Non-Marketing Strategy in the International Business

Title: Non-Marketing Strategy in the International Business: Driving values through stakeholder engagement

An MNC’s strategic direction to manage social and political risks while facilitating the stakeholder engagement for gaining competitive advantage in the developing countries

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Research proposal


Research aim

This research aims at identifying the non-marketing strategies applied by the MNC that drive values through engaging the stakeholders effectively.

Research objectives

In order to achieve this research’s aim, the following are the objectives:

  • To determine the concept and aspects of non-marketing strategies
  • To focus on the approach through that MNCs manage social and political risks through a strategic direction
  • To interpret the importance of stakeholder engagement and strategies through that stakeholders to get engaged
  • To elaborate the relationship between values such as competitive advantage and engagement of external stakeholder
  • To investigate the theoretical perspectives on the non-marketing strategies driving values for MNCs through stakeholder engagement

Research questions

Primary RQ: How does an MNC through its strategic direction manage social and political risks?

RQ1: How is the concept of marketing strategies different from the concept of non-marketing strategies?

RQ2: What does the concept of stakeholder engagement?

RQ3: How does the external stakeholder engagement help an MNC achieving competitive advantage?

RQ4: What is the contribution of theoretical perspective on non-marketing strategies and stakeholder engagement to meet this research aim?

A brief background of the research

This research is about non-marketing strategies that the MNCs apply to create a favourable environment in which firms can manage the social and political risks. A company’s performance highly depends on the legal, social, and political context within which the company operates that is its non-market environment (Aggarwal, 2001). Since business managers experience a broad range of non-market opportunities and risks in a multi-polar world, thus this research is about identifying the strategies with which these business managers could handle these fluctuating situations.

Significance of this research

This research is, of value and, importance as well because this research is the only opportunity for the researcher to show the calibre and potential with which the researcher can be a part of the respective university. Furthermore, this research is also important because it offers a scope to present the extent of knowledge and skills, which the researcher has, of conducting rich research and this would be sufficient enough to prove the skills the researcher has to be part of the PhD department. In addition, this research is of value because delivering this research effectively can improve the existing knowledge about non-marketing strategies, stakeholder engagement, and gain knowledge regarding various theories. Thus, this research is of value because the study of non-market strategies is necessary and valuable from the perspective of a business manager.

Structure of this proposal

This research is proposed to go about grabbing a chance to be a part of the concerned university. This proposal is proposed in such a manner that gives a direction to the researcher to at first introduce the basics of conducting research, then grasping command over the theoretical and conceptual knowledge about the topic, then introducing the methods to be fitted to this research, and then disclosing the expected outcomes. Hence, these would be the steps through which the entire research is to be proposed, wherein an extensive emphasis needs to be provided to acquiring conceptual knowledge regarding this topic, for which the researcher needs to utilize a wide range of secondary data resources.

Literature Review_1000

Non-Marketing concept and strategies

According to Frynas et al., (2017), a non-marketing environment consists of the legal, political, and social arrangements, which propose structuring the company’s interactions outside of, along with in conjunction with the markets. Korhonen-Sande (2010) commented that if a non-marketing manager actively integrates the customer information to which they are exposed, then their increasingly improved understanding of their customers can boost their ability for using new information, which the marketing and sales contact person offer them. Strategies based on non-market are all about managing a wider institutional context in which a company operates, which is opposite to the narrowly economic context associated with market competition. However, Rodrigo (2019) commented that non-market strategies can be defined as the collaborated and coordinated actions that a firm undertakes in the public policy area and these strategies are regarded as transactional and relational.

MNCs adopts non-marketing strategies to manage social and political risks

Pels and Seth (2021) stated that a successful marketing program is one, which uses non-marketing resources, both external and internal resources of the company. However, an MNC while delivering a successful marketing plan utilizing the non-marketing resources needs to focus on 4As such as Awareness, Acceptability, Accessibility, and Affordability. However, Frynas et al., (2017) reflected that it is important for the MNCs to navigate the non-marketing environment that often needs such skill sets that are completely different from the conventional commercial firms in terms of both the political capabilities and skills and social capabilities and skills. Voinea and van Kranenburg (2018) stated that the MNCs being dependent on non-market institutions might have to pursue social or political objectives for aligning their interests with those institutions. These institutions focus on legal and social norms with rules, which underlie the economic activities, thus being educated and trained from non-marketing institutions help the MNCs not only identifying the social and political risks but also to manage those risks. Dorobantu et al., (2017) stated that a firm to pursue its additive, transformative or adaptive intent needs to select whether to do so on its own or in the collaboration with others. For example, collaboration emphasizes multilateral and bilateral governance arrangements and further involves alliances with other companies including collaborations with the non-market stakeholders such as non-governmental organizations, local communities, activists, and local communities. This type of collaboration could also be achieved through a formal contract, which depends on the threat of a legal penalty for enforcement. Puck et al., (2018) stated that to deal with the threats provided by the political environment of a market, firms get engaged in non-marketing strategies that direct the MNCs for responding to the regulatory and political pressures through using the corporate political activities along with non-engaged and engaged approaches. Furthermore, non-marketing strategies lead MNCs for creating strategic opportunities to the political environment, such as favourable investment conditions and preferential treatments. On another side, Dorobantu et al., (2017) stated that the selection of a non-marketing strategy depends on the characteristics of the firm such as an MNC having strong capabilities to bear political and social risks, prefer to pursue non-marketing strategies independently for enhancing their competitive advantage. This strategy has a broader consequence on the social performance of a firm positively.

Stakeholder engagement and strategies

Voinea and Van Kranenburg (2017) commented that non-market stakeholders are the ones, who interact with the firm on a non-economic basis and further assess the organizational performance on various factors except profit such as CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). Consequently, the companies majorly experience pressures from the engagement of non-market stakeholders while shaping their CSR practices. As per the viewpoint of Taghian et al., (2015), the non-marketing functions of the companies such as manufacturing and finance are not often publicized, and thus do not contribute substantially to the reputation of the company. Therefore, profits do not associate with the company’s reputation directly. The companies having a higher control in selecting the claims offered by their key stakeholders and while tailoring the particular CSR practices, the managers only perceive those claims that sound morally legitimate thus these claims could gain the manager’s interest. Liedong et al., (2017) commented that a firm having a strong MPT (Managerial Political Ties) while opening a CSR initiative is likely for attracting the media coverage, thus it results in increasing the visibility of the firm and ratings by its key stakeholders. Furthermore, if a company has strong PA (Public Affairs) that acts as a window, then it increases the transparency, trust, and visibility between the firm and its stakeholders, and further improves the institutional legitimacy. As a result, the stakeholders prefer the most to engage with the firms. Lynn et al., (2020) suggested that it is difficult for determining how the context based on socioeconomic affects the smaller company’s engagement with the social responsibility issues. On the other side, these firms assert that those, who do not engage in the activities for doing so grab the opportunities and engage the stakeholders. Thus, size matters to the stakeholder engagement, whereas as a PA out, it shapes the public stakeholder and private stakeholder’s opinions that bring them engaged in any initiative.

Stakeholder engagement enhances values for an MNC_100

Liu (2017) stated that from the political perspective, a firm is an open system that gets embedded in the political, social, and cultural environment, where, the government, employees, consumers, community, suppliers, investors and other group stakeholders or actors of the enterprise collaborate. Thus, stakeholder’s engagement protects the firm’s survival and keeps the enterprise achieving the competitive advantage, however in-between the stakeholders utilize the enterprise for achieving their interests and rights. Odziemkowska (2019) commented about Field theory that since a firm increasingly engages its stakeholders in a novel manner, this theory offers the possibility for considering how these novel tricks and tactics could, represent any deviance from the field norms of stakeholder, and result in inter-stakeholder discords. Mbalyohere and Lawton (2018) commented that in managing the relationships with the stakeholders, MNCs eventually influence one of the most important external stakeholders such as the government for being more accommodating of the broader stakeholder dynamics. Hence, the government enhances the firm’s performance in terms of foreign policy, which is driven by the diplomatic and close political relationship between the firm and the government.

Theoretical perspective on non-marketing_200

According to Banerjee et al., (2019), institutional theory recognizes the significance of non-market CPA by the subsidiaries of MNC in response to the host country regulations. Hence, for effective operations regarding MNC subsidiaries, it seems to be imperative for focusing not only on designing a suitable market strategy, but also concentrating on creating a suitable non-market CPA (Corporate Political Activity). This theory inspires the non-market outcomes based on favourable decisions by the government and the subsidiary legitimacy. Awan et al., (2017) focused on Stakeholder theory that has two perspectives as normative and institutional. For instance, from the institutional perspective, the respective theory deals with how an MNC can gain competitive advantage through incorporating its key stakeholders, however, normative perspective reflects the reason that is why the MNC needs to incorporate stakeholders into its decision-making process. In addition, stakeholder normative theory aligned with resource base helps an MNC for adapting accordingly to the changes that occurred in the market conditions, and could further lead to a long-lasting improvement in their performance. However, Harrison et al., (2015) commented that stakeholder theory is found to be an effective approach, which promotes an efficient, practical, ethical, and effective manner for managing the organizations in a highly turbulent and complex environment. This theory further advocates treating every single stakeholder with honesty, generosity, and fairness.

Literature Gap

After going through the literature, it is identified that there a gap exists, which seeks for carrying out further research in a theoretical approach. Thus, the gap is based on the lack of theoretical perspectives, theories, and models provided in the literature. Furthermore, if the concepts discussed in the literature could focus more on socio-political risks, then the credibility of that literature would of a high level. In addition, there is a gap related to the lack of current/recent articles, which would focus on non-marketing strategies in this digital world. Further research is needed because the above gaps could be fulfilled in that research.


Proposed method_150

In order to address the research question, the steps taken are initiated with reviewing the secondary data by using the secondary sources such as journals, articles, and e-books, then to jump into deciding the suitable method to obtain primary data on the same aspect, and then to present the expected outcomes associated with that Research Question. Research methods are traditionally labelled as quantitative or qualitative, which are different from each other and has gained much attention from the researcher (Chu and Ke, 2017). However, in this context, primary qualitative as the research method will be selected by the researcher. Since, this research aims at obtaining real, evidence-based, and practical data on non-marketing strategies, thus qualitative research would be the best-suited because it is concerned with the aspects of reality, which cannot be quantified, and focuses on the dynamics of social relation. This method would be used as this research will lead the researcher for gaining knowledge about the values, attitudes, motives, and beliefs that an MNC manager carries while applying non-marketing strategies.

Types of data

In this research, the researcher will be using primary and secondary data, for instance, secondary data would be used to gain a conceptual and theoretical perspective on the respective topic. However, primary data will be used to gain a practical perspective on the same topic by indulging primary qualitative research method. Thus, secondary data would be extracted from secondary sources and primary data would be collected directly from the major sources such as experiments, surveys, interviews, observations, and all.

Data collection method_100

The researcher will be utilizing the qualitative method to collect the primary data to meet the research question. Thus, the researcher will organize an interview session by involving the managers of an MNC, Virgin Atlantic as the research participants. Online methods and electronic devices would be used to organize this interview session, for instance, the researcher would conduct this interview through Zoom, which is a cloud-based videoconferencing service for the qualitative data collection method. Advancements in the ICT fields offer new opportunities to interview the research participants and the use of digital technologies is cost-effective as compared to in-person interviews (Archibald et al., 2019). Hence, on Zoom, the researcher would be able to securely record and store the entire interview session without any resource to third-party software. Hence, this method of data collection would be cost-effective, secured, and convenient for both the ends such as the interviewer and marketing manager of Atlantic Company. Thus, the marketing manager, Public Relation Manager, and HR Manager of the respective company would be interviewed.

Data analysis Technique_100

In order to analyse the data collected from the primary qualitative method, the suitable technique to analyse the gathered data would be “QCA (Qualitative Content Analysis)”. QCA is a research technique for describing and then interpreting the textual data through utilizing the system process of interpretation or coding (Assarroudi et al., 2018). The researcher with this technique will identify the patterns or themes to be extracted from the transcriptions that the interviewee (managers of the respective company) would have provided to the interviewer. Thus, QCA would allow the researcher to go through the transcripts several times to form an impression associated with the story of the managers. In addition, for gaining a comprehensive view of the story shared by the managers with the researcher, it is important to repetitively read the interview transcripts that would provide a deeper acquaintance with the experiences shared by these managers. In this way, the researcher could gain adequate understanding and knowledge to meet the research question from both the perspective conceptual and practical.

Ethical considerations

The behaviour of a researcher towards the research participants needs to revolve around principles such as informed consent, rights to confidentiality, privacy and anonymity, and do not harm (Brittain et al., 2020). Thus, this researcher’s behaviour will thoroughly be revolving through the principles mentioned earlier, since the researcher will ask the interviewees for their voluntary participation, maintain anonymity and confidentiality, and informed the consent. Apart from this, the researcher will be applying the Data Protection Act 1998, under which every data obtained from either secondary source or primary source would be stored confidentially and will not be exchanged for personal use.


The limitations of this research would be time and budget, for instance, due to inadequate budget, the researcher could not carry out primary quantitative research method as well, which along with qualitative could provide statistical analysis of the data and information obtained from that method. However, time would be another limitation due to that the interview session could not be carried out for a longer period, thus the researcher will need to be limiting himself/herself to gain a completely clear perspective on the research question.

Time Schedule

Activities Day1-Day5 Day6-Day10 Day11-Day14 Day15-Day19 Day20-Day24 Day25-Day 30
Selection of an appropriate topic            
Introducing the basics of research such as aim, objectives, question and background            
Research’s importance and proposed structure are to be explored in the next phase            
Use of secondary sources to grasp conceptual knowledge            
Introducing the suitable methods        


Data collection methods and analysis techniques are selected            


Declaration of ethical considerations concerning this research            


Exploration of the expected findings of this research          





Expected findings

The expected findings of this research would be the practical and conceptual perspective on the non-marketing strategies, their aspects, importance, and their relationship with the social and political risks. Thus, it is expected that the findings of this research would contribute to the knowledge quota of the researcher by making the researcher known about the stakeholder engagement, and its relationship with the non-marketing strategies. Furthermore, advancement in theoretical understanding and perceptions would be also enhanced as per the expectations from the findings, which further would contribute to the limited knowledge of governmental policy and practices applied in institutional context and non-marketing as well.

List of references




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