Measurement and Research Methods in International Marketing: Volume 22


Table of contents

(17 chapters)

“Garbage in, garbage out” is a common expression that academics and practitioners use to emphasize that empirical analysis is only as good as the basis on which it relies. Although the importance of sound data and valid measures has long been acknowledged, it is nevertheless often problematic to follow required quality standards in concrete research situations. Potential sources of error are usually unknown, methods to ensure data quality are unavailable, and existing methods for scale development, index construction, data collection, and data analysis are insufficient or erroneously applied. This is especially true of international marketing research, which often makes great demands on the data and measures used, as well as on the research methodology applied. Against this background, this volume addresses issues pertaining to measurement and research methodology in an international marketing context. Thanks to the efforts of authors and reviewers, we are pleased to present nine articles that deal with cutting-edge topics such as formative measurement, response-bias in cross-cultural research, marketing efficiency measurement, and segmentation methods.

Purpose – Despite the increasing use of formative measurement models in literature, little is known about potential consequences for substantive theory testing. Against this background, the aims of this chapter are (1) to highlight some problems that may arise when formative instead of reflective measures are used to test even simple theoretical models with covarianced-based methodologies, (2) to illustrate some approaches that might help overcome these problems, (3) to pinpoint potential interpretation difficulties of the results involving re-specified measurement models, and (4) to stimulate discussion on the implications for theory development when models are tested with formative measures.

Methodology/approach – Potential consequences of formative measurement models for theory testing are highlighted using an empirical study on consumer animosity as an illustrative example and applying covarianced-based structural equations modeling procedures for estimation purposes.

Findings – The empirical study shows (a) that some scaling options for the (composite) latent variable result in non-convergence problems, (b) that, assuming convergence, parameter estimates, standard errors, and significance levels vary depending on the scaling method used, and (c) that goodness-of-fit statistics cannot be used as diagnostic measures for the appropriateness of divergent results.

Originality/value of paper – The contribution of this chapter is two-fold: First, it shows that to enable estimation, it is often necessary to modify (i.e., expand) the original theoretical model in a conceptually reasonable manner and to do so before data collection. Second, it demonstrates that alternative scaling options for composite latent variables may result in inconsistent substantive conclusions. Consequently, the impact of formative measurement on theory testing is a critical topic and needs to receive further attention in future literature.

Purpose – Cultural distance (CD) reflects differences in cultural values across countries. Many studies have used CD to explain strategies and outcomes in international business practices, although often with limited success. This chapter demonstrates previously unrecognized problems with the conceptualization, analysis, and interpretation of CD measures and suggests methods for improvements in CD research.

Design/methodology/approach – Problems with traditional methods in CD research are demonstrated analytically and illustrated with correlation and regression analyses of secondary data. One analysis shows that individual cultural dimensions may provide alternative explanations for hypothesized effects of distance. Two other examples illustrate the incorrect conclusions that traditional analysis approaches may suggest.

Findings – The difference scores that are implicit in measures of CD usually imply unrealistic constraints on relationships between variables. Analyzing CD at the level of organizations rather than countries exaggerates the available sample size and may result in inaccurate statistical tests.

Research limitations/implications – The empirical examples illustrate problems with methodology for CD research. They are not proposed as substantive, generalizable tests of hypotheses.

Originality/value of the chapter – This chapter provides original arguments to augment existing criticisms of CD research. It shows that findings from extant CD studies may not support the conclusions that have been reported in the literature. Future research should use methods that lead to correct interpretations of CD effects.

Purpose – A major limitation in cross-cultural research continues to be attempts to compare construct measurements across cultures without adequate conceptual and empirical evidence of the equivalency of the measurement scores. Of significant concern in such studies is the presence of various types of response bias that may systematically differ from one culture to another, resulting in a potential violation of the assumption that measurement scores across cultures are equivalent. The focus of this study is to investigate the role of the response format type, extreme response style (ERS). Most studies have investigated response bias styles using Likert-type scales as response formats, yet it has long been argued that these particular formats tend to result in various types of response style bias, especially in cross-cultural research. Would other scaling devices, such as semantic differential (SD), lessen response style bias in pan-cultural studies? To answer this question, our study employs two types of response formats (i.e., Liker-type and SD) to empirically test for the presence of ERS within each response format style.

Methodology/approach – This chapter takes the form of empirical research using ERS indices to test for the degree of ERS between response formats using samples from a collectivistic culture (i.e., South Korea) and an individualistic culture (i.e., United States).

Findings – Results show that samples from both cultures exhibit greater levels of ERS when using Likert-type scales compared to SD scales. Additionally, this study finds that, when using Likert-type scales, ERS is greater for U.S. respondents than for South Korea respondents. Finally, results show that there is no statistically significant difference in ERS between the two cultural groups when using SD response formats.

Research implications – Findings show that the use of SD response formats eliminates systematic differences in ERS between a collectivist sample and an individualist sample. Therefore, the use of such response formats in future cross-cultural research can greatly diminish the problematic effects of culturally based ERS and lead to greater confidence in the equivalency of measurement scores across cultures.

Originality/value of paper – This study is the first to simultaneously assess culturally based ERS using two types of response formats to investigate the impact of response format on ERS. Furthermore, this study assesses the role of response format on ERS both within and between two distinctly different cultures.

Purpose – This chapter presents a framework useful in conducting multicountry marketing and advertising research. For the purpose of illustrating the series of steps involved in conducting such investigations, a six-country study examining global consumer culture positioning (GCCP) is presented. The suggested steps are relevant for the exploration of a wide variety of marketing- and advertising-related topics.

Methodology/approach – Steps essential to a well-planned research design are addressed in detail, including: theory identification, stimuli selection, hypotheses formulation, measurement development, country selection, fictitious ad development, survey design, cross-national data equivalence, and hypotheses testing. Particular attention is given to construct specification (in this case for soft-sell and hard-sell advertising appeals) and fictitious ad development. General consumers in six countries responded to the ads. Specific procedures for validating formative constructs and testing their cross-country equivalency are suggested.

Findings – The chapter provides practical recommendations for conducting cross-cultural research. These recommendations are likely to prove useful to both researchers conducting multicountry investigations, and to instructors teaching graduate-level courses in international marketing and advertising research.

Originality/value of paper – Multicountry research requires a series of challenging decisions. Although a well-planned research design is particularly essential in a cross-cultural setting, little attention has been given in providing researchers and instructors with methodological recommendations. This chapter is intended to be a useful reference for these audiences.

Purpose – This chapter explores the basic characteristics of stochastic frontier estimation, discusses advantages of the method that make it conducive to research in international marketing, and provides an application to demonstrate its use. Potential applications in international marketing research are also discussed.

Methodology – Stochastic Frontier Estimation.

Findings – Stochastic frontier estimation models, prevalent in other fields, are very limited in the international marketing literature. Many potential opportunities exist for its use in the context of international marketing.

Originality/value of paper – The intent of this chapter is to show that stochastic frontier estimation is a potentially valuable tool for international marketing research. We show this by demonstrating the use of the tool and by providing examples of potential research studies.

Purpose – Marketers are under increasing pressure to demonstrate the financial return associated with marketing expenditures. Concurrently, more attempts at measuring return on investment from marketing as well as achieving other long-term goals such as building brand equity and increasing shareholder value have been made. As a result of this emphasis, the degree to which advertising budgets are spent efficiently and the impact of these expenditures on the bottom line are an important topic to study.

Methodology/approach – This study applies data envelopment analysis (DEA) to a group of large firms to assess the degree to which companies spend advertising dollars efficiently and to examine the impact of advertising efficiency on investor behavior and, ultimately, stock prices.

Findings – The analysis reveals that firms that advertise more efficiently are rewarded by investors by positive stock returns.

Research limitations/implications (if applicable) – The study is limited to large enterprises with strong brands within a time frame of only four years.

Practical implications (if applicable) – The results imply that it is advisable for marketing managers not to limit their focus to increasing market-based assets at any cost. The efficiency of their efforts can send a positive signal to investors and contribute to shareholder value enhancement.

Originality/value of the chapter – The chapter finds investors to pay attention not only to the effectiveness of advertising activities but also to their efficiency. The study also demonstrates how DEA and stock return response modeling can be combined to investigate the link between advertising efficiency and investor behavior.

Purpose – A considerable body of literature has evolved on the topic of appropriate research methodology for cross-national data collection. Additionally, prior commentaries on cross-national research in the marketing have cited significant deficiencies in this body of research in terms of the theoretical foundations, methods, and analytical techniques used. The purpose of this chapter is to summarize guidelines for conducting cross-national research in marketing and assess the degree to which these rules are being followed.

Design/methodology/approach – The literature on cross-national research methods in marketing studies is first reviewed to identify key issues and methodological guidelines. A content analysis of cross-national studies appearing in 10 major journals in the marketing and advertising field for the period from 2005 to 2010 is conducted to assess whether the guidelines for researchers are being followed. The chapter also explores whether recent research is addressing key deficiencies identified by prior commentaries on this body of research.

Findings –Results are indicative of some promising trends. A wider range of theory bases, methodological techniques, and analytical techniques are being used in cross-national marketing studies. Additionally, methodological guidelines for conceptualizing studies, including following appropriate procedures to ensure equivalence and verifying the existence of cultural differences, are being followed at a higher rate than in the past. Still, some studies do not follow accepted guidelines, and there is a need for a wider range of theory bases and methods to be used.

Research limitations/implications – The study examines only cross-national studies published in 10 journals over a recent six years (2005–2010). As a result, no direct comparison to earlier periods is made.

Originality/value of paper – This chapter outlines key guidelines for conducting cross-national studies in marketing. It also calls attention to the need to follow these guidelines based on the trend toward a majority of studies complying with them. Finally, the chapter calls attention to the need for certain theory bases and methods to be used more frequently.

Purpose – Revisiting Fornell et al.'s (1996) seminal study, this chapter looks at the evidence for observed and unobserved heterogeneity within data underlying the American customer satisfaction index (ACSI) model. Examining data for two specific industries (utilities and hotels) reveals only modest differences. However, we suppose that unobserved heterogeneity critically affects the results. These insights provide the basis for shaping further differentiated ACSI model analyses and more precise interpretations.

Methodology/approach – This study applies the partial least squares (PLS) path modeling method and uses empirical data to estimate and compare the ACSI model results on the aggregate and industry-specific data levels. In addition, the finite mixture PLS path modeling (FIMIX-PLS) method is employed to further examine across industry similarities and within industry differences.

Findings – This research uncovers unobserved heterogeneity that guides forming three segments of customers within each industry. The major segment in each industry represents customers that are fairly loyal (i.e., neither disloyal nor extremely loyal) while the other two smaller segments are not as similar across the two industries. Our study identifies substantial differences across these segments within each industry. An importance-performance map analysis illustrates these differences and provides the basis for managerial implications.

Originality/value of the chapter – The unobserved heterogeneity revealed within industries in a given country (i.e., the United States of America) underlines the need to be open to differences within populations, beyond the observed heterogeneity across distinct groups or cultures, and the need to reconsider reporting requirements in academic research.

Purpose – Partial least squares (PLS) path modeling has become a pivotal empirical research method in international marketing. Owing to group comparisons' important role in research on international marketing, we provide researchers with recommendations on how to conduct multigroup analyses in PLS path modeling.

Methodology/approach – We review available multigroup analysis methods in PLS path modeling and introduce a novel confidence set approach. A characterization of each method's strengths and limitations and a comparison of their outcomes by means of an empirical example extend the existing knowledge of multigroup analysis methods. Moreover, we provide an omnibus test of group differences (OTG), which allows testing the differences across more than two groups.

Findings – The empirical comparison results suggest that Keil et al.'s (2000) parametric approach can generally be considered more liberal in terms of rendering a certain difference significant. Conversely, the novel confidence set approach and Henseler's (2007) approach are more conservative.

Originality/value of paper – This study is the first to deliver an in-depth analysis and a comparison of the available procedures with which to statistically assess differences between group-specific parameters in PLS path modeling. Moreover, we offer two important methodological extensions of existing research (i.e., the confidence set approach and OTG). This contribution is particularly valuable for international marketing researchers, as it offers recommendations regarding empirical applications and paves the way for future research studies aimed at comparing the approaches' properties on the basis of simulated data.

Many thanks to Professors Marko Sarstedt, Manfred Schwaiger, and Charles R. Taylor, Volume 22 has assembled a set of outstanding articles addressing the methodological issues in international marketing research. Readers should find these articles informative and valuable. In addition to these articles on the special topic of international marketing research methods, a regular article is included in Volume 22. Advances in International Marketing encourages innovative research and “out-of-the-box” research ideas in international marketing. In future volumes, it will continue to promote special topic-based volumes, while also publishing “regular” papers that are reviewed outside of the themed volumes. The regular papers must show innovative research that addresses any significant issues in international marketing and should be submitted to the Series Editor.

The purpose of this investigation is to examine the explanatory powers of a consumer complicity framework that uses counterfeit products and five emerging country markets (Brazil, Russia, India, and China). A web survey was administered to 1,600 consumers in Brazil, Russia, India, and China to test whether demographics, national origin, perceived quality, price, and a hedonic shopping environment predicted consumers' complicity in these emerging markets. Overall, the results found little support for either demographics or national origin to predict this type of illicit consumption. The best predictive variables were perceived quality, price, and hedonic shopping experience. The study concludes with a model that incorporates these results and suggests that future research employ demarketing tactics using both cognitive dissonance and expected utility theories to obtain a more holistic view for curbing complicity that goes beyond product attributes and the shopping environment.

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Advances in International Marketing
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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