Which reference to choose? - Reference price conceptualizations and their implications

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School of Business | Master's thesis
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International Business
Kansainvälinen liiketoiminta
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This master's thesis is positioned at the intersection of International Business and Marketing. It is dedicated to the topic of reference price conceptualizations and its applications in International Business. To address the conceptualizations of reference prices comprehensively, the thesis is divided into four main sections as follows: In the first part, the reference price is defined and basic implications applicable to all reference price concepts are stated. Terminological issues are addressed and the scope of this thesis is discussed. The theories of reference price formation are presented to allow an understanding of the processes involved. In the end of this section, existing reference price frameworks are reviewed and evaluated. In the second part, a new classification scheme organizing reference price concepts is developed based on the results of the analysis of the existing frameworks. The existing literature on reference prices is gathered and reviewed in order to form subgroups of concepts with similar intentions. Furthermore, differences between opposing theories are explained. Subsequently, the studies concerned with reference prices are analyzed from a research perspective. In the third part, the newly created scheme is used to derive a situational requirement profile. This allows drawing conclusions about which reference price concept to select under given circumstances. The situation-dependent factors are presented and explained. Strategic guidelines for selecting reference price concepts are developed and the hazards and consequences of a suboptimal selection are depicted. In the fourth part, strategic pricing options within the context of international business will be discussed. In the end, the conclusions and an outlook to future fields of research will complete the thesis.
International Business, Marketing, Reference Prices
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