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We welcome to the editorial board of Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal Professor Michael Baker, who is well-known to the world of marketing. He has followed a distinguished career in marketing academia with numerous publications, awards and prominent positions in his work with universities and other leading organisations in marketing in the UK and abroad. Students of marketing and market research will be familiar with his textbooks and with his Journal of Marketing Management too.
For the first time Qualitative Market Research has included an invited paper. In this issue the first paper is by Leo Paul Dana about "Change and circumstance in Kyrgyz markets". Though invited, this is also a refereed paper. Leo has extensive experience of Eastern Europe and has also worked in the USA and the Far East. He is now currently based in Singapore, at Nanyang Technological University, as the chairman of its Enterprise Development Centre (ENDEC). His paper is a vivid account of externally and internally induced changes in the passage of time on the internal lives of the Kyrgyzstan people and their markets. His paper highlights the problems involved in building market stability and conducting research because of changes in the political, economic and social climates in a predominantly agricultural society in the Kyrgyz Republic. Mainstream Western marketing theories and research methods are difficult to apply in this new republic with a low GDP. In these respects, Kyrgyzstan is not unusual from other developing countries that have experienced the transition from external control by a regional power to the achievement of independence and the corresponding internal problems wrought by political and economic change. As Leo has noted, how does one begin to conduct market research in a country with illiteracy problems and where the infrastructure does not support telephone communications for the masses? However, emerging markets are attractive to Western exporters as markets become saturated in the industrialised West. Suggestions are made for market researchers to take into account the specific cultural traits in Kyrgyz and to apply a positivist approach to research.
The problems of conducting research across cultures are also examined in the second paper by Susan McGorry from the USA. The underlying premise is that if health care providers want to provide services and to improve them for ethnic communities, it is important that cultural and linguistic diversities are taken into account. Methods of translation are examined and the discussion of the literature and practical survey work takes in the need to reduce the problems of inaccuracies and ambiguities in the languages of different cultures. The conduct and results of a survey with members of a Hispanic community are presented. The paper concludes with recommendations for qualitative researchers to avoid specific pitfalls in conducting linguistic surveys.
The theme of undertaking research with respondents from different cultures is continued in the third paper by Kenneth Hyde from New Zealand. He undertook a project into the decision-making processes of independent vacation travellers to explore how they would conceptualise and plan their itineraries prior to the taking of their vacations. Two contrasting models were provided: one for testing the evolving itinerary; and the other for testing the planned itinerary. The study sample was based on certain criteria, including that of independent travellers being first-time visitors to New Zealand. The thrust of the paper is that the adoption of deductive processes in research, a postpositivist approach, is important in achieving conviction in research findings. The methodology is a consideration of how a formal deductive procedure, that of pattern matching, could be applied.
A postmodern view of marketing is put forward in the fourth paper by Jillian Dawes and Reva Brown. This is a study of the literature which evolves from a discussion of changes in the global marketplace to the effects of the globalisation of products and services on consumer choice. There is a need to re-think the bases on which service providers set their research agendas to enhance "share of customer", IT-driven strategies and segmentation methods. The implications for financial services retailers in the UK are a predominant consideration in the paper. The essence of this paper is that postmodern conditions are prompting a re-evaluation of marketing strategies and methodologies.
These four papers are followed by the book reviews, Internet news and the practitioner perspectives sections which offer a stimulating diversity of reading.
Len Tiu WrightUniversity of Keele(e-mail: email@example.com)