Emic and etic approaches in cross-cultural business marketing research – A divide or a continuum? Literature review and research implications

Maria Ivanova-Gongne, Nikolina Koporcic, Olga Dziubaniuk, Jan-Åke Törnroos

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper (not published)

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    Distinction and usage of etic/emic approaches in social sciences research has a long history of discussion, dating back to 1950s, where etic/emic are perceived mainly as a methodological approach. In business studies, scholars predominantly applied an etic approach, which has been often treated as synonymous to functionalistic perspective. Whereas the need for more emic or a combined emic/etic research has been highly emphasized by international business scholars during the last decade. Cross-cultural research is seldom found in business marketing research. However, we postulate that incorporation of emic and combined etic-emic approaches in cross-cultural business marketing studies, as a way to theorize about constructs, may be beneficial for shifting towards a more practice approach.

    Our study focuses on a literature review of top international business and business marketing journals in order to understand how emic/etic approaches are applied in those studies; whether these approaches should be as diametrically different epistemologies or forming a continuum and what are the implications for further research. The results show that most of the articles discuss and use etic/emic approaches on a conceptual level and still propagate the use of emic or combined emic-etic approach, thereby further empirical research is highly required. The theoretical contribution of this review lies in advancing the discussion on emic/etic approaches and encouraging a more practice approach to cross-cultural studies in business marketing research through application of a combined etic-emic approach.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages11
    Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2022
    MoE publication typeO2 Other
    EventIMP ASIA 2022 - Sheraton Sunmarina Resort, Okinawa, Onna, Japan
    Duration: 4 Dec 20227 Dec 2022


    ConferenceIMP ASIA 2022
    Abbreviated titleIMP Asia 2022
    Internet address


    • Cross-cultural research
    • B2B marketing
    • International business
    • Epistemology


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