Research Activities

MAG Scholar is a community of scholars with different nationalities, values and career aspirations, and yet our members share similar research interests focusing on Asia and/or Asia in a global perspective. At present, MAG is focusing on 6 research clusters such as: Value and Faith based Marketing, When is a Goodbye a Good Buy, Marketing the Brains Business, Renewable Marketing, Institutional Theory, and Open Cluster. If you have a topic related to one of these clusters and would like to share your interest and knowledge with others, we are happy to include it here.

I. Value and Faith Based Marketing

The world is developing itself into a global village. From a marketing-management perspective, it is crucial to be aware of and sensitive to value and faith differences which is the major premise for the success in the rapidly changing marketplace. Cultural values shape acceptable purchasing and product-use behaviour for both consumers and businesses, thus influencing each component of the marketing mix. Businesses must also have a good understanding of the community and their values and faiths and market it in a manner that helps to recognise the impact values and faiths have on Marketing. In this theme, several related topics are explored: Islamic Marketing, Confucian/Chopsticks Marketing and Advertising of Controversial Products.

A. Islamic Marketing

Islamic marketing is embedded in a strong ethical doctrine. The principle of value-maximisation based on equity and justice is the heart of Islamic Marketing. It also raises the standards of business conduct worldwide, enhancing the quality of products and services offered to customers and surrendering the profit margins of businesses. Under this sub-cluster, Islamic banking and finance services is an important topic to examine.


B. Confucian/Chopsticks Marketing

In the business world everyone plays a vital role in ensuring a successful business deal, resulting in a harmonious relationship. This is in line with one of the elements of Confucianism, which addresses on how Asians use their age-old values to emphasise on the observance of human relationships within any hierarchy. Corresponding to this concept of business model is the use of “Chopsticks” Marketing. Chopsticks are predominantly used by the Chinese, Japanese, Koreans and Vietnamese as a cutlery to pick up food. Individually, a chopstick is a functionless stick; jointly, they perform an essential function. Analogous to the intricacy of eating with chopsticks, marketing effectively to East Asian consumers entails identifying and understanding local customs, traditions, values and consumer behaviour. Successful marketing depends on how well marketers harness networks comprised of government officials, religious bodies, suppliers, distributors and consumers. Marketers must also look into ethical and unethical beliefs and behaviours. All these reveal the complexity of understanding Confucianism in marketing, thus a deep appreciation of local cultural values is the key to Confucian/Chopsticks marketing.

C. Advertising of Controversial Products

Another topic under value and faith based marketing is the advertising of controversial products, particularly focusing at Asian markets. The opening of regional markets is allowing marketers to take advantage of the benefits of a standardised approach to advertising of controversial products in various media, including the Internet and the Satellite television. The prime factor that has a great influence on the marketing communications is religion, which is an element of culture that pervades every aspect of a society. Religious beliefs contribute in the moulding of the way people live, the choices they make, what they eat and whom they associate with, which have an effect on the attitudes towards advertising. Advertisers in the process of effectively communicating to the market place must also be cautious of not offending its customers as this can result in a drop in sales or to an extreme boycott of the product. Many projects in this cluster examine advertisers’ perceptions towards the degree of restriction imposed on products and services that could be considered controversial when advertised in different countries.

II. When is a Goodbye a Good Buy

Sales promotion is value offered to customers to stimulate demand in a short-term. The potential benefits of using sales promotion could range from attracting new customers away from competitors, persuading customers to switch brands or simply inducing existing customers to buy more. Understanding customer motivation, behaviour patterns, decision-making characteristics and value orientations are vital to predicting the effectiveness of sales promotion in different markets and cultures. This is linked to the importance of understanding the different perceptions of a “Good Bye” in both Asian and Western contexts. When Asian customers are satisfied with their purchase and sales promotional items, their acknowledgement of “Goodbye” is indicative as “it’s a Good Buy” and a sign of re-purchase. In a Western perspective, a “Goodbye” may just signal a gesture of goodbye and not a satisfaction for a re-purchase. Just like coupons, for example, are positively received by consumers in Hong Kong, the use of stamps is popular in Thailand. The thrust of this research is to explore the possible link between the preference of sales promotion techniques and the purchase satisfaction in different cultural contexts.

III. Marketing the Brains Business

In the education industry, there are more than 1.6 million students studying outside their home country, contributing significantly to the economy of the education exporting countries. Among those studying outside their home countries, ethnic Chinese form the largest single group in countries such as New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the USA. Hence, branding has become the latest focus in tertiary education to attract international students. The positioning of international education brands will depend on the influential factors that vary across students from different cultural backgrounds and from different geographical locations. The perceptions of the messages and media used by advertising universities in their recruitment, branding or position strategy, and the quality of facilities and services provided also contribute to the education of exporting countries. The Economist survey in 2004 claims that universities main revenue come from foreign students, though some academics consider them a necessary nuisance as they require additional services and assistances for learning and coping in a new environment. The theme examines whether Asian cultural values have an impact on the way foreign universities promote their advertisement for recruitment and delivery of quality educational services to Asian students.

IV. Renewable Marketing

One of the biggest challenges facing Asian nations is how to increase their economic growth while minimising the impact on the environment and reducing their dependence on imported resources. The emerging international environmental issues such as, global climate change, global warming, over-exploitation of natural resources and water conservation need to be addressed in order to achieve environmental sustainability. Sustainability requires individuals and businesses to reduce waste, increase water and energy efficiency, and prevent pollution. Sustainability also involves care for the natural environment, livestock production conditions, quality of life for humans, preserving the environment and sustainable use and management of natural resources. ThePlace marketing is an extension of Renewal marketing that looks into renewing, enhancing social environment and protecting the security of its people. This is an important aspect that holds great potential for tourism industry in marketing and branding their services.

V. Institutional Theory

Institutions regulate economic activities by setting the rules of the game as the basis for production, exchange, and distribution. It is essential for managers to follow these rules, norms, and belief systems related to the institutional environment and mobilize their social, economic, and political resources to adapt and change institutional environments. Although some authors claimed institutional theory has its adulthood, very limited rigorous research has been conducted in the area of business marketing. The primary focus of this research cluster is devoted to how institutional theory can be advanced in the context of business marketing. Specifically, we are interested in exploring two broad, interrelated areas of institutional theory. The first area lies in the development and conceptualization of various institution-based constructs and their inter-relationships with other well-established theories, such as transaction cost economics, and the resource-based view. The second area is to explore performance implications of institutional environments from an interactive perspective. Such interactive perspectives explore how firms accommodate strategic responses to handle institutional constraints and take advantage of institutional capital.

VI. Open Cluster

This section is currently under construction. MAG Scholar® is dedicated to leverage the expertise of scholars, academics, practitioners, policymakers and research students to foster rigorous yet pragmatic research focusing not only on Asian culture, marketing issues and practices in Asia but also to contribute exciting, innovative ideas and valuable projects across the whole spectrum of the marketing management.