You are on page 1of 11

Ê Ê 

Why the articles were chosen

µSME practice towards integrated marketing communications¶ (2010) and‘ The use of
qualitative methods to research networking in SMEs¶ (1999) are the articles chosen to be
criticised and compared. Both articles were chosen because:

1.‘ Both articles address a business and management science issue on SME.
2.‘ Both articles make use of different research methodologies. (One qualitative and one
qualitative.) This makes the articles worthy to be compared.
3.‘ Both articles are research paper types published in peer-reviewed journals.

The aims and contexts of the research reported in the articles (including theory/models)

The aim of the research as reported in the article of Gabrielli (2010, p.275) was to identify
outcomes and test the gaps created between the theory and practice of Integrated Marketing
Communications in small-and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The writer identified an
issue related to the assumptions that basic principles of marketing and marketing theories can
be applied to all firms irrespective of size. This writer was interested in knowing if size of
firm had anything to do with the outcome of the application of the theory of IMC. The
research took into consideration both large and small organisations. The research had an
empirical aim other than a theoretical one.

According to O¶Donnell (1999), the goal intended to be achieved in his research was to
increase his understanding of marketing practices of small firms, to add to the literature and
previous work done on traditional marketing theories. Additionally, the writer reported that
this area has been researched by writers such as (Peterson 1989). However his research
looked at the theory from a different perspective (network) and that his aim was not to
disagree with previous research but rather to add to existing research. This research focused
solely on small organisations. According to the aim of this research how IMC contributed to
managerial decision making in small firms. (p.78). The research had an academic focus as
compared to that of aims reported in the article of the first writer Gabrielli (2010).

c
The research objectives/ questions/hypotheses addressed

The main question Gabrielli (2010, p. 278) wanted to find an answer to with their research
was µare SMEs able to implement an IMC program aligning goals, messages, activities, and
organizational process?¶ Examining the consistency of aligning associated SME practices
with IMC and identification of IMC elements was the objective of their research. The
objective of the research was clearly defined and achievable.

O¶Donnell (1999) identified conflicts within marketing theory and practice. According to the
writer, issues involving the use of marketing theory and practice became more complex to
analyse when small and medium sized firms were taken into consideration or were involved.
The objectives of O¶Donnell (1999, p.86 & 90) was to gain an in-depth understanding of
different networking approaches used by small firms in achieving IMC. There was no
hypothesis to be tested or questions to be answered by the research. However, the research
was to throw more light on SMEs and marketing theory from a network perspective.

a
r rÊ
 r  r rÊ   
 
r  r



  rÊ


Structure and writing style

The writing styles of both writers (Gabrielli, 2010: O¶Donnell, 1999) are similar. The articles
of both writers were clearly written. The writers also made use of a formal writing structure.
This includes the following chapters. Introduction, Method, Results, Discussion and
References, however, they both they gave different names to similar sections in their articles.
Pages were clearly numbered and the fonts used were easy to read.

Literature review

The article of Gabrielli (2010) made better use of literature as compared to the O¶Donnell.
This is because his research aims at filling a gap in literature (276). In the theoretical
background section the writer discusses the works of other writers that lead to the aims of his
research (277). The writer also made references to the origin of the gaps created within the
literature. For example, the work of writers (Low, 200; Fam, 2001 cited in Gabrielli 2010,
P.276) were the few out of the many research carried out on SMEs that addresses IMC
practices. The aims and objectives surround the literature.

The article of O¶Donnell (1999) focuses more on gaining an understanding on SME based on
previous studies of writers such as Davis et al. 1985 which states that future research on
SMEs should be a build up on existing studies. This was a guide to his research. Evidence of
the use of literature can be seen in how the writer makes references to other published works.
(Cohn and Lindberg, 1972; McNamara, 1972; Peterson, 1989; Brooksbank g ‘‘1992; Liu,
1995; Dunn g ‘‘1987). Even the aim of the research was deduced from previous works of
Peterson (1989 cited in O¶Donnell, 1999, p. 82). The conflict evolved from marketing
theories by both practitioners and theorist writers forms the base of the research. The article
throws more light on the concerns of other writers and reviews some of the literature on the
topic are. The writer made good use of literature and referenced the works of other writers
used in his work.

Œ
Research philosophy, design, methods

Gabrielli (2010, p.279) adopted a quantitative research approach using a questionnaire


survey. The questionnaire was administered to 210 manufacturing firms. Gabrielli¶s intention
of investigating the cutting edge of marketing communication practices in small medium
sized enterprises required a qualitative approach. This is because the issue at hand, which is
SME¶s practices towards IMC¶s, is a critical subject that demands interviews to gain in-depth
views of the respondents. However, she made use of a quantitative approach and a
qualitative. The quantitative was the main approach. Gabrielli highlighted the fact that most
research done on the literature was based on an external qualitative observation and the
research was usually done on individual firms. In her view this had created a gap that had to
be addressed using a quantitative approach across different firms.

According to Blackburn et al (1990 as cited in O¶Donnell 1999, p.83), lots of times studies
carried out on this topic relating to small firms adopted a quantitative methodology.
However, the writer adopted a qualitative research methodology in order to achieve the aims
of the research which is gaining an understanding on the topic area. According to the writer it
is the understanding that is needed and to do that the use of a qualitative research
methodology was more appropriate in order to gain a contextual insight on the topic. The
writer justifies his use of the chosen methodology in the article.

Data collection, analysis, presentation

Gabrielli (2010, p.279) collected primary data through an auto-filled questionnaire


administered via a web based interviewing system and an in-depth face to face interview with
eight individuals from eight different communication agencies and eight manufacturing
companies related to SME and IMC. Secondary data was collected from other research done
on IMC and SME¶s by other researchers. Their reason for using the web based system is
justifiable. This was to enable the participants to fill out the questionnaire at any given time
without interrupting the activities of the respondents. (p.279)

O¶Donnell (1999, p.86) made use of an unstructured interview to collect data from 60
Managers of SME¶s in Northern Ireland for the research. The interviews were tape recorded.
A grounded theory data analysis approach was used to analyse the data collected by the
researchers. The data collected were transcribed verbatim immediately after the interviews

†
had been conducted. Good approach to data collection and analysis. The writer even presents
how the data was collected and analysed.

D
rÊÊ
       r  Ê ÊrÊ
   

rr  rÊ

Gabrielli (2010, p.280) has added significantly to our knowledge. First and foremost, his
research results prove that organisational size is a factor but not the primary attribute which
differentiates active firms from other firms when it comes to IMC in SMEs. They identified
internal dynamics to be the main differentiating factor. The research proves there is a gap
between theory and practice. According to the writer, the research was the first within the
context of SME to make use of a survey. (pp.287). Therefore, there are limitations with their
findings future research must take into consideration. The sample size was quiet small and
the research was limited to manufacturing industries.

O¶Donnell (1999) wanted to contribute and increase our understanding on existing literature
on SMEs and how SME owner-network activities contributed to marketing decision making.
The research was carried out to increase our understanding of what has been done already in
order to allow future research to build on his findings and that of previous learning and
knowledge. A more precise addition to knowledge is the results of the writer¶s findings.
According to the writer, to comprehend the activities of owner-managers of SMEs one must
make use of other approaches in collaboration with a conventional research method. (p.89)

å

 

 

Veronica Gabrielli
Social, Cognitive and Quantitative Sciences Department,
Communication Sciences and Economics Faculty, Reggio Emilia, Italy, and
Bernardo Balboni
Business Studies Department, Economics Faculty, Modena, Italy

r

 ± The purpose of this paper is to discover and empirically test the gap between the

theory and practice of integrated marketing communications (IMC) in small- and medium-

sized enterprises (SMEs).

!"#$!" ± The paper follows a quantitative approach, using the

questionnaire technique. Questionnaire items emerged from a literature review and a

qualitative step(in-depth interviews). The questionnaire was submitted to a sample of 210

manufacturing firms. Factor and cluster analysis were performed in order to give a

descriptive overview of different communication behavioural profiles within SMEs.

± The sample shows evidence of certain ability in marketing communication

management on the part of SMEs. A group of virtuous firms able to employ a great variety of

communication tools, to define in-depth and consistent messages and to declare ambitious

and long-term goals appears.

However, these firms do not adequately manage the internal organizational process aimed at

marketing communication planning. As well as these virtuous firms, a large group of firms

which show more gaps including in their range of activities, message, and goal definition,

-
still exists. Structural characteristics are useful but not exhaustive in order to understand the

existence of such a distance betweens active in communications and those with greater

communication gaps. Besides, structural characteristics, internal dynamism prove to be one

of the most important motivating factors in marketing communications.

"#!# ± Although this paper is restricted to a small sample,

it constitutes a significant starting point in attaching importance to marketing

communications

Within SMEs.

## ± From this paper, practitioners may understand where intervention

guidelines are needed in order to improve a marketing communications plan for a small or

medium enterprise.

#$!%#  ± Owing to the focus of previous research on large company practices, this

paper represents an original trial to empirically apply the IMC approach only within SMEs.

Keywords Small to medium-sized enterprises, Marketing communications, Cluster analysis

Paper type Conceptual paper

 
" &' #%""

 
r gg‘ g‘‘
 ‘
‘
" "

r"(##is a Research Assistant in Marketing at the School of Management,

University of Ulster at

Jordanstown, Northern Ireland, UK.

$# is a Research Assistant in Marketing at the School of Management,

University of Ulster at

Jordanstown, Northern Ireland, UK.

$

Marketing research, Methodology, Networking,

Northern Ireland, Relationship marketing,

Small to medium-sized enterprises

r

Network theory is becoming increasingly popular as a means of describing marketing in

SMEs, stemming from the growing recognition that traditional marketing theories are

somewhat inappropriate to the small firm. Of the research carried out to date, however, the

greater part has employed quantitative methods. Current thought is that the concepts of

networks and networking could be better investigated using more qualitative methods, and an

appropriate methodology is suggested. This article describes an ongoing qualitative study

which aims to discover how small firms use networks to make marketing decisions. The

study has taken the form of semi-structured interviews with owners and senior executives of


60 small companies across a wide array of industries in Northern Ireland. The key findings of

the study are discussed together with plans for future research.

‘
‘   ‘‘ ‘  ‘
‘‘‘ ‘‘‘‘‘‘ ‘
!‘"#‘$ %‘&  ‘‘''‘()*+)‘

c
Y  Y  ‘


    ac           

{  

  

 a   Œ  a-D a

 !  "  #  ! c $%  & '( %   %   

   




 a  a   ac

cc