The value of context-specific studies for marketing

Stefan Stremersch*, Jorge Gonzalez, Albert Valenti, Julian Villanueva

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


This paper clarifies why context-specific studies have scientific merit and provides recommendations to authors and journal stewards on how to develop them well. A context-specific study is a study in a unique setting yielding conclusions that can be considered to have limited generalizability to other settings. A firm’s industry—think of pharmaceuticals, video games, movies, platform markets, sharing economy—may represent an unambiguous example of a specific context. Unfortunately, the generalizability-specificity dilemma is often misunderstood. Generalizability is excessively heralded as the ideal, and studies in specific contexts are too often denigrated, while both intrinsically can be valuable to the advancement of knowledge. The present paper aims to (1) provide a more nuanced system of beliefs for marketing scholarship to adopt in favor of specificity; (2) offer a helping hand to authors and editors when developing and publishing context-specific studies; (3) review successful examples from the prior literature; and (4) offer clear implications for scholars.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-65
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of the Academy of Marketing Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

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