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Article Type: Editorial From: Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, Volume 14, Issue 4
Qualitative research in its rich and varied forms is highly pertinent in uncovering underlying issues of concerns. This issue brings together discussions about consumer and organisational approaches to qualitative literature and research with reflections on their contributions.
The electronic medium has become highly important for sharing information in the marketplace with many diverse outcomes arising from it to offer fruitful opportunities for study. The first paper is by Kelley O’Reilly and Sherry Marx. They evaluate the extent of informed opinion and credibility regarding young and technically minded internet consumers and their online word of mouth credibility. Growth of electronic word of mouth allows marketers to gauge feedback on organisational offerings. A pertinent case is made for adopting a suggested conceptual framework with relevant implications for managers in this first paper.
A different qualitative online technique applying a netnographic research design including web diaries with consumers is presented in the second paper by Hanna Leipämaa-Leskinen. This specifically examines the contexts of the relevance of social interactions for consumers and how personal and cultural meanings of body and identity are constructed when dieting. As a qualitative research paper it adds to the debate about the role of dieting in cultural consumption studies. The paper adds to previous cultural research on consumption and the literature about the role of the body in consumer identity construction.
Moving from the personal to the organisational context, the third paper by Per Skålén focuses on service marketing practices and control. To understand these contexts, the author argues that practice theory to inform strategic management research is aided by considering the influences of and the limitations on service marketing in firms. The paper adopts a practice perspective about how marketing is accomplished and implemented, while allowing for predictable generalizations about service marketing control as practice.
Considerations of trust in supply chains form the focus for the study in the fourth paper by Hamida Skandrani, Abdelfattah Triki and Boudour Baratli. They examine the meanings and determinants in their qualitative study in Tunisia as an illustration of an emerging market. The paper based on in-depth interviews with chief executive officers and marketing managers of firms from various industry sectors found that trust could evolve through four building processes and various manifestations where assistance and psychological security matters underpin main manifestations of trust. The paper clearly establishes the concept of trust and the bases for such trust within firms.
The fifth paper is in the USA setting and provides a different approach to studying organisational and personal concerns with rural retailers. Vanessa P. Jackson and Leslie Stoel examine strategies for decoupling and recoupling, while arguing the case for the survival of rural retailers. Conflicting demands of social norms and business performance standards exist, but are not always easy for such retailers to deal with in order to achieve growth and success. The paper makes a contribution to understanding the demands exerted on rural retailers and their struggles for survival.
This issue ends with a “Practitioner perspectives” article from Sheila Keegan written by Alan Branthwaite and Simon Patterson on qualitative research in the era of social media. It poses research questions and gives an insightful contribution to uphold the validity and status of qualitative research, its techniques, its value for businesses and their brands. Given the potential of various social media provisions and their dynamics with consumers, it is important that marketing objectives could address effectively perceptions, motives and complex consumer relationships with brands and social media networks.
Finally, thanks go to all for their important contributions to qualitative research and to this issue.
Len Tiu Wright