Culture and marketing in emerging market economies


Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 1 August 2008



DeBerry-Spence, B. and Dadzie, K.Q. (2008), "Culture and marketing in emerging market economies", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 23 No. 6.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Culture and marketing in emerging market economies

Article Type: Guest editorial From: Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Volume 23, Issue 6

About the Guest Editors

Benét DeBerry-Spence is an Assistant Professor of Marketing in the Liautaud Graduate School of Business at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research interests are in retailing, cross-cultural consumption and global product transculturation and her work appears in such publications as the Journal of Retailing, the Journal of Consumer Research and the Journal of Consumer Psychology. Currently she is involved with several transformative research initiatives that focus on African and African Diaspora consumers.Kofi Q. Dadzie teaches logistics and marketing courses at the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University. His research interests include logistics and marketing issues in emerging markets in Africa and his publications include numerous articles in logistics and marketing journals. He has also conducted a workshop on logistics/supply chain management for the World Bank Malaria Control Project and similar workshops in Cote d’Ivoire under grants from the USA and Ivorian government agencies.

Globalization is perhaps the most frequently used term when discussing today’s businesses and markets. We are witness to a plethora of foreign products and services being circulated and consumed by everyday people at an ever-increasing rate. This continuous movement of people, places and products makes transnationalism, global and transcultural, common terms used to depict marketplaces and market phenomena. Intrinsically woven into these global economies is culture, which over the past two decades has come to be recognized as an essential component to understanding consumers and the societies in which they operate. Culture is not limited to business-to-consumer inquiries (B2C), however, but clearly has important implications in business-to-business (B2B) matters. To this end, our intent with this special issue was to explore a wide range of issues that deal with marketing and culture, giving special attention to those dealing with the convergence of culture and globalization in new and emerging markets. Given the breadth of research currently being conducted in this area we approached our objective with an open mind to including papers that reflect the diversity of inquires, both B2B and B2C.

We begin the series with a paper that touches home for many of you reading this special issue; that is, marketing scholars deeply rooted within the academy whose work and livelihood find them intimately linked with some permanence to the emerging markets they study. DeBerry-Spence contends the marketing field is now witness to the emergence of what are termed “third space” scholars; that is, marketing academics in pursuit of theoretical knowledge in ways that also involve the pursuit of pragmatic problems of the consumers and businesses they research. Her discussion of how such a perspective might impact aspects of research identity, research context and research methods opens up an interesting dialogue for the remaining papers which look at the implications of culture on both marketing theory and practice.

Darley and Blankson investigate the elements of African culture that should be emphasized by global companies operating in African business markets. Their analysis reveals that certain dimensions of African culture are more salient in business markets than others and that they do not carry equal weight when considered in the context of organizational behavior, buyer-seller interactions, collaborative partnerships and negotiations. This paper provides a point of entry for the article by Salmi and Sharafutdinova which examines the interplay of old and new cultural influences and its affect on Russian customers. Their study demonstrates that general features characterizing Russian culture affect customer preference for product designs and suggests that designers may play an important role in global B2B relations.

Our next set of articles in the series focus on entrepreneurial and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The first paper by Saffu, Walker and Hinson, explores the role and value of e-commerce to SMEs in Ghana, West Africa. The authors present a model explicating the influence various determinants of perceived strategic value have on e-commerce adoption within this business population and provide insight into general perceptions about e-commerce in transitional economies. This work is followed with an article by Chelariu, Brashear, Osmonbekov and Zait, which seeks to develop a cultural framework to study entrepreneurial disposition in emergent economies. Using two studies involving Romanian business students and salespeople, they show the impact of societal institutions on entrepreneurial propensity, both at the individual (micro-cultural) and organizational (meso-cultural) levels. The article by McKinley-Floyd and Shrestha provide a strategic framework for non-profit organizations seeking to increase charitable giving in the emerging Black American philanthropy market segment.

We conclude with our last article on cultural-related influences on business-to-consumer marketing practices in an emerging economy by Ferguson, Dadzie and Johnston. Their article provides both a theoretical and empirical analysis of how cultural-related influences of ethnocentrism, country-of-origin effects and collectivism, impact purchase intent for a service such as US university education in emerging African markets. Based on extensive qualitative studies of major stakeholders in the five West African nations of Burkina-Faso, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, and Mali, the authors demonstrate that a service of US origin is subject to different reactions among parents, employers, students and professors. The marketing strategy implications drawn are based on the results of conjoint analysis in Ghana and the Côte d’Ivoire

Taken together, we believe the materials covered in this issue are both interesting and thought-provoking. Our objective was to contribute to the growing and much needed body of knowledge about marketing and culture in emerging markets. We thank all of the contributors and reviewers for their part in accomplishing this goal.


  • Elif Izberk Bilgin, University of Michigan, Dearborn.

  • Charles Blankson, University of North Texas.

  • Sammy Bonsu, York University.

  • Cristian Chelariu, Suffolk University.

  • Willian K. Darley, Millersville University.

  • Naveen Donthu, Georgia State University.

  • Allan Mullengani, University of Northampton.

  • Asta Salmi, Helsinki School of Economics.

Benét DeBerry-Spence , Kofi Q. Dadzie

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