Dr Gillian HopkinsonSenior Lecturer
My academic interests span the fields of marketing channels and organisational studies and my work combines ideas developed in both these arenas. Therefore my work is concerned particularly with issues of power in distribution channels. I have engaged with these issues in distribution systems for automotives, travel and grocery/FMCG.
Whilst power has been and continues to be widely studied in channels, my work is distinctive in building upon social constructionist theory. Therefore I am interested in how participants in a channel 'make sense of' that channel. That is, what subjective understanding do they construct of themselves (identity) and their working environments? This question is important because actions are based upon these subjective understandings. As examples, this approach has allowed me to explain why and with respect to what issues franchisees accept or challenge franchisor decisions. It has also allowed me to explain cashier actions as based upon their constructed identities as community builders.
At the moment I am particularly interested in the effects of retail globalisation upon other channel participants. I am supervising doctoral research in both China and Pakistan. I am interested to further explore the impact of the entry of international players such as Walmart and Tesco upon grocery supply chains in indigenous markets. This interest is fuelled by the growing recognition of food vulnerability and by the difficulties experienced in many markets in linking producers and consumers.
I would welcome Phd applicants interested in retail channels or in social constructionist approaches to marketing management.
Through my research I participate in several academic communities including organisational discourse community the Industrial Marketing and Purchasing (IMP) Group and Critical Management or Marketing Studies groups.
As an undergraduate I studied history at the University of East Anglia. I think this has hugely influenced my current academic interests and particularly my social constructionist beliefs. The discipline at the time was moving towards a greater concern for the more marginal actors and away from a 'big man' explanation of history. Consequently this directed my attention to the multiple perspectives on any situation that drive diverse actions. History also reinforces the idea that nothing is perfectly knowable. Our understandings of all events are continuously revised both as new source material is found and in the light of contemporary concerns that direct us towards alternative explanations. Thus I am deeply suspicious of realist and positivist accounts of social life and I place great weight upon narrative forms of knowledge and upon multiple explanations.
Subsequently my ‘first career’ was in the tourist industry where I travelled extensively and also gained experience in both contracting. My primary role was building and managing relationships with suppliers (and to a lesser extent customers). This experience underpins my academic interest in marketing channels. It also allowed me to develop a passion for language - a feature which I draw on frequently in analysis.
My next move took me to Bradford where I completed an MBA and stayed to conduct doctoral research. Since completing my doctorate I have been on the faculty firstly at UMIST (now Manchester Business School) and now at Lancaster University Management School. I lecture primarily in areas of industrial/organisational marketing and channel management and also enjoy teaching related to research philosophies and methods.
101 - Marketing
229 - Marketing in the Supply Chain
329 - Organisational (B2B) Marketing
Postgraduate (MSc in Advanced Marketing Management)
406 - Managing Channels and Supply Chains
Doctoral Director, Department of Marketing
International Study Advisor
BA (Hons) in Modern British History MBA PhD
Selected recent/current research projects
A study of cashiers’ perceptions and behaviours in young alcohol sales situations.
This work, conducted with Dr Michael Humphreys (Nottingham University Business School), generates an understanding of shop work from the perspective of cashiers in UK stores of diverse formats (superstore, convenience store, community store and off-licence). The work explores how cashiers manage the processes of requesting age identity and refusing alcohol sales to younger customers. It contextualises this aspect of cashier work more broadly within the cashiers’ perspectives on or constructions of shop work, of their organisational environments, and of their relationships with other agencies. The work was sponsored by and reported to the Retail Alcohol Standards Group and presented at the Home Office to a range of policy makers.
How do young consumers live their lives?
I addressed this question with Dr Terry Newholm (Manchester Business School) through a multi-method study that intensively tracked two small cohorts of young people (undergraduates and working graduates) over a period of about six weeks in each case. Our aim was to explore their lives in everyday and mundane aspects as well as the quirky, the exceptional and the (seemingly) contradictory aspects. An emphasis upon narrative allowed us to see how young people used these aspects to account for their lives and produce coherence and a sense of self. Of particular interest to me in the data was the construction of (auto) biography; and also the relationship between this (auto)biographical construction and their construction of career. The work was sponsored by and reported to the Manchester Retail Research Forum.
A narrative and discursive study of conflict in a franchised network.
In this study I developed ideas and extended theories about how organisation is constructed within the inter-organisational arena of a franchised network. Looking at one small car distribution network, where I was able to access participants at several levels and in both manufacturer and franchised dealership firms, I was able to relate particular versions of self constructed across the network to the presence (or absence) of tensions across the various organisations and to the actions through which members approach these tensions.
Institute for Advanced Studies Academic Board
Thursday 2-3 pm
Power base research in marketing channels: a narrative review
Hopkinson, G., Bois, K. 04/2014 In: International Journal of Management Reviews. 16, 2, p. 131-149. 19 p.
Exit, voice, loyalty: a supplier’s perspective
Jackson, K., Hopkinson, G., Jackson, J. 9/09/2013 , 30 p.
The use and abuse of French and Raven in the channels literature
Blois, K., Hopkinson, G. 2013 In: Journal of Marketing Management. 29, 9-10, p. 1143-1162. 20 p.
Boundary work and identity construction in market exchanges
Ellis, N., Jack, G., Hopkinson, G.C., O'Reilly, D. 09/2010 In: Marketing Theory. 10, 3, p. 227-236. 10 p.
Identity metaphors in Chinese inter-organizational relationships
Ou, J., Hopkinson, G.C. 2010 In: 9th International Conference of Organisational Discourse (Amsterdam) - 2010. N/A : unknown
Identity challenge: constructing and sustaining a contested workplace self
Hopkinson, G.C., Humphreys, M. 2010 In: 9th International Conference of Organisational Discourse (Amsterdam) - 2010. N/A : unknown
The changing structure of distribution channels in Pakistan
Aman, A., Hopkinson, G.C. 2010 In: International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management. 38, 5, p. 341-359. 19 p.
I just tend to wear what I like: contemporary consumption and the paradoxical construction of individuality
Newholm, T., Hopkinson, G.C. 2009 In: Marketing Theory. 9, 4, p. 439-462. 24 p.
The construction of managerial knowledge in business networks: managers' theories about communication
Ellis, N., Hopkinson, G.C. 2009 In: Industrial Marketing Management. 39, 3, p. 413–424. 12 p.
Stories: how they are used and produced in market(ing) research
Hopkinson, G.C., Hogg, M.K. 2006 In: Handbook Of Qualitative Research Methods In Marketing. Cheltenham : Edward Elgar p. 156-174. 19 p. ISBN: 1845421000.
Teaching and learning about qualitative research in the social sciences: an experiential learning approach amongst marketing students
Hopkinson, G.C., Hogg, M.K. 2004 In: Journal of Further and Higher Education. 28, 3, p. 307-320. 14 p.
Stories from the front-line: how they construct the organisation
Hopkinson, G.C. 2003 In: Journal of Management Studies. 40, 8, p. 1943-1969. 27 p.
Valuing customer relationships: using the capital asset pricing model (CAPM) to incorporate relationship risk
Hopkinson, G.C., Lum, C.Y. 2002 In: Business Strategy and the Environment. 10, 3, p. 220-232. 13 p.
"What happened was ..." broadening the agenda for storied research
Hopkinson, G.C., Hogarth-Scott, S. 2001 In: Journal of Marketing Management. 17, 1, p. 27-48. 22 p.
Influence in marketing channels: a sense-making investigation
Hopkinson, G.C. 2001 In: Psychology and Marketing. 18, 5, p. 423-444. 22 p.
A factor analytic study of the sources of meaning in hedonic consumption
Hopkinson, G.C., Pujari, D. 1999 In: European Journal of Marketing. 33, 3, p. 273-290. 18 p.
Franchise relationship quality: micro-economic explanations
Hopkinson, G.C., Hogarth-Scott, S. 1999 In: European Journal of Marketing. 33, 9, p. 827-843. 17 p.
Gillian Hopkinson supervises 1 research student in total. Those who have a profile on the University website are listed below: