Individualism in Retailing


Special issue of International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management edited by Mark A. P. Davies and Kathryn Waite; Deadline 12 Feb 2010

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International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

Special issue on
Individualism in retailing

Guest Editors:

Dr Mark A.P.Davies, Senior Lecturer, Marketing, Heriot-Watt University
Dr Kathryn Waite, Lecturer in Marketing, Heriot-Watt University

The twenty-first century can be considered as offering ample opportunity for demonstrating individual behaviour. For example, digital communication, and in particular the growth of Web 2.0, have promoted individual expression and business-to-consumer communication in the form of blogs, wikis, forums and instant messaging. Increasingly, business success is linked to offering individuals more choice in terms of accessibility and customisation of goods and services. Moreover, being an individual is celebrated as showing self-reliance, autonomy and creativity.

In contrast, there is a growing recognition of the need for collective action in terms of preserving environmental resources, encouraging greater institutional accountability and promoting wider transparency of business and its effects on the consumer and the environment. This tension between individualism and collectivism raises several challenges for retailers. This special issue aims to present critical debate on the following topics. We welcome a range of submissions, including case studies, scholarly literary reviews and comparative studies, and of particular interest are studies showing a strong theoretical contribution.

Deadline for submissions: Friday, 12 February 2010.

Proposed publication date: October 2010.

The individual as consumer. Have retailers met the challenge of individualizing their retail services in terms of communication and distribution? Are customization and flexibility of process a prerequisite for commercial success? We particularly welcome papers that critically evaluate the impact and development of multi-channel retailing.

The individual as employee. What are the challenges in recruiting, managing and developing a workforce in a world that values the individual? How can employees be best equipped to meet the needs of today’s individualized consumers? We particularly welcome papers that explore and debate changes in HR practice within the sector and the role of staff in service delivery.

The individual as a retailer. What role is there for the visionary individuals in twenty-first century international retailing? We particularly welcome papers that investigate the role of the entrepreneur within retailing.

Researching the individual. To what extent have research techniques and approaches developed to generate understanding of individual behaviours? How can these developments help the retailing researcher? We welcome theoretical papers that discuss the development of techniques (online and offline) to collect and analyze data (qualitative and quantitative).

Understanding the individual in context. Do the role of the individual and the degree of individualism vary according to the cultural context? How do the challenges outlined in this call affect the international retailer? We welcome papers that present international perspectives and in particular those that seek to provide insight into developing markets.

All papers will be reviewed through a double-blind peer review process. A guide for authors, sample articles and other relevant information for submitting papers are available at:

Send submissions to:

Mark Davies, School of Management and Languages, Heriot-Watt University, Midlothian, Edinburgh EH14 4AS.
Tel: 0131 451 8266; Fax: 0131 451 3296