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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
This issue contains a spread of papers and special sections' contributions that bring to mind the breadth and richness of qualitative research. The healthy curiosity which researchers bring to their work, about consumers and organisations within particular market and industry sectors, is much in evidence. Contributors' expressed thoughts and findings about their topics also throw up further intriguing ideas about the contexts of research and networking.
Iain Black from Australia sets the scene when he looks at the Presentation of Interpretivist Research in the viewpoint article. He poses several questions about how we look at great masterpieces and how able we are in summing up their meanings that are immediately obvious to the eye or not. He discusses data that others have opened up to us so that we can also access them and learn from their meanings and conclusions. Examples are given from the art world and journal works. The author stretches the powers of his imagination for the benefit of intending authors by offering arguments against seemingly restrictive elements placed on authors' works in journal publications. Insights are offered on the use of the interpretive route.
Catherine Demangeot and Amanda Broderick from the UK present a lengthy paper on how experience matters to shoppers and marketers. Shopping cues and navigation in online environments create experiences which are compared to those offline. Various constructs, e.g. vividness, interactivity and browsing characteristics are considered relevant. When consumers have clear intentions to purchase online their particular motivations and expectations modify their specific shopping experiences. Therefore, consumer perceptions concerning experiential intensity of retail websites are considered. Interesting aspects are created, e.g. think-alouds in depth interviews and the attempts at conceptualizing the notion of experience creation in order to deliver consumer value. Four dimensions of experiential intensity are contrasted to four types of consumer perceptions. The study shows the experiential qualities of retail websites and consumer abilities at manipulation, their emotional sensitivities and their appreciation or otherwise of the intrinsic and aesthetic qualities of online offerings.
Moving from adults to juniors Kara Chan from Hong Kong in the second paper explores children's perceptions in the second paper. Her study used a sample of 42 children. Acquisitiveness in children is continually facilitated by advertisements and direct marketing ploys in the mass media and the internet. The consumer culture is encouraging children to part with their money and in particular, to follow brands and thereby, pay more for them. Not surprisingly, this has attracted media attention too and added to the concerns of social policy makers in government and education. Kara's paper attempts to answer questions about children's orientations to being researched and their attitudes to material possessions with their social meanings and symbolic significance. There is evidence that young children appreciate the value of possessions based on emotional attachment, personality association and social meaning.
Jaruwan Daengbuppha, Nigel Hemmington and Keith Wilkes use a different qualitative approach in the third paper. They suggest that the grounded theory approach is a valuable tool in exploring the value of visitors' experiences to heritage sites with implications for future research for understanding consumer behaviour. This is a paper that has a practical side to it. Visitor expectations, interactions and interpretations are analysed with a methodological approach. The methodology, findings and implications hold practical value for managers seeking to increase visitor numbers and their participation in supporting heritage sites.
The fourth paper by Nitha Palakshappa and Mary Ellen Gordon describes a new approach to studying collaborative business relationships. They suggest that the overall performance of collaborative business relationships is not improving in spite of extensive previous research in published works. The authors use a multi-method approach to uncover the factors that influence performance and show keenness in combining narratives, structured questionnaires and perceptual mapping within a case-based approach. Their findings show that their particular mix of methods has value in discovering insights that would not have emerged from more commonly used methodologies.
The fifth and final paper by Eric Lau explores the reasons why consumers indulge in software piracy. Using a qualitative approach Eric probes his respondents individually to study their attitudes and motivations to engage in software piracy. Marketing and situational variables are analysed. From the content analysis he suggests that “price” is a key variable. Respondents found the cost of original software as prohibitive enough to favour purchasing illegally copied software. The issue of morality is also discussed, though it appears that while this is a consideration it is not enough to deter those prepared to support software piracy in return for short-term benefits.
This normal issue ends with three special sections. The first one in the Practitioner Perspectives' Section features Andy Barker's account laced with good humour in his descriptions about the orientations of the academic and the market researcher, the consumer and prosumer, those who purport to support postmodernism and critical marketing. At times, there appears an element of cynicism in the implicit contrasts between the realities of those in practical research with the expectations of others who write about research. Following this, the Internet section contains two pieces. Rehan ul-Haq in the first piece writes about social networking that brings people of similar work interests together. Academici has a web site featuring many academics with an interest in facilitating academic and practitioner networking too. My reflections of the internet and world wide web importance are highlighted in conference activities and their proceedings in the second part. The Book review section is by Paul Henry. He analyses Eamonn Kelly's book about rising to the challenges of our uncertain world with elements of crystal ball gazing to try to predict future trends and consequences. Pre-empting changes is seen as important to inform strategy development and better business planning. This brings to my mind the phrase “to be forewarned is to be forearmed”.
I end with thanks to all the contributors and a word of appreciation to the members of this Journal's Editorial Board in conducting the reviews for this issue and in helping to make this a successful journal.
Len Tiu Wright