Asian Cultural-Specific Concepts


And Their Influence on B2B Relationships and Management, Special issue of Industrial Marketing Management; Deadline 31 Aug 2020


Call for Papers

Asian cultural-specific concepts and their influence on B2B relationships and management

Deadline for submission: 31st August 2020

Industrial Marketing Management announces the call for papers for a special issue on Asian cultural-specific concepts and their influence on B2B relationships and management.

Overview and Purpose of the special issue

Over the past two decades, Asian markets (including South Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Middle East and Central Asia) have gained popularity, with China and India taking the lead as the fastest growing emerging markets (Zhou and Wu, 2014), followed by some other rapidly developing economies such as Indonesia and Thailand. Success of business in these very attractive and dynamic markets depends on the relationship management skills of managers (Jensen, 2012). Research has explored business relationships from different theoretical angles. For example, marketing researchers, especially business-to-business marketing researchers, have focused on measuring the quality of relationships, based on attributes such as trust, satisfaction, coordination and communication resulting in highly generic frameworks (Morgan and Hunt, 1994; Naudé and Buttle, 2000; Skarmeas and Robson, 2008). On the other hand, organisational researchers have focused on culturally-oriented staff training, leadership, expatriation, absorptive capacity, talent management, technology adoption or knowledge sharing (Gupta et al. 2011). While prior research offers theoretical insights on business relationships in general and managerial lessons in broad contexts, the majority of studies approach Asian markets from the Western perspective (Barnes et al., 2011). As a result, there is a lack of understanding of cultural-specific notions that are critical in developing successful business relationships with Asian counterparts on a long-term basis.

The only exception may be the Chinese cultural-specific notion of ‘Guanxi’, which has received significant research attention over the past three decades (Jacobs, 1979; Yen et al., 2017). Extant literature has conceptually argued and empirically proved that failing to account the influence of Guanxi and its cultural characteristics can have a significant impact on inter-firm business relationships involving Chinese counterparts (e.g. Liu et al., 2007; Su et al., 2009; Yen and Abosag, 2016). However, there are other Asian cultural-specific notions, which are depreciated and under-investigated. Therefore, this special issue does not focus on guanxi, but on other Asian cultural-specific notions that have not been fully explored, hence deserve further research attention. For instance, the notion of “Jugaad” that refers to the concept of innovative thinking on your feet has been highlighted by scholars (e.g. Srivastava et al., 2013; Prabhu and Jain, 2015), but has not been fully explored to inform our understanding of how Indian enterprises operate and collaborate with each other. Another example, the newly discovered Arabic notion of “Et-moone” that explains the friendship liking between business partners and how such friendship defines the trust between business partners (Abosag and Lee, 2013). However, how and to what extent Et-moone or Wasta, the connections or pull between people (Hutching and Weir, 2006) affect the way Western firms interact with their counterparts in the Middle East remains under-researched. Similarly, more research is needed to understand the Japanese wa (group loyalty, harmony and consensus) and Korean inhwa (harmony and loyalty) and their impact on business relationships (Alston, 1989).

Acknowledging the knowledge gap, this special issue proposes to depart from a Western culture-centric approach and systematically examine different Asian culture-specific notions and their influence on business relationships and management. This special issue invites articles based on solid theoretical underpinnings and robust empirical investigations. Submissions may fall into, but not restricted to, one or more of the following themes:

  • A revisit of the debate between cultural specificity relative to cultural universalism.
  • A comparison and examination of such cultural-specific constructs in the East.
  • How, why and to what extent Asian cultural-specific construct affect business operations in Asian markets?
  • Correlation between customer adoption and cultural-specific constructs.
  • Relationship between adaptation and cultural-specific constructs.

At the Macro level:

  • The identification, exploration and examination of new cultural-specific notions that are of significance for international business management.
  • The identification and evaluation of cultural-specific notions from the less researched emerging markets such Thailand, Indonesia, etc.
  • How cultural-specific notions interact with the international environment, e.g. cultural, economic, legal, political in influencing the activities, strategies, structures and decision-making processes of firms.

At the Meso level:

  • How cultural-specific notions affect cross-border activities of firms, e.g. interfirm trades, finance, investment, technology transfer, and offshore services.
  • To what extent do cultural-specific notions affect existing business frameworks when dealing with Asian counterparts and operating in the Asian contexts.
  • Integration of cultural-specific constructs and market leadership.
  • The effect of cultural-specific notion and norms in employee management.

At the Micro level:

  • Implications of cultural-specific constructs on the management related issues in firms internationalisation.
  • Influence of cultural-specific constructs on international brand management.
  • How cultural-specific notions affect specific consumer behaviour or employee behaviour in the Asian markets.

Preparation and submission of paper and review process

Papers submitted must not have been published, accepted for publication, or presently be under consideration for publication elsewhere. Submissions should be about 6,000-8,000 words in length. Copies should be uploaded on Industrial Marketing Management’s homepage through the EVISE system. You need to upload your paper using the dropdown box for the special issue on Asian cultural-specific concepts. For guidelines, visit Papers not complying with the notes for contributors (cf. homepage) or poorly written will be desk rejected. Suitable papers will be subjected to a double-blind review; hence, authors must not identify themselves in the body of their paper. (Please do not submit a Word file with “track changes” active or a PDF file.)

Please address all questions to the guest editor(s):

Dr Dorothy A. Yen
Brunel University London, UK

Professor Martin J. Liu
University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China


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Yen, D. A., Abosag, I. and Huang, Y. and Bang, N. (2017) “GRX: ganqing, renqing and xinren (GRX) as conflict management mechanism in Sino-US business relationships”, Industrial Marketing Management,

Zhou, L., & Wu, A. (2014). Earliness of internationalization and performance outcomes: Exploring the moderating effects of venture age and international commitment. Journal of World Business, 49(1), 132-142.