Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: International Journal of Emerging Markets, Volume 6, Issue 3
Below is a brief summary of the articles in this issue. We are delighted in this issue to publish the work of several established scholars alongside the work of emerging and high potential academics.
We open with a paper aims to examine the consumption behavior of Chinese residents during economic transition – a longitudinal study from 1986 to 2000. It explores whether Western models of consumer behavior are representative of the Chinese context, and then tests this hypothesis based on Chinese traditional culture and dynamic nature of system change. The authors (Xiaotong Jin, Shengliang Deng, and Ilan Alon) find that in fact Chinese consumption patterns and behavior are not typical of their Western counterparts – explained by the differing cultural dynamics present in Confucianism. The implications for the Jin et al. research is that it is necessary for the Chinese authorities to introduce public policy aimed at establishing a stable social welfare system as well as increasing efforts to narrow the income gap between the rich and the poor, which in turn should significantly increase the buying power of the lower income demographics thereby increasing overall consumption in the economy. The authors note to further strengthen their research it would be useful to incorporate other methodologies – both qualitative and quantitative. This is a constructive challenge for future research on this topic.
Next up is a study by Isaac Wasswa Katono that examines service quality in electronic transactions in an emerging market. The specific context is the use of bank ATMs in Uganda. An experimental sampling methodology is employed by focusing on the behavior and usage of students at Uganda Christian University. The study employs a triangulation approach, using both qualitative and quantitative methods and finds that the key significant quality variables are tangibles, card issues, reliability and location. These findings are largely in line with Western consumer behavior suggesting that consumer maturity in emerging markets in the use of ATMs is similar as in developed economies. The implications for banks are fairly clear in this regard: encouraging usage of ATM facilities and decongesting their bank branches could have significant quality benefits for consumers.
Our third paper also examines African emerging markets. It synthesizes an important new area of marketing research with an emerging market context: sustainability marketing (SM). Our author, Anayo D. Nkamnebe, argues that SM is an important new avenue and opportunity for emerging market players to access global markets. Yet, the paper notes that emerging markets are far behind the pace relative to developed country players and as with other aspects of dominant business practices, the institutional frameworks for SM are being formed in the interests of developed country players. This paper is not empirical. It is an agenda setting and concept-driven discussion. What is clear in this paper’s implications is that institutional voids continue to hinder the adoption of SM practices in emerging markets and the role of the academy in carrying out intense research in this area for emerging markets is an outstanding opportunity for the direct and practical participation of scholarly research. As we have said all along at IJoEM, “emerging” does not just carry with it a geographical connotation (i.e. a North-South paradigm) but also a conceptual one. Without question, SM is one such emerging practice.
Our fourth paper by Rajshekhar G. Javalgi, Robert Scherer, Carol Sánchez, Lorena Pradenas Rojas, Víctor Parada Daza, Chi-en Hwang, and Wu Yan is an excellent comparative study of the USA, Chile and China. At IJoEM, we place special value on such comparative work for its empirical richness and therefore its conceptual potential. The task of this paper is to discover if stereotypical perceptions of women as managers exist between men and women in the three countries mentioned above. Can we see a variation from developed to developing countries? As with Katono’s paper, the authors employ an experimental sample methodology by using students enrolled in degree programs. The data was collected from the USA, China, and Chile using the “Women as Mangers Scale” (WAMS). The study leverages attitudinal dimensions of culture. Moreover, gender and country effects were identified at both multivariate and univariate levels in the empirical study. If China and Chile are to maintain economic growth levels in the future, Javalgi et al. argue that it will be necessary to have an increased participation of women in managerial positions. Thus, the attitude of male managers to their female counterparts has important implications for HR strategies in emerging markets. The study found that stereotypical perceptions of women as mangers exist between men and women in the USA (as a developed country benchmark), China and Chile. Both US and Chilean men had more positive perceptions of women as managers than Chinese men (and even women). This latter finding suggests that China has some way to go to enhance participation of women in the managerial cadre.
Our fifth paper by Abiodun Elijah Obayelu is a highly prescient study of the impact of rising food prices on food security and nutrition in the developing world. While the paper’s original empirical context preceded the current rises since 2010, the key issues that Obayelu addresses have returned dramatically today. The principal sources of data for this research was based on the evolution of food prices (2006-2008) alongside an analysis of public policy initiatives at both the national and international level over the same period. Obayelu carries out an analysis of winners and losers from this food price rise and unsurprisingly, low-income consumers in developing countries are the worst as well as small farmers who are unable to match scale of larger farming units. Winners have been large-scale producers who have switched from food production to bio-fuel production and market speculators who have hoarded supplies of food anticipating further price rises.
The implications for public policy faced with this problem are complex and may in the short exacerbate food shortages: policy will need to transcend food aid in the immediate term to promote stronger agricultural growth. Developed countries must take the difficult decision to further eliminate trade barriers in agricultural goods to help the transformation of the agricultural sectors in developing countries. More controversially, all bio-fuel subsidies and incentive programs should be revoked according to Obayelu. Last but not least, food security efforts should focus on cash voucher programs rather than traditional food aid programs. A tall order indeed but an issue that is becoming extremely important and increasing instability across the world.
Our final paper for this issue from John McManus is a viewpoint paper on the emerging Chinese software industry. Currently Chinese software companies suffer from high fragmentation and weak institutional frameworks (i.e. institutional voids) related in part to an underdeveloped intellectual property tradition. By comparison, the first mover advantage that the Indian software industry has gained will allow it to continue to stay ahead of the pack in the medium term and allow it to climb the “quality” and complexity ladder. China’s software industry main potential lies in the high market growth and the government’s explicit and strong support. It is worth noting that WTO obligations limit the scope of Chinese government support but a rapidly improving urban educational sector will feed into the success of the sector. Nevertheless, overcoming weaknesses in managerial and technical skills and gain a significant market share in the ever-enlarging global software market remains a daunting task.
Yusaf H. Akbar