Edited by Henry Wai-chung Yeung
Chapter 8: Marketing Practice ‘Crossvergence’ in Post-crisis Asia
: an illustrative case analysis Tim G. Andrews INTRODUCTION This chapter draws together a stream of research detailing the emergence of ‘crossvergent’ strategic marketing practices within the Southeast Asian subsidiaries of a host of Western-headquartered multinational corporations (MNCs). In addition to the initial havoc wrought on local corporate balance sheets, the 1997/98 Asian ﬁnancial crisis was to trigger the imposition of a series of convergence programmes from Western corporations anxious to ‘rein in’ the traditionally high levels of autonomy aﬀorded to their hitherto successful local subsidiaries. However, such attempts to try and harmonize indigenous marketing methods in line with core corporate norms and values were met by an often hostile spate of divergent counter-implementation measures undertaken by local management teams, resentful of what they perceived to be unwarranted Western ‘meddling’ in their domestic aﬀairs. In the ensuing stand-oﬀ – for as long as 18 months in certain cases (for example Andrews and Chompusri, 2001) – corporate envoys and incumbent expatriate executives gradually came to acknowledge the importance of local business mores, and practices and the contextual rationale that underpin them. The ethnic Chinese ties and long-held business values that cross-weave much of the regional customer base led a substantial number of MNCs to re-evaluate their initial change programmes, blending headquarters-oriented marketing ideology synergistically with the more sales-based Asian approach. Using the term ‘crossvergence’ to depict this fusion of marketing approaches stems from the underpinning work values on which both UK corporate and Thai subsidiary approaches to marketing strategy were held to...
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