoque et al. (2022b)
RQ9.4. What are the sources of IDMCs, particularly for international new ventures with a lack of international experience?Ripolles and Blesa (2012)
RQ9.5. Which individual characteristics like personal initiatives, ambiguity tolerance and internal locus of control promote IDMCs?Zahoor and Lew (2022)
RQ9.6. What is the role of international inter-organizational relationship factors (e.g. power, dependence, commitment, trust) in IDMCs development?Xu et al. (2018)
RQ9.7. How individual (employee) knowledge combined with transformational knowledge (from tacit to explicit knowledge) contributes to IDMCs?Scuotto et al. (2022)
Understanding the role of moderatorsIn a time of rapidly evolving digital landscape, geopolitical conflicts, heightened environmental pressures and economic uncertainty there is a need to reassess the role of moderatorsRQ10.1. What individual international marketing manager leC40:C53vel factors (e.g. psychic distance, managerial intentionality, past experience, number of ventures covered, leadership style) play a role in relation to IDMCs?Kaleka and Morgan (2019)Cross-cultural Management, International Marketing, Strategic Management, Technology Management, International Business Environment, Digital MarketingResource-based view, Dynamic capabilities theory, Knowledge-based view, Psychic distance theory, Internationalization theories, Network theory, Institutional theory
RQ10.2. What types of knowledge strengthen the relationship between IDMCs, its drivers and outcomes?Cortez and Hidalgo (2022)
RQ10.3. How the processes differ between various dimensions of organizational structure and culture in developing IDMCs?Fang and Zou (2009)
RQ10.4. How the intensity of competition and environmental uncertainty in a given industry affect the type of IDMCs necessary to succeed in foreign markets?Ghaderi et al. (2021)
RQ10.5. What is the role of international marketing employee development capabilities in relation to IDMCs in various economic conditions (stability vs uncertainty)?Orr et al. (2011)
RQ10.6. How cultural differences influence the relationship between market-based learning and IDMCs?Hoque et al. (2022a)
RQ10.7. How virtual networking has impacted resource interactions and IDMCs development across business networks in comparison to pre-pandemic era?Gliga and Evers (2023)
RQ10.8. How network attachment and culture similarity of network partners affect IDMCs?Zahoor and Lew (2022)
RQ10.9. How institutional distance between home and host country affect IDMCs development?Xu et al. (2018)
RQ10.10. How can AI facilitate IDMCs? How, why and when can AI exacerbate harmful effects of IDMCs in international marketing?Manis and Madhavaram (2023)
RQ10.11. How competitor’s turbulence affect IDMCs and its relationship to export performance?Wilden and Gudergan (2015)
RQ10.12. What is the role of IDMCs as a moderator between international competitive advantage and international performance?Tan and Sousa (2015)
RQ10.13. How the characteristics of various digital technologies adopted in the process of digitalization or digital transformation affect IDMCs and its relationship to performance?Zahoor and Lew (2022)
RQ10.14. How sector specific contextual factors (e.g. target customers' receptivity to innovation, number of competitors within the product category, governmental intervention) influence IDMCs effectiveness?Tsai (2015)
Expanding and understanding the set of outcomesThere is an ever growing list of firm’s performance outcomes, but we know very little of how, or rather to what extent IDMC impact other firm stakeholders (e.g. employees, firm owners, business partners, government, society), while valid outcomes measurement remains an issueRQ11.1. What combination of subjective, objective, financial and strategic performance measures or (e.g. speed, degree and scope of internationalization) would be the most appropriate to measure IDMCs performance outcomes?Reimann et al. (2022), Jie et al. (2023)International Business, Digital Marketing, Strategic Management, Operations ManagementResource-based view, Dynamic capabilities theory, Stakeholder theory, Institutional theory, Organizational behavior theory
RQ11.2. Which socio-metric data from all involved individuals pertaining to IDMCs nurturing can help us understand IDMCs better?Cortez and Hidalgo (2022)
RQ11.3. How IDMCs impact various internationalization strategies?Garcia Ortiz et al. (2021)
RQ11.4. What is customers' perception of firm’s IDMCs?Moi and Cabiddu (2021)
RQ11.5. Does having both an online and offline IDMCs create complementary effects? Which brings more positive consequences for the firm?Manis and Madhavaram (2023)
RQ11.6. What other operational capabilities emanate from dynamic marketing capabilities?Buccieri et al. (2020)
Thinking beyond IDMCWhile IDMCs are rooted in DC and international marketing, their effects may reach beyond its domain, tapping into the wave of international marketing trends and promoting future business development agendaRQ12.1. How do IDMCs promote digitalization and motivate stakeholders to adopt new technologies (e.g. AI, blockchain)?Manis and Madhavaram (2023), Nayal et al. (2023)Sustainable Marketing, Sustainable Business Model, Strategic Management, Business Ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility, Non-market Strategy, Supply Chain Management, Circular Economy, Digital MarketingResource-based view, Dynamic capabilities theory, Institutional Theory, Stakeholder Theory
RQ12.2. How the actual disruption that digital adoption brings to business processes influence IDMCs' implementation?Wang (2020)
RQ12.3. How sustainable human resources are working to complement IDMCs?Nayal et al. (2023)
RQ12.4. How do IDMCs promote sustainability and green marketing and motivate stakeholders in sustainable supply chains to advance their own green agendas?Porphirio Orioli and Cristovao Verissimo (2023)
RQ12.5. How do IDMCs influence circular product design and promote circular economy?Nayal et al. (2023)
RQ12.6. How new digital ways of engaging with customers, suppliers and channel members, including the co-creation of digital products and services impacts IDMCs implementation?Wang (2020)
Research design innovationsThe literature can greatly benefit from innovative research designs that expand the scope of research, the geographical area and adopt novel methodologiesRQ13.1. How can experiments and control groups improve research quality?Chinakidzwa and Phiri (2020)Methodological Advancements in International Business and MarketingMixed Methods Research, Experimental Research Methods, Grounded Theory, Reflexivity
RQ13.2. How do IDMCs evolve (i.e. are developed, adapted, reconfigured) over time?Chatterjee et al. (2022a, b), Cortez and Hidalgo (2022), Gliga and Evers (2023)
RQ13.3. What are the dynamic changes in the IDMCs components and its relationships to its drivers and outcomes?Cataltepe et al. (2023)
RQ13.4. How do IDMCs vary across different countries and markets (in particular emerging markets or export oriented markets)?Chatterjee et al. (2022a, b), Cortez and Hidalgo (2022), Cho et al. (2023b)
RQ13.5. How can industry-level analysis and cross-industry comparison reveal patterns of similarity and difference?Cho et al. (2023b)
RQ13.6. How can network-level studies contribute to better understanding of IDMCs tied in global value chains?Morgan and Slotegraaf (2012)

Source(s): Authors own creation



Here operational capabilities do not refer to ordinary capabilities (opposed to dynamic capabilities) as sometimes labeled in the dynamic capabilities literature.

Funding: The authors acknowledge the financial support from the Slovenian Research Agency (research core funding No. P5-0177).


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The guest editors would like to thank the Editor in Chief, Professor John W. Cadogan, for the guidance, expert counsel and sharing our vision for a special issue on international dynamic marketing capabilities, the editorial office for their support, all the authors for their excellent contributions and the anonymous reviewers for their time and expert advice that enhanced the quality of the special issue.

Corresponding author

Gregor Pfajfar can be contacted at:

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