International marketing adaptation versus standardisation of multinational companies

Demetris Vrontis, Alkis Thrassou, Iasonas Lamprianou

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    94 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to position multinational companies on a linear continuum indicating their overall attitude towards standardisation/adaptation, examines the reasons influencing multinational companies' tactical (7Ps - marketing mix) behaviour towards it, and finally presents the underlying managerial implications of the results. Design/methodology/approach - A rating scale Rasch model is used in order to place the multinational companies' attitude towards standardisation and adaptation on a linear continuum. Structural equation modelling is subsequently used in order to investigate the relationship between the adaptation and standardisation variable against other variables. An extensive literature review is also undertaken to provide the theoretical foundation. Findings - The paper corroborates the findings of past research by placing multinational companies on a linear continuum; by identifying their overall attitude towards adaptation/standardization; and by describing the relationship between AdaptStand and other variables. Furthermore, it categorises the reasons pulling towards adaptation or standardisation into "significant" and "peripheral"; and provides valuable insights towards practical application. Practical implications - The paper provides marketing researchers and practitioners with an overview of the main factors that influence marketing tactical behaviour in international markets. Additionally, the research transcends descriptive analysis to identify vital behavioural issues and to prescribe marketing approaches regarding internationalisation. Originality/value - Though the subject of "adaptation versus standardisation" has been extensively researched, this paper provides original work through in-depth quantitative analysis of a sufficient sample of multinational companies. The paper reaches specific and explicit conclusions that scientifically test existing theory on the subject, categorise factors according to their significance in the adaptation/standardisation decision process and offer valuable prescriptions of marketing tactics based on the findings.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)477-500
    Number of pages24
    JournalInternational Marketing Review
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 17 Jul 2009


    • International marketing
    • Marketing strategy
    • Marketing theory
    • Multinational companies
    • Standardization


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