Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice Call for Papers: Special Issue

Strategic Marketing and Resource-Advantage (R-A) Theory in Marketing's Era V (2020-?): Implications for Research, Practice, and Pedagogy

Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice

This special issue aims to disseminate the latest theoretical and empirical efforts in exploring, developing, and applying resource-advantage (R-A) theory in strategic marketing. R-A theory is presently influential in strategic marketing, but may be even more influential in the discipline’s future, which is characterized by “prospects that are both promising and problematic” (Hunt, 2018b, p. l).

The marketing discipline and the area of strategic marketing can be segmented into five critical eras (Wilkie and Moore 2003; Hunt 2018a).  In ‘Era I’ (1900-1920), strategic marketing was an essential part of the newly founded marketing discipline. In ‘Era II’ (1920-1950), strategic marketing was neglected, as the discipline focused on the functions of marketing systems.  In ‘Era III’ (1950-1980) both the overall discipline and strategic marketing rose to prominence.  And in ‘Era IV’ (1980-present), the marketing discipline and strategic marketing have become collections of disciplinary fragments, rather than cohesive wholes.    

R-A theory is an integrative, overarching theory that helps explain changes in markets and when strategies will/will not work well.  R-A theory enables researchers to study firm performance, economic crises, and economic growth beyond the traditional constructs comprising equilibrium-based, neoclassical economics.     

Furthermore, R-A theory can help us understand the roles of investment, innovation and organizational learning in marketing strategy.  It may better depict the shifts of fortune in the world economy, such as those in emerging markets, during the last decades.  The combination of economic (capital, technology) and socio-political (role of government and population policies) forces in recent decades have led to rapid economic growth (Kanbur, 2005; Kotler, Roberto, and Leisner, 2006; Shapiro and Shultz, 2009). Investigating other societal issues, such as national campaigns to address education and poverty, might benefit by the lens of R-A theory.

Finally, in teaching marketing, in particular marketing strategy, student learning can be greatly enhanced by the integrative theoretical foundations offered by R-A theory (Hunt and Madhavaram, 2006), yet more work on using R-A theory as a foundation for teaching other courses would be useful.

Previous works on R-A theory have developed its foundational premises and many of its implications (e.g., Hunt, 2000; Hunt and Morgan, 1995). Lacking are specific empirical tests of the theory, for example, empirical tests of marketing concepts such as customer satisfaction, customer perceived value, and product/service quality viewed through the lens of R-A theory.  Also, applying the theory into new domains, such as governments and nonprofits would be productive. 

Thus, based on R-A theory and its role in strategic marketing, topics for this special issue may include, but are not limited to:

  • Comparing the effects of R-A theory’s proactive innovation with the effects of reactive innovation in tune with firm comparative advantages in specific markets.
  • Using R-A theory to distinguish between business and marketing strategy. 
  • Using R-A theory as a foundation for a general theory of marketing.
  • Comparing the importance of resource allocation versus resource creation in firm strategy. 
  • The criminal or non-fiduciary misallocation of resources as leading to positions of competitive disadvantage, as seen in the recent financial crisis.
  • Using R-A theory to link the role of social trust and/or codes of conduct to firm performance, economic development, and consumer well-being.
  • Measuring well-being beyond firm-level performance and/or country-level economic development.
  • Evaluating the role of established marketing constructs (e.g. customer satisfaction, customer experience, customer perceived value, service quality, relationship marketing, and customer equity) in developing and sustaining comparative and competitive positional advantages. 
  • Assessing the role of innovation, technology and/or organizational learning in the configuration of firm competitive and comparative advantages in specific markets.
  • Applying R-A theory to non-business entities such as nonprofits, nongovernmental organizations, governmental agencies, governments, political entities, nations, alliances, partnerships, and cartels.
  • Integrating higher-order resources (e.g., absorptive capacity, market-focused strategic flexibility, learning platform capability – See Hunt & Madhavaram (2012) for specifics) into firms’ comparative advantages in specific markets.
  • Assessing the role of competitors and their suppliers in the configuration of firm competitive and comparative advantages in specific markets.
  • Assessing the role of public policy and the role of government in the configuration of firm competitive and comparative advantages. 
  • Transforming societal resources into firm comparative advantages. 
  • Relating societal institutions to firm comparative advantages. 
  • Assessing the measures of firm performance currently used in contrast to the measures of superior financial performance in the R-A theory. 
  • Teaching firm strategy by integrating business and marketing strategies in the R-A theoretical framework.
  • Teaching R-A theory by linking its structure and composition to the established concepts of business marketing strategies.

Other topics can be considered if related to the main theme of the special issue.

Submission Process

The due date for submissions of manuscripts is September 1, 2019.  Only original papers not currently under review or published in other journals may be submitted.  The Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice website provides information about the journal’s positioning, instructions for authors, and information about the review process. Please precisely follow the guide for authors and submit all manuscripts by email to: Clearly indicate that the paper is for the Special Issue on the resource-advantage (R-A) theory. Attach the manuscript and your cover letter as separate documents. Before being placed into review, each manuscript will initially be screened for adherence to JMTP style guidelines and if not properly formatted it will be returned to the author.

If you have additional questions about the special issue, please contact the guest editors directly.



Hunt, S.D. (2000), A General Theory of Competition: Resources, Competences, Productivity, Economic Growth, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Hunt S.D. (2018a), Advancing Marketing Strategy in the Marketing Discipline and Beyond: From Promise, to Neglect, to Prominence, to Fragment (to Promise?), Journal of Marketing Management, 34 (1-2), pp. 16-51.

Hunt, S.D. (2018b), The Prospects for Marketing Strategy and the Marketing Discipline in Era V: is the Prognosis Promising or Problematic? Journal of Marketing Management, 34 (1-2), pp. 86-95.

Hunt, S.D. and S. Madhavaram (2006), Teaching Marketing Strategy: Using Resource-Advantage Theory as an Integrative Theoretical Foundation, Journal or Marketing Education, 28 (2), pp. 93-105.

Hunt, S.D. and S. Madhavaram (2012), Managerial Action and Resource-Advantage Theory: Conceptual Frameworks Emanating from a Positive Theory of Competition, Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, 27 (7), pp. 582-91.

Hunt, S.D. and R.M. Morgan (1995), The Comparative Advantage Theory of Competition, Journal of Marketing, 59(2), pp. 1-15.

Kanbur, R. (2005), Growth, inequality and poverty: some hard questions, Journal of International Affairs, Spring, pp. 223-32.

Kotler, P., N. Roberto, and T. Leisner (2006), Alleviating poverty: a macro-micro marketing perspective, Journal of Macromarketing, 26, pp. 233-8

Shapiro, S. and C. Shultz II (2009), Macromarketing, Controversy and Economic Development Just Before and Now During the Global Meltdown, European Business Review, 21 (4), pp. 313-325.

Wilkie, W.L., and E.S. Moore (2003), Scholarly Research in Marketing: Exploring the “4 Eras” of Thought Development, Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, 22(2), pp. 116-146.

Editorial information