*Guest editors*

Gregor PFAJFAR, School of Economics and Business University of Ljubljana

Maciej MITRĘGA, University of Economics in Katowice (Poland)

Aviv SHOHAM, School of Management University of Haifa (Israel)

*Aim and scope*

This Special Issue of *International Marketing Review* calls for
world-leading research on how commercial, non-profit and government
organizations develop, maintain, manage and leverage dynamic international
marketing capabilities. We view international dynamic marketing capabilities
(IDMCs) as capabilities firms use to understand and fulfil foreign market
customers’ expressed and latent needs better than their rivals (Mitręga,
2019; Morgan, Feng & Whitler, 2018; Narver, Slater & MacLachlan, 2004).
With international marketplaces generally being more volatile and complex
than purely domestic ones, and with firms generally being less familiar
with, and having limited access to, overseas resources, businesses may find
it to be a greater challenge to develop IDMCs – those unique bundles of
knowledge, skills and routines that are most needed for success in their
international marketing operations (Gnizy, 2019). Depending on the context
in which they develop, IDMCs may take the form of more or less complex
organizational routines and managerial decision-making processes that shape
company resources to address dynamically changing international markets
(Eisenhardt & Martin, 2000; Peteraf, Di Stefano & Verona 2013; Schilke, Hu
& Helfat, 2018). Previous research on dynamic marketing capabilities (DMC)
has shown that such capabilities are a useful tool for expanding in
international markets, especially for developing country firms that lack
relevant resources, such as strong brands and cutting-edge innovations, and
promote specific strategic approaches to mitigate these constraints (e.g.
Fang & Zou, 2009; Falasca et al, 2017; Konwar et al, 2017; Buccieri et al,
2020; Mitręga et al, in press). However, this research is very general and
fragmented, so much more work is needed in areas such as exploring the
building blocks of IDMCs, distinguishing between domestic DMCs and IDMCs,
linking IDMCs to specific forms of export market performance, other
non-organic forms of international growth (e.g., networking, acquisitions),
and other strategic capabilities (e.g., international supply chain agility)
(Mitręga et al., in press). Thus, the special issue aims to attract
researchers from a variety of disciplines, including international
marketing, strategy, and organizational research, who are willing to
combine strong theoretical foundations and world-class empirical evidence
using quantitative or qualitative methods to advance knowledge of dynamic
marketing capabilities in the international marketing context.

The core interest of this special issue is on capabilities, which are
generally understood as "complex sets of skills and knowledge embedded in
the organizational processes by which the available resources of an
organization are transformed into valuable outputs" (Day, 1994, p. 37). If
we add "international", "marketing" and "dynamic" dimensions to the concept
of capabilities, we obtain a domain that spans different areas of research.
If marketing capabilities are defined as the ability of a company to use
resources to perform marketing tasks in such a way that the desired
marketing results are achieved (Morgan, Katsikeas & Vorhies, 2012), then
dynamic marketing capabilities focus on strategic changes in marketing
assets and point the way to sustained market advantage (Barrales - Molina
et al., 2014; Mitręga, 2019; Schilke, Hu & Helfat, 2018) and market
expansion (Mitręga et al., In press). The international marketing
literature identifies marketing capabilities as being specific or unique to
international marketplaces (Morgan, Feng & Whitler, 2018): for instance,
MNCs’ product innovation capabilities, global brand management
capabilities, international customer-support capabilities, global account
management capabilities, local market competences, overseas market-related
exploitative and explorative capabilities, to name a few. Since it has been
suggested that international marketing capabilities are frequently dynamic
in nature (Morgan, Feng & Whitler, 2018), this results in a field of
research with numerous applications, including, for instance, dynamic
capabilities related to international marketing innovation, market entry,
international diversification, international acquisitions and alliances.

Despite the growing interest in marketing capabilities in the international
marketing literature, questions regarding “the extent to which conceptual
and empirical approaches to studying marketing capabilities in the
international context differ—and should differ—from those in domestic
market contexts” remain unanswered (Morgan, Feng & Whitler, 2018, p. 61).
This special issue calls for contributions to fill this important knowledge
gap regarding IDMCs from a theoretical (e.g., conceptualization and
measurement of domestic vs. international marketing capabilities, different
theories for explaining IDMC), industrial (e.g., what types of
international marketing capabilities should be focused on depending on the
industry and company size), and organizational perspective (e.g., what
specific micro-building blocks lie behind IDMCs in executive decision

This special issue attempts to further develop the theory of marketing
capabilities and international marketing by promoting novel theoretical
approaches. The majority of the marketing literature up to this point
applies either the theory of the resource-based view or the theory of
dynamic capabilities to study marketing capabilities, while from the
perspective of internal marketing, organizational learning and the
knowledge-based view are applied (Morgan, Feng & Whitler, 2018). However,
it is still unclear whether other theories can be leveraged to understand
better marketing capabilities in international markets. For example, we
observe a broader application of social psychological theories in marketing
- would they also fit in with the development of IDMCs? Another example is
the recent expansion of the resource-based view focusing on the versatility
of resources in the context of company growth (Nason & Wiklund, 2018;
Mitręga et al, In press) and theoretical frameworks for explaining the
dynamic international growth of some companies, e.g. the successfully born
global SMEs (Falahat, Knight & Alon, 2018; Weerawardena, Mort & Liesch,
2019). In general, as the marketing function changes in contemporary
businesses nowadays (Rust, 2020), and while some theories seem to dominate
studies in marketing (Van der Merwe et al., 2007), other theoretical
platforms have potential for further investigation (Gligor et al., 2019),
specifically in the context of international marketing capabilities.

The topic of this special issue is very relevant to business practice.
"Many companies fail not because they do something wrong or mediocre, but
because they have been doing what was right in the past for too long" (Doz
& Kosonen, 2010, p. 371). We explore this premise by examining the dynamic
nature of international marketing capabilities that promote (constant)
change. The call for papers is also timely because, due to the current
global pandemic, companies are facing drastic changes in the way they work
and the capabilities they need to succeed. As a result, companies may need
to re-evaluate or even redevelop their international marketing capabilities
as they face different levels of dynamism than before. This unique
situation provides a unique opportunity to observe the process of agile
development of international marketing capabilities by organizations in all
kinds of industries. Answers to questions such as ‘what kind of dynamic
international marketing capabilities are developing in the current
pandemic?’, and ‘how have these capabilities been built, maintained and
used?’ could not only help business people to create and maintain their
competitive advantage in international markets, but also help researchers
to understand the development of dynamic international marketing
capabilities during dramatic shifts in business environment.

This call for papers acknowledges the over-focusing of the international
marketing literature on the strategies of transnational corporations from
the richest countries, including their expansion in emerging markets, which
gives us only a very limited understanding of how companies from developing
countries use their marketing capabilities to expand internationally
(Caputo et al., 2016; Dikova et al. 2016; Kowalik et al., 2020; Kumar &
Srivastava, 2020). Companies from developing countries operate in a more
unstable environment than their competitors from industrialised countries
because their domestic markets usually quickly became open to rivalry with
transnational corporations and lack institutional support (Cieślik et al.,
2012). In return, entry into foreign markets is sometimes seen by these
companies as a way to diversify against unstable situations in their
country markets (Cieślik et al., 2012). Such a context provides a
favourable environment for the development and application of dynamic
capabilities (Teece, et al., 1997; Fainshmidt et al., 2016). Although the
literature provides evidence that marketing capabilities are useful for
resource-constrained companies when entering foreign markets, it is
difficult for them to build strong positions in international value chains,
as these chains are asymmetric in terms of power structure, i.e. these
chains are usually dominated by large multinational companies that protect
their position (Siemieniako & Mitręga, 2018; Baraldi & Ratajczak-Mrozek,
2019; Pfajfar, et al., 2019). It would therefore be interesting to explain
theoretically the dynamic international expansion of companies from
resource-limited developing regions such as Central Asia, Africa, Latin
America and post-communist Europe. Furthermore, the conceptualization of
dynamic international marketing capabilities will potentially need to
change depending on whether the study is in developed or developing
economies, in single or multi-unit businesses, in a corporate HQ versus in
a multinational subsidiary. Since it has been found that the marketing
department’s influence is declining and the sales department’s influence is
gained most out of it (Homburg et al., 2015), a relevant question concerns
the issue of who should be responsible for the development and utilization
of IDMCs in a multinational corporation.

Last but not least, our special issue addresses increased volatility in the
international markets resulting from tensions between regions and countries
in the geopolitical area, which create the shift from unipolar to bipolar
world order and creates potentials instabilities such as enforced
decoupling in international supply chains and increased protectionism in
international trade (Handfield et al., 2020; Thürer et al., 2020). These
tendencies are observable with increased intensity since the world economic
crisis of 2008 and they are accelerated by the world pandemics of 2020.
Rust (2020) proposes geopolitical changes as one of three main tendencies
(together with technological and socioeconomic trends) driving how
marketing practice and marketing theory need to be reshaped in the future.
Therefore, international marketing research needs to address the question
of how current marketing resources and capabilities may be reorganized by
companies in international markets to keep up with increased geopolitical

We welcome all types of manuscripts, theoretical and empirical, thematic
review articles and meta analyses. We encourage (but not limit) the
researchers to go beyond single case analyses and descriptive analyses of
survey data to capture the dynamic nature of international marketing
capabilities with rigorous methodological approaches, including
longitudinal studies, mixed-methods, using experimental data and in-depth
multi-case studies.

This special issue calls for papers in the areas listed below but not
limited to:

§  Novel dynamic capabilities that are required solely for marketing in
international markets

§  IDMCs development during the crisis (e.g. COVID-19 pandemic)

§  Mechanism of marketing capability development in international markets

§  Redefinition and typology of international vs. domestic dynamic
marketing capabilities in a given context (e.g. developed vs developing
economy, single vs. multi-unit business, corporate headquarters vs. its
multinational subsidiaries)

§  The influence of institutional context in the host country(-ies) on IDMCs

§  Factors moderating the dynamic marketing capability-firm performance
link in international markets

§  Other consequences of IDMCs beyond firm-level performance, including
ecological and social sustainability

§  International marketing research capabilities

§  Individual vs. group-level (e.g. supply chain) marketing capabilities in
international markets

§  Reconfiguring marketing resources in international markets: evolutionary
and revolutionary perspective

§  Intra-organizational marketing (and learning) capabilities at and
between headquarters and connected subsidiaries

§  Dynamic marketing capabilities in international B2B relationships and

§  The influence of chief marketing officer (CMO), marketing department or
subsidiary power on IDMCs

§  Dynamic marketing capabilities and complementary vs. substitutive assets
in the international context

§  Differences in marketing capabilities of international firms at
different stages of internationalization

§  Dynamic vs. static nature of marketing capabilities in international
markets (a process perspective)

§  Ownership of international marketing dynamic capabilities development

§  The role of dynamic marketing capabilities in shaping international

§  The specific features of dynamic marketing capabilities of companies
from developing countries in their global expansion and improving their
position in international value chains

§  Role of modern technology (e.g. big data analytics, artificial
intelligence) in dynamic marketing capabilities applied in international

§  Application of theories infrequently used in marketing and in
international marketing specifically to explain development and use of
dynamic international marketing capabilities

*Submission Information*

Papers targeting the special issue should be submitted through the IMR
submission system and will undergo a similar double-blind review process as
regularly submitted papers. The submission window for submission to the
special issue will be between 31st March and 31st May 2022.

Before submission please review the IMR author guidelines at

Online submission is also available from that page. During submission
please select this issue from the dropdown menu provided. Submission is not
possible until 31st March 2022.


To support the development of early-stage papers, we invite scholars to
attend the 2022 ANZIBA Conference (,
where selected papers in International Marketing will be considered for
publication in this special issue. Attendance at the conference is not a
prerequisite for submission of papers to this special issue.

Early expressions of interest and enquiries can be directed to the special
issue Guest Editors:

§  Gregor Pfajfar, [log in to unmask]

§  Maciej Mitręga, [log in to unmask]

§  Aviv Shoham, [log in to unmask]


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excellence and beyond: The network position development of a business unit
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Barrales‐Molina, V., Martínez‐López, F. J., & Gázquez‐Abad, J. C. (2014).
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Caputo, A., Matteo Pellegrini, M., Dabic, M. & Dana, P.L. (2016).
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Doz, Y. L., & Kosonen, M. (2010). Embedding strategic agility: A leadership
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Fainshmidt, S., Pezeshkan, A., Frazier, L. M, Nair, A. & Markowski, E.
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Fang, E. E., & Zou, S. (2009). Antecedents and consequences of marketing
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Gnizy, I. (2019). The role of inter-firm dispersion of international
marketing capabilities in marketing strategy and business outcomes. *Journal
of Business Research*, 105, 214-226.

Gligor, D., Bozkurt, S., Russo, I., & Omar, A. (2019). A look into the past
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Konwar, Z., Papageorgiadis, N., Ahammad, M. F., Tian, Y., McDonald, F., &
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Pfajfar, G., Shoham, A., Brenčič, M. M., Koufopoulos, D., Katsikeas, C. S.,
& Mitręga, M. (2019). Power source drivers and performance outcomes of
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'theory networks': identifying the pivotal theories in marketing and their
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Weerawardena, J., Mort, G. S., & Liesch, P. W. (2019). Capabilities
development and deployment activities in born global B-to-B firms for early
entry into international markets. *Industrial Marketing Management*, 78,

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