Searching for common ground in the New Europe

Date of publication: June 15, 1991

Abstract:

The New Europe represents a unique challenge to companies and the research industry alike. Its structures and market dynamics are not yet firmly established. There are no valid "maps" or orientation systems which would be needed for reliable decision-making in this pan-European market. A critical review of the traditional practices in international ad-hoc research demonstrates that it fails to meet the new requirements. It leaves the manager alone with the task of discovering and designing the New Europe as a market. Decisions are taken without the active contribution of marketing research. The intercultural approach opens up new perspectives for the solution of these problems. It defines modes of thinking, procedures and research designs in which old and new marketing research techniques are used in rearranged form. In addition, it is an approach which includes the transformation of styles of cooperation between researchers from different countries and of the relationship between the users and suppliers of marketing research. We are still far from having resolved all tasks and problems involved. But we are probably closer to a solution than might be assumed, provided that we agree on the targets and improve our skills in recognising and utilising the opportunities inherent in this confrontation of different cultures, traditions and research styles. The present paper deals primarily with the type of research which is generally classified as "qualitative". Its findings and conclusions, however, can equally be applied to large sections of what is habitually referred to as "quantitative" research, at least to the extent to which the latter is concerned with the analysis of markets.

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