Interview with Prof. Fredrik Nordin
Prof. Fredrik Nordin
Fredrik Nordin is a professor of business administration, specializing in marketing. He is also Head of the Marketing Section at Stockholm Business School. Prior to his academic career, he spent more than ten years in the industry.
Fredrik, you chaired last year the CBIM2017 in Stockholm. Can you tell us about the profile of the participants? How was the experience?
The conference attracted about 75 participants from 20 countries, including Kenya, New Zealand, Germany, Russia and the United States, for instance. Striking many participants were well-established researchers and professors. Others were doctoral students who presented for the first time at a conference. The participants presented exciting research on various aspects of marketing, such as value creation, internationalization, innovation, and business relations. Session chairs moderated the discussions and at least two senior conference participants assessed all contributions for possible publication in special issues. Altogether, we are very pleased with the event and although of course it was a little stressful to be an organizer, it was also a very nice experience. Together with the participants, I feel that we conducted a very successful conference, with interesting presentations and pleasant interaction in an easy-going atmosphere.
Who were the Guest Speakers of CBIM2017?
Three guest speakers were especially invited and had a session each where they discussed different topics related to the theme of the conference: Pervez Ghauri, Cristina Mele and Jaana Tähtinen. In addition, the conference’s key figures, Wesley Johnston and Tom Brashear, gave final speeches during the last day of the conference.
In 2010 you published the interesting article “Solutions offerings: a critical review and reconceptualization” that has received a lot interest. Can you tell us about this paper?
Yes, I remember that it was relatively quick and reasonably easy to write the article, probably because we had a clear idea of what we wanted to write. For several years, we had been interested in services and solutions, but realized that the debate about solutions was not always particularly insightful. We felt that the great interest in solutions was not really followed by the same great understanding of the phenomenon, neither in business nor academia. Therefore, we wrote the article in an attempt to clarify certain things in the debate about solutions, criticize others, and stimulate further development. Looking at the number of citations, it appears to have been a welcome contribution. Admittedly, however, the article title is probably the key to the number of citations. A clear title attracts readers and I believe our title makes the article easy to find for those interested in reading about solutions.
Fredrik, please tell us more about your research?
Recently, I have worked in several directions in my research, including innovation, learning, and networking. Among other things, this has resulted in an article recently published in IMM (“Network Management in Emerging High-Tech Business Contexts: Critical Capabilities and Activities”, co-authored with Ravald, Möller, and Mohr). Most often, my focus has been knowledge-intensive technology companies. In addition to this, I have been trying to develop my ideas about transcendental marketing, including how values and spirituality can affect marketing and value creation. There seems to be a development in society in this direction but research in marketing seems to lag behind. I also think it is extremely stimulating to follow and support the development of my PhD students, working in fascinating areas like augmented reality, rituals, immigrant entrepreneurs, and reverse marketing.
What message do you have for young researchers on marketing?
I would like to take up the cudgels for engaged scholarship and research that is rigorous and also practically relevant. For me, it is desirable if the research enriches both academic discourse and working methods in practice. By doing research in close collaboration with companies, researchers can gain deep insights about various phenomena that can be transformed into theoretical models. At the same time, they can share their more theoretical academic knowledge in mutually beneficial discussions. This way of working can be challenging and time-consuming but for me it is desirable to try to achieve such a balance. I would recommend young researchers to collaborate with more experienced researchers to do this, to share the burden and benefits of working in close collaboration with practitioners. Of course, researchers should always have a critical approach, but my point is that their research can also be relevant and they can engage in practical problems without “selling out” to industry.
As you know, the theme of the International Conference form 2018 is “Sustainable business models: integrating employees, customers and technology”. How relevant it is that employees, customers and technology can be integrated into the marketing strategies of companies? How can it be implemented effectively?
These things have of course always been important in marketing, but new technologies will probably play an increasingly prominent role in the future. I am thinking, for example, of artificial intelligence, new computing technologies, and virtual and augmented realities. Some of these can still be costly to use, however, and have not spread much in companies. Only the future can determine their use in companies.
Why would you recommend academics and researchers to attend CBIM2018 in Madrid?
What could be better than a small meeting of like-minded people in a fantastic city? To me this is a no-brainer.