How do managers understand the environment and how does it relate to the choice of a marketing practice?
thesisposted on 06.05.2011, 08:31 authored by Jaqueline Pels
This thesis investigates diversity of marketing practices across firms operating in the same market. It develops a novel conceptual framework, the Marketing Configurational Framework, and proposes a typology of Configurational Profiles of Marketing Practices. The literature review reveals a diversity of marketing practices. Mainstream marketing thinking adopts a contingency rationale to explain this plurality. However, several studies have contradicted the contingency hypothesis and invited further research to this issue. These observations form the background of the formulation of the central research question of this study. The thesis integrates theoretical insights from marketing, organisational theory and strategic management. The interdisciplinary approach allows identifying an alternative rationale for understanding diversity in marketing practices, the configurational approach. This perspective develops multivariate frameworks, adopts a holistic stance, proposes that key forces/imperatives form configurations and accepts diversity of configurational profiles in a given context. Diversity is limited by the coherency principle, i.e. only a few configurational profiles are viable. The literature review identifies three imperatives that interact to form viable configurational profiles of marketing practices. These are managers’ frame of reference, conceptualisation of the environment, and marketing practice. Each of the proposed configurational profile represents a different way of relating to the market. Two case studies are conducted adopting a mixed method approach. The findings from the case studies correspond with the conceptual framework and supply evidence of the existence of diverse, yet viable, configurational profiles in the same market. The value of this thesis is that the Marketing Configurational Framework and the Configurational Profiles of Marketing Practices accept diversity and suggest a rationale for understanding its occurrence. From the configurational perspective, the diversity of marketing practices is inter-related to the diversity found in the other two imperatives. Diversity is acknowledged, however, diverse marketing practices are viable only when they integrate a coherent configurational profile.