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Handbook of Research in International Marketing

Edited by Subhash C. Jain

Presenting the challenges and opportunities ahead, the contributors to this volume critically examine the current status and future direction of research in international marketing. The result of a sustained and lively dialogue among contributors from a variety of cultures, this volume gathers their perspectives and many insights on the revitalization of the field.
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Chapter 15: International Advertising Research: Standardization/Adaptation and the Future

John K. Ryans and David A. Griffith


John K. Ryans, Jr and David A. Griffith INTRODUCTION Theoretical advancement necessitates strong theories and frameworks, as well as gestalt shifts in paradigmatic perspectives (Anderson 1983; Hunt 1983). Foundational to the advancement of scientific thought is an underlying theoretical grounding, e.g. systematic related statements, including law-like generalizations that are empirically testable, derived from laws or principles that serve as a basis for prediction, decision and action (Bartels 1951; Hunt 1971). In a critical evaluation of international business research, Sullivan (1998) states that there is a tendency to build consensus through iterative replication or trivial refinement that precludes genuine shifts in intellectual direction. From a theoretical standpoint, Sullivan’s (1998) criticism is no more evident than in the field of international advertising research, specifically related to the study of standardization and adaptation. For nearly eight decades, international advertising standardization has been the central focus of academics and practitioners (Agarwal 1995). Most notably, in the last 40 years, a tremendous growth in academic conjecture and research has focused on this topic (e.g. Levitt 1983; Boddewyn, Soehl and Picard 1986; Baalbaki and Malhotra 1993, 1995; Agarwal 1995; Solberg 2000; Laroche et al. 2001). While the rigor of the research employed in studying the issue has increased significantly over the period, with general frameworks being developed (e.g. Jain 1989) and more sophisticated statistical methodologies employed (e.g. Cavusgil and Zou 1994), the primary underlying elements of research in this area have remained relatively constant. These include researchers’ inability to substantiate (or...

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