Clearing the paradigmatic fog — how to move forward in business marketing research

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
A1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä
Degree programme
Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 102
Although research in business-to-business (B2B) marketing has significantly increased, critical voices questioning the managerial relevance and theoretical innovativeness of the discipline abound. To find reasons for the alleged stagnation and forward the discipline, obtaining a better understanding of its current knowledge bases is essential. We aim to provide a meta-theoretical analysis of the B2B research domain by analyzing its major research communities and their paradigmatic ways of producing knowledge. The key premise is that the North American mainstream tradition (NAM) and the industrial marketing and purchasing (IMP) group-driven research approach form the dominant research cultures of B2B marketing. Paradigmatic profiling is used as a method of analysis for making the underlying assumptions and intellectual goals of the two communities transparent, enabling a rational assessment of their strengths and weaknesses. By contrasting the two paradigms, we highlight the fragmented knowledge base, identify neglected issues and unanswered questions, and suggest how to advance theory construction in the field. By analyzing the implicit assumptions and silent drivers of the NAM and IMP research communities, the study adds to our understanding of why we conduct this kind of research, how we can make better informed decisions concerning our studies, and how we might break free from the invisible paradigmatic cages to advance our discipline.
Funding Information: We thank the participants of the IMM Summit 2019 and the EDEN Doctoral Seminar on Advances in B2B Marketing Research 2019 for their insightful comments on the earlier versions of the paper. Critical and constructive comments received from Professor Ad de Jong, Professor Andreas Eggert and two anonymous IMM reviewers and the Associate Editor for Target and Position Papers, John Nicholson, facilitated in refining the contents and readability of the paper. Finally, we are indebted to Professor Tore Strandvik for the ?clearing the fog? metaphor in the title. Publisher Copyright: © 2022 The Authors
Business marketing, IMP, Marketing theory, Research communities, Research paradigms, Theory development
Other note
Möller, K & Halinen, A 2022, ' Clearing the paradigmatic fog — how to move forward in business marketing research ', Industrial Marketing Management, vol. 102, pp. 280-300 .