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A Critique of Thirty Years of Systematic Review Research in Business-to-Business Marketing: The Pursuit of Rigor

Coombes, Philip ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1174-5652 (2023) A Critique of Thirty Years of Systematic Review Research in Business-to-Business Marketing: The Pursuit of Rigor. In: 39th Annual IMP Conference, 23-25 August 2023, Manchester, UK.

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This paper first presents a critique of the deployment and impact of systematic review methodologies in business-to-business (B2B) marketing scholarship during the past thirty years. Literature reviews are an essential feature of academic research because, fundamentally, the advancement of knowledge must be built on prior existing work, and to push the frontiers of knowledge, we must be clear as to where these frontiers are presently situated. Literature reviews can be undertaken through two broad approaches. First, through a subjective approach based on a qualitative narrative analysis of the literature and, second, through an objective approach based on a quantitative systematic analysis. Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages and therefore, should be seen as being complementary in discovering emerging trends in article and journal performance, authorship, and research patterns, to help gain an understanding of the evolution and intellectual structure of fields of study. Whilst systematic reviews have been increasingly deployed in leading business and management journals, they are still relatively new in marketing journals with the earliest paper evidenced in a B2B marketing journal in 1992. We argue, therefore, further, and deeper systematic analysis of this situation seems appropriate and timely. Using academic databases, the findings reveal the recent substantial increase in, as well as the prominent authors engaging with, the deployment of systematic review methodologies. However, whilst the number of systematic review publications has begun to increase in recent years, arguably, many continue to be poorly undertaken and reported due to a lack of rigorous protocols. Therefore, the paper second represents a call-to-action for B2B marketing scholarship to engage further with systematic review protocols to understand the breadth and depth of existing bodies of work and hence identify relevant gaps in knowledge that can be explored further.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Status: Published
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5410 Marketing. Distribution of products
School/Department: York Business School
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/8518

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