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Spontaneity and international marketing performance

Souchon, Anne L.; Hughes, Paul; Farrell, Andrew M.; Nemkova, Ekaterina; Oliveira, Joao S.


Anne L. Souchon

Paul Hughes

Andrew M. Farrell

Ekaterina Nemkova

Joao S. Oliveira


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to ascertain how today’s international marketers can perform better on the global scene by harnessing spontaneity.
Design/methodology/approach – The authors draw on contingency theory to develop a model of the spontaneity – international marketing performance relationship, and identify three potential moderators, namely, strategic planning, centralization, and market dynamism. The authors test the model via structural equation modeling with survey data from 197 UK exporters.
Findings – The results indicate that spontaneity is beneficial to exporters in terms of enhancing profit performance. In addition, greater centralization and strategic planning strengthen the positive effects of spontaneity. However, market dynamism mitigates the positive effect of spontaneity on export performance (when customer needs are volatile, spontaneous decisions do not function as well in terms of ensuring success).
Practical implications – Learning to be spontaneous when making export decisions appears to result in favorable outcomes for the export function. To harness spontaneity, export managers should look to develop company heuristics (increase centralization and strategic planning). Finally, if operating in dynamic export market environments, the role of spontaneity is weaker, so more conventional decision-making approaches should be adopted.
Originality/value – The international marketing environment typically requires decisions to be flexible and fast. In this context, spontaneity could enable accelerated and responsive decision-making, allowing international marketers to realize superior performance. Yet, there is a lack of research on decision-making spontaneity and its potential for international marketing performance enhancement.


Souchon, A. L., Hughes, P., Farrell, A. M., Nemkova, E., & Oliveira, J. S. (2016). Spontaneity and international marketing performance. International Marketing Review, 33(5),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 20, 2016
Publication Date Sep 1, 2016
Deposit Date Nov 30, 2016
Publicly Available Date Sep 2, 2018
Journal International Marketing Review
Print ISSN 0265-1335
Electronic ISSN 0265-1335
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 33
Issue 5
Keywords Exporting, International marketing, Spontaneity, Performance, Decision- making, Contingency theory
Public URL
Publisher URL
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address:


IMR_Spontaneity (002).pdf (1.2 Mb)

Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address:

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