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International marketing relationships : an alternative view

Williams, Lesley E.
Fields of Research
This study began with the observation that international marketing research (IMR) lacked a human face. A literature search confirmed this view. The review was thus widened to include international marketing (IM) studies of culture, cognition, and communication, since they were thought to underpin all human interactions. This step, it was believed, would help clarify marketing scholars' understanding of these encounters. Analysis established that not only were there few studies in these areas, but they also focused on dyads, prediction, and control. To establish how this research had evolved in this way and how it could best be extended, an exploration of how knowledge is created followed. This culminated in my understanding that the culture in mainstream marketing circles was responsible for the lack of development of IM relationship research. A decision was therefore made to study this area from an alternative perspective to the positivist approach typically adopted. An interpretive study of small business in a developing country and their overseas buyer was undertaken to that end. In total, more than eleven months fieldwork was conducted in Indonesia. The resulting interpretation was compared to the existing IM relationship research. The literature was then again extended to examine non-marketing studies that may help explain field findings that could not be explained by existing IMR. It was suggested that IM scholars needed to question whether the values and assumptions underlying their research, are appropriate in a global context.