Special Issue in Journal of International Marketing

Customer Engagement in International Markets

Guest Editors: Roy S., Hammedi W., Hewett K. & Hollebeek L.

Deadline for submissions: 30 July 2021

Call for Paper
In the last decade, customer engagement (CE), defined as customers’ investment of operant/operand resources in their brand interactions (Hollebeek, Srivastava, and Chen 2019; Kumar et al. 2019), has experienced surging research interest. Although CE is argued to yield significant organizational benefits, including elevated sales, share of wallet, referrals, and profitability (Brodie et al. 2011), and empirical evidence corroborates that superior performance outcomes accrue to highly engaged customers for both offline (Kumar and Pansari 2016) and digital (Meire et al. 2019) CE activities, scholarly insight regarding CE and its dynamics and potential contingencies in international markets remains tenuous (Christofi et al. 2018).

That is, while most existing research addresses CE in particular domestic or local market conditions, the reported findings may lack generalizability in and across international markets, revealing an important research gap. For example, Gupta, Pansari, and Kumar (2018, p. 16) posit that “the positive association between customer experience and satisfaction is enhanced in collectivistic (vs. individualistic) culture[s],” thus revealing important CE-based differences across markets. Similarly, Hollebeek (2018, p. 46) postulates that “consumers displaying mostly individualist (collectivist) traits will focus their cognitive CE more on individual brand interaction attributes (holistic brand interactions) than consumers exhibiting mostly collectivist (individualist) traits,” corroborating the existence of differing cross-cultural CE dynamics.

Different market environments exhibit unique characteristics in terms of culture, GDP, living standards, regulation, socioeconomic systems, purchase behaviors, and so on (Burgess and Steenkamp 2006), thus differentially shaping cross-market CE. That is, customers’ cross-cultural engagement styles or their “motivationally driven disposition to think, feel, act, and relate to others in a certain manner characteristic of their specific individual … traits in brand interactions” are likely to differ across markets (Hollebeek 2018, p. 46). Moreover, firms’ CE-cultivating strategies may differ in line with prevailing institutional or infrastructure conditions. For example, Kumar and Pansari (2016) find that economic growth, which they argue will affect consumer budgets, has a positive impact on CE. Furthermore, the lack of trust-enhancing infrastructure and well-functioning regulatory institutions in emerging markets can affect consumer trust and CE (Jaiswal et al. 2018).

Drawing on these observed gaps, in this special issue we call for the further contextualization of CE research across international markets (Tsang and Kwan 1999), which refers to the process of “incorporating the context in describing, understanding, and theorizing about phenomena within it” (Tsui 2006, p. 2). We welcome conceptual, methodological, qualitative, or quantitative contributions that offer insight in this area.

Themes of the special issue
Special issue papers may focus on topics including, but not limited to, the following:
– To what extent do existing CE-based findings hold up in or across international marketing contexts?
– How do cross-cultural characteristics affect CE in or across particular market-based scenarios?
– How does customer trust/relational behavior affect cross-market CE (or vice versa; Hewett and Bearden 2001)?
– Which entry strategies are most conducive in markets characterized by different CE styles (Onamusi 2020)?
– To what extent does culture affect customer-to-customer interactions in international market contexts (e.g., online brand communities, social media; Kim, Moon, and Iaccobucci 2019)?
– How does product/service standardization influence CE in or across particular markets?
– How does different countries’ technological infrastructure and/or usage affect online CE?
– How do consumers engage with particular brands in the company’s home market (vs. particular host markets)?
– (How) does customer ethnocentrism affect CE with local/domestic (vs. foreign-made) products or brands?
– How do multinational corporations (vs. born global companies) develop CE in particular markets?
– Which international market research best practices help advance insight into CE with specific brands, products, or firms in or across particular markets?
– How do differing national characteristics (e.g., literacy rates, technology access, GDP) affect CE across markets?
– What is the role of institutional or other national (e.g., regulatory, political, administrative, knowledge-based, global connectedness) factors or conditions (Berry, Guillen, and Zhou 2010) in firms’ abilities to develop and benefit from CE?
– Which cultural model(s) best explain or predict CE’s development across international markets?
– What are CE’s key cross-border characteristics and dynamics, both during and after COVID-19?
– How has the pandemic affected the use of (smart) technology across international markets, and what is its impact on CE?

All manuscripts must conform to JIM’s author guidelines. Manuscripts must be submitted through the JIM’s Manuscript Central website. When submitting your manuscript, please indicate that your submission is to the special issue entitled “Customer Engagement in International Markets.” The closing date for submissions is July 30, 2021.

Queries can be directed at the Special Issue Guest Editors:
Linda D. Hollebeek
Senior Associate Professor/Full Professor of Marketing
Montpellier Business School/Tallinn University of Technology
Wafa Hammedi
Professor of Marketing
University of Namur
Sanjit K. Roy
Associate Professor of Marketing
University of Western Australia
Kelly Hewett
Reagan Professor of Business
University of Tennessee

References and more info here.