Inter-Cultural Experiences in B2B


Navigating Inter-Cultural Experiences [NICE] in B2B Relationships, Special issue of Industrial Marketing Management; Deadline 1 Dec 2022

POSTING TYPE: Calls: Journals

Author: Selma Kadić-Maglajlić


Call for Papers

Navigating Inter-Cultural Experiences [NICE] in B2B Relationships

Deadline for submission: December 1st, 2022

Overview and purpose of the special issue

The momentum in scholarly exploration of B2B in relationships has grown in intensity across an ever-widening range of settings in recent years (Kingshott, Sharma, & Chung, 2018; Krings, Palmer, & Inversini, 2021; Nyadzayo, Casidy & Thaichon, 2020) due to the expanding role that relationships play across industrial marketing settings. Most recently this body of work has helped understand the critical importance of this B2B narrative with the context of relationships that entail value chains (Kingshott, Sharma, & Nair, 2020), service eco-systems (Razi et al., 2021), and East-West settings (Kingshott, Sharma, Sima, & Wong, 2020), among others. Whilst these are important trajectories of thinking as they help to conceptualize B2B relationships across cultures there is still a distinct paucity of research exploring the impact that inter-cultural interactions can have within B2B settings (Koponen, Julkunen, Gabrielsson, & Pullins, 2021). This is a critically important domain of the discipline to comprehend because relationships between organizations and their B2B customers involving interactions between individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) backgrounds, and these are expected to increase in coming decades. Typically, the International Organization for Migration (IOM: 2020) has estimated that nearly two-thirds of the 272 million global immigrants are ‘labor migrants’, meaning an understanding of workplace resources (e.g. cultural diversity, power relationships, dynamic capabilities etc.) that have significant impact on B2B contexts is tantamount (Malik, Ngo, & Kingshott, 2018). This is the first research gap we address in this special issue.

With rapid globalization, B2B relationships are becoming increasingly common and yet complex, as international firms jostle with each other to establish strong and long term mutually profitable relationships with trusted and cooperative suppliers (Graça & Kharé, 2020). In this context, social capital theory (SCT) highlights the importance of cultivating social relationships at an individual level using informal business networks to leverage their benefits at an organizational level. However, appropriate governance mechanisms are critical to reduce transaction costs and implement agreements, especially in cross-border or inter-cultural B2B relationships due to relatively lesser known and risky conditions prevalent in the emerging markets (Kingshott et al., 2018, 2020). Moreover, as Asian firms are projected to dominate global supply chains in coming decades (WTO, 2019), the cultural diversity within Asia and across the East-West divide means decision-makers within B2B ecosystems also need to fully understand how to engage with both suppliers and/or customers from diverse cultural backgrounds. Doing this successfully would need a deeper understanding of the unique cultural practices and moderators (Wilken, Jacob, & Prime, 2013), such as Guanxi (Gao et al., 2010; Lee et al., 2018, 2022) and Jaan-Pehchaan (Berger et al., 2020), which are popular in large Asian markets (e.g., China and India) but are still relatively less understood by businesses elsewhere (Graça & Kharé, 2020). This is the second research gap we aim to address in this special issue.

Those organizations prepared to embrace cultural diversity internally will capitalize on improved levels of workplace productivity (Saxena, 2014), employee well-being (Jaiswal & Dyaram, 2018), and employee life satisfaction (Le et al., 2018), among others. However, little is known about the potential impact such diversity can potentially have within B2B relationships that involve interactions between persons from different CaLD backgrounds. Given the global nature of many supply chains (e.g.  Kumar & Sharma, 2021) as well as the tendency for many governments to adopt diversity in their immigration policies (e.g. Connor & Krogstad, 2016; Koerner & Pillay, 2019) the impact of inter-cultural interactions within B2B settings both domestically and/ or internationally provides the impetus for this special issue. To date, there is some evidence that inter-cultural interactions potentially play a role in shaping relationships within B2C service settings for example, such as engendering different expectations (Sharma, Tam, & Kim, 2009), the impact of inter-cultural interactions between persons across B2B relationships is largely unknown. This is the final research gap we address in this special issue.

Sample Topics

With the above specifically in mind, this special issue seeks submissions (but not limited to) the topical areas listed below that helps understand the impact of intercultural interactions within B2B relationships:

  • The roles played by key stakeholders (e.g., customers, employees, suppliers, regulators, policy-makers etc.) involved in B2B relationships in multicultural service ecosystems, and/ or value chains.
  • Differences in the expectations, perceptions and evaluations of key stakeholders from diverse cultural backgrounds, involved in creating and managing B2B relationships in multicultural service ecosystems, and/ or value chains.
  • Types of capabilities (e.g. cultural intelligence, intercultural sensitivity, multicultural readiness etc.) that firms need to engage in a meaningful manner with their key stakeholders from diverse cultural backgrounds.
  • The role of boundary spanners in managing intercultural engagements and experiences for firms with multicultural B2B relationships.
  • Identifying the key elements and stages of the journeys and experiences of key stakeholders involved in multicultural B2B relationships.
  • Strategies to manage intercultural experiences in multicultural B2B relationships in cross-border business contexts, such as international market entry strategies for multinational enterprises.
  • Role of unique cultural practices (e.g. Guanxi, Jaan-Pehchaan etc.), power distance, resource dependencies and dynamic capabilities in intercultural B2B relationships.
  • Role of language and communications in intercultural B2B relationships, particularly in terms of how they shape the formation and impact of relationship expectations within such relationships.

We welcome conceptual and empirical papers related to B2B relationships that involve inter-cultural interactions within wide-ranging B2B settings. Papers involving an industry author will be highlight regarded. For enquiries regarding this call, please contact either of the guest editors.

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 Editorial management system. You need to upload your paper using the dropdown box for the special issue on VSI: Intercultural Experiences. 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. Manuscripts within the scope of the special issue (as described above) and deemed to have a reasonable chance of conditional acceptance after no more than two rounds of revisions will enter the review process.

Proposed Paper Development Workshop (PDW)

Papers considered by the GEs potentially suitable for publication (after round 1 of reviews) will be invited to attend a PDW proposed to be held in Perth, Western Australia in March-April, 2023. We are mindful that due to COVID we may need to run the workshop in online mode. There will be no registration fees for this PDW and the attendance/non-attendance at this PDW will not impact the chances of publication. On the contrary, attending this PDW would provide an opportunity to the authors to improve their manuscripts before resubmission. An invitation to attend or participate in the PDW would not imply that the papers will be accepted for publication, as each contribution still needs to follow IMM’s rigorous double-blind peer-review process.

Important dates

  • Submission opens: September 1, 2022
  • Deadline for submission: December 1, 2022
  • Proposed paper development workshop: March-April, 2023

Guest editors


Berger, R., Barnes, B. R., Konwar, Z., & Singh, R. (2020). Doing business in India: The role of jaan-pehchaan. Industrial Marketing Management89, 326-339.

Conner, P., & Krogstad, J. M. (2016). Immigrant share of population jumps in some European countries. Pew Research Centre. Accessed on 9 November, 2021:

Gao, H., Ballantyne, D., & Knight, J. G. (2010). Paradoxes and guanxi dilemmas in emerging Chinese–Western intercultural relationships. Industrial Marketing Management39(2), 264-272.

Graça, S. S., & Kharé, V. P. (2020). Building social-capital networks and relationship commitment in China and India. European Business Review. 32(5), 823-843

IOM: International Organization for Migration. (2020). World Migration Report 2020. Accessed: 9 November, 2021 from

Kingshott, R. P., Sharma, P., & Chung, H. F. (2018). The impact of relational versus technological resources on e-loyalty: A comparative study between local, national and foreign branded banks. Industrial Marketing Management, 72, 48-58.

Kingshott, R. P., Sharma, P., Sima, H., & Wong, D. (2020). The impact of psychological contract breaches within east-west buyer-supplier relationships. Industrial Marketing Management89, 220-231.

Kingshott, R. P. J., Sharma, P. & Nair, S. R. (2020). Social and technical chains-of-effects in business-to-business (B2B) service relationships. European Journal of Marketing, 54(6), 1225-1246.

Koerner, C.P., & Pillay, S. (2019). Governance and multiculturalism: The white elephant of social construction and cultural identities. Springer.

Koponen, J., Julkunen, S., Gabrielsson, M., & Pullins, E. B. (2021). An intercultural, interpersonal relationship development framework. International Marketing Review. 38(6), 1189-1216.

Krings, W., Palmer, R., & Inversini, A. (2021). Industrial marketing management digital media optimization for B2B marketing. Industrial Marketing Management, 93, 174-186.

Kumar, B., & Sharma, A. (2021). Managing the supply chain during disruptions: Developing a framework for decision-making. Industrial Marketing Management, 97, 159-172.

Lee, L. W. Y., Sharma, P., & Barnes, B. R. (2022), Adopting big data to create an “outside-in” global perspective of guanxi, Journal of Business Research. 139, 614-628.

Lee, L. W. Y., Tang, Y., Yip L. S. C., & Sharma, P. (2018), Managing customer relationships in the emerging markets: Guanxi as a driver of Chinese customer loyalty”, Journal of Business Research, 86(May), 356‐365.

Malik, A., Ngo, L. V., & Kingshott, R. P. (2018). Power, resource dependencies and capabilities in intercultural B2B relationships. Journal of Services Marketing. 32(5), 629-642.

Nyadzayo, M. W., Casidy, R., & Thaichon, P. (2020). B2B purchase engagement: Examining the key drivers and outcomes in professional services. Industrial Marketing Management, 85, 197-208.

Razi, N., Moshabaki, A., Hosseini, H. K., & Kordnaeij, A. (2021). A model for B2B salesperson performance with service ecosystems perspective: A grounded theory. Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing. Available online: 25 October, 2021.

Sharma, P., Tam, J., & Kim, N. (2009). Demystifying intercultural service encounters: Toward a comprehensive conceptual framework. Journal of Service Research, 12(2), 227-242.

Sharma, P., Tam, J., & Wu, Z. (2018). Challenges and opportunities for services marketers in a culturally diverse global marketplace. Journal of Services Marketing. 32(5), 521-529

Wilken, R., Jacob, F., & Prime, N. (2013). The ambiguous role of cultural moderators in intercultural business negotiations. International Business Review22(4), 736-753.

WTO: World Trade Organization. (2020). Global Value Chain Development Report 2019. Accessed: 9 November, 2021: