The power of institutions on international marketing: reflections on the COVID-19 pandemic can inform international marketing activities

Academic Article


  • PurposeThe COVID-19 pandemic highlights the influence that nation-states can have on the engagement of international marketing activities. The purpose of this study is to understand the influence of the institutional response to the COVID-19 pandemic on international marketing activities and to highlight the need to formally incorporate institutional economics into the study of international marketing phenomena.Design/methodology/approachThe paper uses institutional economics as the environmental element of the general theory of competitive rationality to present a foundation for understanding how state actions influence marketing and international marketing activities. Data are presented and empirically tested, demonstrating the heterogeneity of government influence on personal and economic freedoms during the pandemic, both of which influenced international marketing activities. To broaden the implications of this work, we also provide anecdotal illustrations unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic to demonstrate the breadth of nation-state influence on international marketing activities.FindingsHeterogeneity in nation-state formal and informal institutional elements influence international marketing activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, other incidents, unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrate the importance of contextualizing international marketing activities under a holistic institutional framework.Originality/valueThe paper employs the general theory of competitive rationality along with institutional economics to provide a theoretical foundation to better understand the differential impact on international marketing as a result of formal and informal institutional influences. This general framework can be employed to provide a holistic understanding of both international and cross-national marketing activities.
  • Authors

  • Griffith, David A
  • Yalcinkaya, Goksel
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • June 28, 2022
  • Has Subject Area

    Published In


  • COVID-19
  • Cultural values
  • Formal institutions
  • General theory of competitive rationality
  • Government
  • Informal institutions
  • Institutional economics
  • Law
  • Pandemic
  • Regulation
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 957
  • End Page

  • 980
  • Volume

  • 40
  • Issue

  • 5