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Multicultural marketplaces: new territory for international marketing and cross-cultural consumer research

Special issue call for papers from International Marketing Review

Guest Co-Editors: Catherine Demangeot, Amanda J. Broderick and C. Samuel Craig

Many marketplaces the world over host natives, residents and visitors from many nationalities and cultures. Breaking out of their own geographies, these marketplaces are becoming more like one another across national boundaries than like other, more homogeneous parts of the countries in which they are located. If one considers the market actors, the products, services and practices that are available, and the general consumption environments, Sydney, New York City, Cairo, London, Manchester, Moscow, Dubai, Shanghai, or Toronto have more in common with one another than with the more culturally homogeneous marketplaces within their geographical environment. Besides, many virtual marketplaces are ''born multicultural''. In a world where the top 100 cities account for close to 950 million inhabitants (Brinkhoff, 2012) and rising, these multicultural marketplaces have a large economic impact. Recent practitioner advice (Dobbs et al., 2012) recommends that companies focus their strategies, in emerging markets, on cities rather than countries or regions, citing the benefits of dis-aggregating marketplaces for strategic advantage.

Yet, the literature on international marketing and cross-cultural consumer research has for the most part assumed culturally homogeneous national or regional markets, focusing instead on comparisons and differences between cultures separated by borders. Such approaches have enabled marketers to sharpen their approach by tailoring strategies to the characteristics of particular markets, but they are insufficient to understand the phenomena that take place in multicultural marketplaces and identify the strategies best suited to these marketplaces. Similar concerns about a lack of conceptualisation of multicultural work – and business places have been raised in the management literature (e.g. McSweeney, 2009; Tung, 2008; Witte, 2012).

A stream of marketing literature has begun to consider the cultural and market transformations caused by the flows of people, ideas, media, finance and technologies (Appadurai, 1990) in such marketplaces, and their implications on firm behaviour. Several scholars (Briley, 2009; Cadogan et al., 2006; Craig and Douglas, 2006; Leung et al., 2005; Nakata, 2009; Yaprak, 2008) have called for more research in this area. Of particular note is the work by Samuel Craig and Susan Douglas in the pages of this journal (Craig and Douglas, 2006; Douglas and Craig, 2011), that called for closer consideration of the impact of contextual factors on consumption behaviour and research into the consequences of new cultural dynamics taking place in societies where the boundaries between cultures are becoming increasingly porous. The purpose of this special issue, in commemorating the pioneering work of Susan Douglas in international marketing, is to further establish a stream of literature that deals with the new consumption and marketing dynamics emerging in multicultural marketplaces.

Papers are invited from all research traditions that aim to enhance our conceptual understanding of the new 'territories' that are multicultural marketplaces. The following are suggested areas of particular interest; however they are not exhaustive.

Consumers, consumption behaviours: vulnerability, empowerment, aesthetics
- What new consumption practices are emerging in multicultural marketplaces?
- Multicultural marketplaces host widely different groups: monocultural natives of the marketplace, sojourners, immigrants (first or earlier generations), refugees, cosmopolitans, global nomads, tourists, international students etc. How do these groups negotiate and shape the multicultural arena?
- What new kinds of interactions are taking place between the consumers of different cultures or groups? What are implications for marketers and marketplace designers?
- Do consumers' life histories and reasons for being there constitute useful forms of segmentation?
- How do different groups of consumers deal with increasingly complex forms of marketplaces and products' cultural cues?
- What role do competences or assets such as multiculturalism, multilingualism, intercultural intelligence (Earley and Ang, 2003) play in consumers' reactions to multicultural marketplaces?
- Evolving in a multicultural marketplace can represent an aesthetic experience for those with the necessary competences and the desire to mingle in them; how do others deal with barriers to access, vulnerabilities and other obstacles present in these environments?
- How do differences in motivations among the different consumers of these marketplaces impact their competence and practices within the marketplaces?

Marketing practice and policy

- How can marketers best communicate with multiple cultures at once?
- Are some traditional forms of segmentation particularly problematic in multicultural arenas when they may suggest the discrimination or exclusion of residents of that marketplace?
- How can marketers be inclusive without diluting the cultural cueing of their offering?
- What are the difficulties faced by marketers who may not be international marketers in these multicultural arenas?
- What are the implications of increasingly multicultural marketplaces on frontline employees' ability to provide excellent service and to negotiate their own cultural identity?
- How can cultural authenticity as a positioning strategy be maintained or rediscovered in the midst of an increasing cultural hybridisation of products?
- How might multicultural or 'hybrid' (Cayla and Eckhardt, 2007) branding strategies be developed, and to what extent might they also succeed in more culturally homogeneous markets?
- What public policy interventions emerge as most pressing in the new multicultural arena?
- What methodological implications need particular attention when conducting research in such environments, in particular considering their innate heterogeneity?

Marketplace, environmental and economic dynamics

- How do macro environments and dominant cultural ideologies impact on the dynamics of these marketplaces?
- How are cultural economies (enclave, ethnic economies) developing within these marketplaces?
- What are the particular roles of networks within the multicultural marketplace?
- Within these multicultural arenas, what kinds of sub-marketplaces are emerging, that appeal to different types of consumers: traditional or ethnic marketplaces, global malls, new 'local markets' (farmers' markets), informal marketplaces (informal street selling, busking)?
- How to design inclusive marketplace environments?

All submissions will be reviewed in accordance with the reviewing process guidelines outlined in the Notes for Contributors on the International Marketing Review home page.

The contribution of the paper should be clearly stated in the structured abstract and should be in accordance with the special issue theme.

The closing date for submission is 31 January 2014.

Any queries should be sent to the Guest Co-Editors of the special issue at the following addresses:

Dr Catherine Demangeot: [email protected]
Professor Amanda Broderick: [email protected]
Professor C. Samuel Craig: [email protected]


Appadurai, A. (1990), ''Disjuncture and difference in the global cultural economy'', Theory, Culture and Society, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 295-310.
Briley, D.A. (2009), ''Cultural influence on consumer motivations: a dynamic view'', in Nakata, C. (Ed.), Beyond Hofstede: Culture Frameworks for Global Marketing and Management, Palgrave MacMillan, New York, NY, pp. 189-200.
Brinkhoff, T. (2012), ''The principal agglomerations of the world'', available at: (accessed 27 May 2012).
Cadogan, J.W., Cui, C.C., Morgan, R.E. and Story, V.M. (2006), ''Factors facilitating and impeding the development of export market- oriented behavior: a study of Hong Kong manufacturing exporters'', Industrial Marketing Management, Vol. 35 No. 5, pp. 634-47.
Cayla, J. and Eckhardt, G.M. (2007), ''Asian brands without borders: regional opportunities and challenges'', International Marketing Review, Vol. 24 No. 4, pp. 444-56.
Craig, C.S. and Douglas, S.P. (2006), ''Beyond national culture: implications of cultural dynamics for consumer research'', International Marketing Review, Vol. 23, p. 322.
Dobbs, R., Remes, J. and Schaer, F. (2012), ''Unlocking the potential of emerging-market cities'', available at: Unlocking_the_potential_of_emerging-market_cities_3015 (accessed 20 October 2012).
Douglas, S.P. and Craig, C.S. (2011), ''The role of context in assessing international marketing opportunities'', International Marketing Review, Vol. 28, pp. 150-62.
Earley, P.C. and Ang, S. (2003), Cultural Intelligence: Individual Interactions across Cultures, Stanford University Press, Palo Alto, CA.
Leung, K., Bhagat, R.S., Buchan, N.R., Erez, M. and Gibson, C.B. (2005), ''Culture and international business: recent advances and their implications for future research'', Journal of International Business Studies, Vol. 36, pp. 357-78.
McSweeney, B. (2009), ''Dynamic diversity: variety and variation within countries'', Organization Studies, Vol. 30, pp. 933-57.
Nakata, C. (2009), Beyond Hofstede: Culture Frameworks for Global Marketing and Management, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, NY.
Tung, R.L. (2008), ''The cross-cultural research imperative: the need to balance cross-national and intra-national diversity'', Journal of International Business Studies, Vol. 39, pp. 41-6.
Witte, A.E. (2012), ''Making the case for a postnational cultural analysis of organizations'', Journal of Management Inquiry, Vol. 21, pp. 141-59.
Yaprak, A. (2008), ''Culture study in international marketing: a critical review and suggestions for future research'', International Marketing Review, Vol. 25, No. 2, pp. 215-29.