روش استاندارد سازی در مقابل روش انطباقی در استراتژی بین المللی بازاریابی: ارزیابی کامل تحقیقات تجربی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|9769||2003||31 صفحه PDF||31 صفحه WORD|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Business Review, Volume 12, Issue 2, April 2003, Pages 141–171
Despite 40 years of debate on international marketing strategy standardization vs adaptation, extant empirical research is too fragmented to yield clear insights. Based on an integrative analysis of 36 studies centering around strategy standardization/adaptation, its antecedents, and performance outcomes, this stream of research was found to be characterized by non-significant, contradictory, and, to some extent, confusing findings attributable to inappropriate conceptualizations, inadequate research designs, and weak analytical techniques. The central conclusion that stems from this analysis is that the decision whether to standardize or adapt the marketing strategy to achieve superior business performance will largely depend on the set of circumstances that a firm is confronted by within a particular foreign market at a specific period of time.
Recent decades have witnessed a dramatic globalization of the international business scene due to: increasing liberalization of trade policies; growing stability in monetary transactions; creation of regional economic integrations; uninterrupted flow of goods due to relatively peaceful world conditions; and revolutionary advances in transportation, communication, and information technologies (Czinkota & Ronkainen, 2001; Keegan, 1999). All these factors have led to the rise of fierce competition, with the participation of a wide array of firms of different size, industry, and national origin (Craig & Douglas, 1996). As a result, issues relating to the design of sound international marketing strategies to compete effectively and efficiently in this new business environment have been the focus of a sizeable stream of research. This has particularly concentrated on whether firms, irrespective of the foreign market entry mode chosen, should standardize or adapt their marketing strategy in overseas markets. Proponents of the standardization approach view the globalization trends in the world as the driving force behind greater market similarity, more technological uniformity, and higher convergence of consumer needs, tastes, and preferences (Levitt, 1983; Ohmae, 1985). They also claim that standardization is further facilitated by the growth of international communication channels, the emergence of global market segments, and the appearance of the Internet. They posit that such a strategy can offer a number of benefits: (a) significant economies of scale in all value-adding activities, particularly in research and development, production, and marketing; (b) the presentation of a consistent corporate/brand image across countries, especially in light of the increasing consumer mobility around the world; and (c) reduced managerial complexity due to better coordination and control of international operations (Levitt, 1983; Douglas and Craig, 1986; Yip, Loewe, & Yoshino, 1988). Advocates of the adaptation approach argue that, despite increasing globalization tendencies, variations between countries in such dimensions as consumer needs, use conditions, purchasing power, commercial infrastructure, culture and traditions, laws and regulations, and technological development are still too great, thus necessitating the adjustment of the firm’s marketing strategy to the idiosyncratic circumstances of each foreign market (Terpstra & Sarathy, 2000). In particular, they criticize strategy standardization as a new kind of marketing myopia, representing an oversimplification of reality, and contradicting the marketing concept (Boddewyn, Soehl, & Picard, 1986; Wind, 1986; Douglas & Wind, 1987). They also stress the fact that the ultimate objective of the firm is not cost reduction through standardization, but long-term profitability through higher sales accrued from a better exploitation of the different consumer needs across countries (Onkvisit & Shaw, 1990; Rosen, 1990; Whitelock & Pimblett, 1997). To overcome the above polarization, a third group of researchers offers a contingency perspective on the standardization/adaptation debate. In their view: (a) standardization or adaptation should not be seen in isolation from each other, but as the two ends of the same continuum, where the degree of the firm’s marketing strategy standardization/adaptation can range between them; (b) the decision to standardize or adapt the marketing strategy is situation specific, and this should be the outcome of thorough analysis and assessment of the relevant contingency factors prevailing in a specific market at a specific time; and (c) the appropriateness of the selected level of strategy standardization/adaptation should be evaluated on the basis of its impact on company performance in international markets (Quelch & Hoff, 1986; Onkvisit & Shaw, 1987; Jain, 1989; Cavusgil & Zou, 1994). Hence, the challenge for the international firm is to determine which specific strategy elements are feasible or desirable to standardize or adapt, under what conditions, and to what degree. This fierce debate on the subject has attracted the attention of many researchers, who have contributed a plethora of empirical writings. Although challenging, this stream of research is: (a) fragmented, consisting of numerous studies, each adopting its own conceptual method, methodological design, and analytical technique; (b) repetitive, researching in many cases the same issues, without extending the work of other researchers in the field; (c) diverse, examining different aspects of marketing strategy adaptation/standardization, as well as its antecedents and outcomes; and (d) inconsistent, yielding different, and sometimes contradicting, results as to which strategic approach is more appropriate. Consequently, there is a need to consolidate this piece of research and reach conclusions that would facilitate theory development. The aim of this study is to satisfy this need, by providing an integrative analysis of extant empirical knowledge on international marketing adaptation versus standardization. It aims to review, assimilate, and evaluate empirical research on the content and interactions of the components of a simplified model on international marketing strategy standardization/ adaptation (Jain, 1989; Cavusgil & Zou, 1994) (see Fig. 1). Specifically, the emphasis is on: (a) antecedent factors, that is, contingency variables that affect the decision to standardize or adapt the firm’s marketing strategy in a specific foreign market; (b) strategy variables, that is, the specific elements of the marketing mix program, where the degree of standardization or adaptation must be determined; and (c) performance outcomes, that is, the impact of international marketing strategy standardization/adaptation on the company’s performance in overseas markets. The remainder of the article is organized into six sections: first, the method employed to select the pertinent empirical studies is explained, and their methodological profile is presented; second, the antecedent forces of international marketing strategy are identified and their significance is established; third, each strategy variable is analyzed and its degree of standardization/adaptation is determined; fourth, the nature of the international business performance measures used is explained, as well as their link with strategy variables; fifth, certain conclusions are extracted from the findings of the study; and, finally, some guidelines for future research on the subject are provided.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Despite decades of fierce debate around the marketing strategy standardization versus adaptation issue, the present review reveals that empirical research on this topic is still at an early stage of development. Although compared to earlier studies, which were largely exploratory in nature, significant progress has been made in the last decade by using more robust methods of investigation, there is a long way to go before a concrete theory on the subject can be built. Our review has amply demonstrated that research on the subject is characterized by the adoption of inappropriate conceptualizations, inadequate research designs, and weak analytical techniques, that were largely responsible for the generation of non-significant, contradictory, and, to some extent, confusing findings. Hence, the underlying question concerning which strategic option, standardization or adaptation, is the most suitable for the international firm remains an essentially unresolved and inconclusive issue. Although at times many antecedent factors were put forward as affecting marketing strategy standardization/adaptation, only a few of these exhibited a systematically significant impact. Moreover, there was a tendency among researchers to investigate only a few of these background parameters, and in relation to certain aspects of the marketing strategy, thus providing only a partial understanding of their interactions. Furthermore, most studies used unidimensional conceptualizations of the antecedent factors, and examined their influence on the degree of standardization/adaptation independently from each other. Most importantly, only a few studies attempted to check the concurrent effect of these factors in the selection of the best strategic alternative (either standardization or adaptation), that would lead to superior foreign business performance. With regard to the degree of standardization/adaptation of the marketing strategy, some general inferences can be made: (a) of the elements of the marketing mix, the standardization/adaptation of product- and promotion-related issues attracted most research attention, as opposed to pricing and distribution, which were less investigated; (b) most studies examined a few components of the marketing mix only, thus ignoring potential interrelationships in standardizing/adapting them; (c) the degree of standardization/adaptation was in most cases examined at a very generic level, failing to investigate the finer dimensions of each component separately; (d) productrelated elements tended to be more standardized compared to other marketing mix parameters, while distribution has undergone the greatest adaptation; and (e) on average, the degree of marketing strategy adaptation was moderate, denoting a “middleof- the-road” attempt to reap the benefits of both standardization and adaptation. Empirical evidence on the association between international marketing strategy standardization/adaptation and foreign business performance was very scarce, with most research emphasis placed on the product and promotion, rather than on pricing and distribution. The fact that the great majority of the associations examined yielded non-significant results suggests, prima facie, that the firm’s performance in foreign markets is indifferent to the particular strategic alternative pursued. However, a more thorough analysis implies that what leads to superior performance is not the adoption of marketing strategy standardization or adaptation, but the achievement of an appropriate “coalignment” or “fit” between international marketing strategy and the context in which this strategy is implemented, whether this is environmental, organizational, or managerial (Cavusgil & Zou, 1994). Hence, international marketing strategy (whether standardized or adapted) will lead to superior performance only to the extent that it properly matches the unique set of circumstances that the firm is confronted by within a particular overseas market.