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COMPREHENSIVE EXAM SAMPLE QUESTIONS

By Alvin Ruiz,2014-12-13 13:47
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COMPREHENSIVE EXAM SAMPLE QUESTIONS

PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE

    “I just don’t understand this philosophy of science stuff! As far as I can tell, all this [philosophy of science] amounts to is a bunch of high brow intellectual snobs getting a bunch of journal publications talking about stuff that nobody really cares about, especially marketing practitioners. Twenty years ago, the marketing discipline did not have any philosophy of science courses and the discipline got along just fine.”

    Demonstrate your knowledge and personal opinion of “philosophy of science” and its role in marketing by reacting to the previous statement. (a) Take a position for or against the statement and (b) support your position using relevant literature.

MARKETING THOUGHT

    Discuss the relationship between theory, research and science. What is the purpose of each? Given your discussion, is marketing a science? Why or why not?

    Early theories of marketing thought were marked by a controversy regarding the universality of marketing theory. On one hand, proponents of a universal theory argued that marketing is a discipline comprising concepts, tools, theories, practices and procedures that are applicable in all contexts. Opponents, on the other hand, argued that marketing thought is context bound. Explain the basis of this controversy and your position on this issue.

    All marketing professors take an ocean cruise on the S.S. Titanic II. While on the cruise, the ship accidentally (we think) strikes a boat filled with accounting professors. Unfortunately, the Titanic begins to sink rapidly (the boat with the accounting professors is totally unscathed). There is only one good lifeboat on the Titanic II and it only seats 4 people.

    a. Who among the thousands of marketing professors on the Titanic should be saved?

    Defend your choice by listing their specific contributions to the marketing literature.

    b. Who would be the first four you would throw off the boat?

    Many marketers believe that marketing is an applied discipline. Develop in detail the argument in favor of marketing being considered an applied discipline. Others contend that marketing is not an applied discipline. Please develop in detail this position. What are the implications of both positions for marketing research, teaching and practice. What are your personal views concerning this issue?

    Several scholars/authors have stated that, “Marketing is an Art, not a Science”. Still others have commented that, “Marketing is a Professional Discipline, not an Academic Discipline”.

    a. What is meant by the terms “science”, “art”, “professional” and “academic”?

    b. Evaluate and distinguish between these positions.

    c. What are the consequences, if any, for marketing teaching and research if this

    positions are held?

    d. What is the nature of the marketing discipline?

    During the last few years there has been an ongoing debate concerning the fundamental philosophical orientation that marketing does (and should) have. Writers such as Peter, Olson, Arndt and Anderson advocate what they call a “Relativistic/Constructionist” approach. They contrast this with the so called “Positivistic/Empiricist” approach, which supposedly “dominates” the marketing discipline today. Other writers have suggested that Peter, Olson and Anderson have misconstrued the fundamental tenets of current approaches to marketing science.

    a. What are the fundamental tenets of the approach to science sometimes labeled

    “modern” or “logical” empiricism?

    b. How do the fundamental tenets of modern empiricism differ from the

    “Relativistic/Constructionist” approach advocated by the above cited authors?

    c. Which of the two approaches do you believe would be more useful as a guide for

    progress in marketing science? Be sure to specify precisely why you choose the

    alternative you do.

    d. At the present time, the Section Editor for the Measurement Section of the Journal of

    Marketing Research is a “relativist”. Do you see any unique problems that a relativist

    would have in attempting to fulfill the functions of a Marketing Measurement Section

    Editor? If so, what are these problems?

    There are many sayings such as “history repeats itself,” “we learn form our mistakes,” and “someone has probably thought about that before”. These sayings, while varied, point out the importance of history. All disciplines have historical roots and development and marketing is no exception. Bartels and others have stated that marketing has been impacted by events which have occurred and the people involved in the “practice” of marketing. While the exact amount and type of impact can be debated, it is true that the present status of the marketing discipline has been impacted in some way, by what has transpired in times past.

    Differentiate between normative theory and positive theory. Must the development of positive theory necessarily precede the development of normative theory? Do all normative theories rest upon an essentially positive base?

    Summarize the empiricism-rationalism debate. To what extent does the discovery/ justification distinction help us understand the debate? To what extent does the fallible/infallible distinction help us? In your judgment, which side of the debate had the better case?

    Many theories and models in marketing consist primarily of a diagram with boxes, each having a single concept or construct and various arrows connecting the boxes. Are these theories? If no, what additionally would be needed to construct a theory? If yes, discuss how they meet the requirements of a theory.

    Some analysts think segmentation is a concept that is in the declining stage of its life cycle.

    1. What is the basis for this belief and do you agree?

    2. Discuss two other marketing concepts or constructs that have had historical significance

    to marketing that have gone through the life cycle. Discuss the relevance to marketing

    thought.

    The product life cycle (PLC) concept has been applied to a variety of phenomena in the discipline of marketing. Use the PLC as a framework for discussing marketing research. In doing so, identify streams of scholarly research that you believe to be in each stage of the PLC. Explain and critique each stream, citing examples of relevant research. Be sure to state the criteria you use to assign each stream of research to a life cycle stage. What leads to rapid growth of research in a particular stage? Use examples in your answer.

    Compare and contrast the functional school of marketing thought and the managerial school.

GENERAL MARKETING KNOWLEDGE

    Select one of the following major areas of marketing and identify the ten most significant events and individuals which have had the most impact on its present state of development. Include mention of books, articles, monographs, etc. which have been published that reflect those significant events and people. The major area you select must come from the following:

    Marketing Theory Promotional mix

    Consumer Behavior New product development

    Sales Management Marketing research

    Make certain that when appropriate, you link the various events, people, publications, etc. together to show the pattern of thought development in the area you have selected.

    Discuss any five (5) of the following concepts, writing about 2 pages on each. Be sure to cite any relevant research

     Satisfaction Transaction Cost Analysis & Principal-agent theory

     Store image Behavioral decision theory

     Comparative advertising Reference pricing & its effect on choice

     E-commerce Localized vs. Globalized Strategies

     Competitive market structure Rationale for sales promotions

     Memory representation Expectations and Perceived Service Quality

     Brand loyalty vs. spurious loyalty Experimental vs. quasi-experimental design

     Localized vs. global strategies Regression vs. ANOVA

     Affect vs. cognition Multidimensional techniques vs. factor analysis

     Prisoner’s dilemma Stepwise regression

     Theory of reasoned action Stochastic models

     Heteroskedasticity Conjoint analysis

     Perceived quality

MARKETING CONCEPT

    The marketing concept is generally considered one of the most important foundations for the practice of good marketing. As a consequence, the marketing concept is often “taken for

    granted” as a sound philosophy by which to operate a business.

    a. What limitations, if any, do you see in the application and implementation of the

    marketing concept? Be sure to describe and evaluate recent marketing literature that

    has addressed both the appropriateness and the implementation issues associated with

    the marketing concept.

    b. Assume that you are a director for The Marketing Science Institute and you have

    named research on the use and implementation of the marketing concept as an MSI

    priority. Develop a general list of research questions that you believe would be

    worthy of funding.

    What is the marketing concept? Trace the origins of the concept and then relate your version of the current from of the concept. Is the marketing concept a theory? Why or why not? How is a market orientation related to the marketing concept? When you teach marketing, will you include the marketing concept in the topics you cover; why or why not?

MARKET SEGMENTATION

    If there is one concept that has continuously captured the fancy of marketing managers and scholars over the twenty years, it is market segmentation.

    a. Explicitly discuss the meaning of market segmentation and the rationale underlying

    its use.

    b. Identify and discuss the variables that have over the last 10 to 15 years received

    considerable attention as basis for segmenting the market. (Rather that an arbitrary

    ordering of these variables, place them, during your discussion, in a framework useful

    for categorical purposes.

    c. If a marketing manager today (1990) asked you to tell him/her which of the above

    variables is (are) the superior segmentation variable(s), what would you tell him/her?

    Why?

PRODUCT POSITIONING

    Marketing modelers often claim that "optimal site selection for a new retail outlet in geographic space is similar to optimal positioning of a new product in perceptual space." Briefly review modeling approaches in these 2 areas and identify (or develop / propose) a model that can be used (with few modifications) for retail site selection and optimal product positioning.

    In July, J.C. Penney opened seven new stores in the area. In an unusually opportunistic move, the stores were purchased from a bankrupt retailer at auction. Penney’s main competitor in all locations is Hecht’s. Two of Penney’s main objectives are: 1) to overcome its image as a “plain Jane retail chain” and 2) to establish a secure niche in the middle of the market between upscale competitors and discount mass merchandisers. Over the next five years, the marketing research division will be monitoring consumer perceptions to evaluate the company’s progress in repositioning itself. Plan a research program for J. C. Penney to use in evaluating its position in the market, now and during the next five years. Proceed as you would in planning any study, by doing the following:

    a. Briefly summarize the relevant literature, and derive at least 2 testable hypotheses.

    b. Draw a model showing the important concepts and how they are related.

    c. Present all stages in the methodology, including the statistics you will use to test your

    hypotheses

    d. Discuss the implications of your research for the company’s marketing strategy

DIFFUSION OF INNOVATION stSome researchers have suggested that as marketers move into the 21 century, better

    understanding of the diffusion and adoption patterns of technology-based innovations will be a critical piece of the complex puzzle of how to remain profitable in a high-tech information world. Discuss each of the following statements or questions:

     What are the general theoretical underpinnings of diffusion on innovation theory?

    Identify and assess the measurement issues associated with the theory (i.e., reliability,

    validity, theory assumptions)?

     What are the critical issues surrounding the employment of diffusion theory to

    understanding consumers adoption rates of advanced technology-based innovations?

     Discuss the constructs of “perceived risk” and “forced adoption” and how they impact the

    diffusion of innovation process?

     How might consumers innovativeness and adoption processes impact the marketing

    opportunities and problems associated with the “information superhighway”?

    What are the important assumptions (or limitations) of the Diffusion of Innovations Models in marketing? Since the Bass diffusion model was proposed in 1969, what have been the major research streams in the area? Briefly explain each of these streams with appropriate cites.

RESEARCH-QUALITATIVE

    Suppose that you tell a fellow AMA doctoral consortium candidate that you have taken a course that examined methods of collecting and analyzing qualitative data. She responds: “Why are you bothering with that weird science? Those kind of people don’t do real science. They don’t use scientific sampling; they collect unreliable, anecdotal data. There’s no rigor involved; its

    too touchy-feely. You can’t establish the validity of their claims. Besides anybody can do it.” Formulate a response to the colleague grounded in the philosophy of science and methodological principles to which you have been exposed.

    Describe and discuss the philosophy and method of Existential-Phenomenology. Using examples from recent consumer research, illustrate the advantages and potential limitations of the phenomenological interview. Compare and contrast the existential-phenomenological approach to consumer understanding