Ethical Marketing

Ethical Marketing

Carlos Ballesteros (Universidad Pontificia Comillas, Spain) and Dulce Eloisa Saldaña (Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9784-3.ch012
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Abstract

This chapter addresses those fundamentals and ethical issues related to the profession of marketing, as well as indirectly to other decision makers in companies, to guide human action in a moral sense. The main objective will be to provide different insights to business and marketing professionals to identify and analyze ethical problems in the various elements of a marketing strategy to propose alternatives, so that they may adjust their behavior according to the set of life and judging human acts (own and externals) according to the accepted norms and values. The chapter leads readers to an open invitation to reflect about his/her professional field: how I can contribute from an ethical perspective? From the ethics of marketing, how I can make decisions based on principles such as confidentiality, truthfulness, loyalty, transparency, fairness and accountability?
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Introduction

One of the reasons to explore into the issue of ethics Marketing is related to what we live daily in a globalized world, with inequality, complexity, individualism, violence, and strong environmental problems, any of all resulting from decisions taken by businessmen, heads of large and small corporations, university graduates of academic excellence and some with top honors, for whom the moral and business seems not be compatible. It is, however reasonable to ask those leaders if they knew the consequences of their acts and decisions. For many managers (and academics in Marketing) profit maximization within the law is the unique basis for evaluating marketing practice: as long as the activity is legal and serves a business purpose (and hence is profitable), it is ethical. But not everybody agree.

Adela Cortina (2002) paraphrasing Adam Smith, think that Economy is not just a talk about exchange, but also deals with the production and distribution, and ethics should be present every moment: implementing contracts, committing product quality, reliability of the institutions and other motivations to self-interest versus common one. Casares (2010) also highlighting the work of Smith thinks his hero is ethics, not greed; and discusses the positive aspects resultant of self-control, kindness, prudence and justice.

It seems that those positive aspects, related with the last paragraph, are somehow absent from business arena and becomes increasingly urgent that each and every one of the people from their professional field must work towards a planet where justice, solidarity, sustainability, equity, and accountability will prevail. However the ethics concern becomes more and more urgent and many Business Schools demands ethical reflection in their MBAs programs (USAnews, 2011) as well as Deans and Academic directors of the most prestigious schools are now questioning their methods, asking themselves to which extent they are guilty of the current situation (moral depravation at business decisions as e.g. Leman Brothers bankruptcy). (El Pais, 2009). And it is also true that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) have become an asset for an increasing number of companies. Today, almost every handbook in Finance and Management include at least a chapter on ethics, while in the Marketing field is something that needs to go further (as for example had declared J.L. Retolaza, elected president of the Spanish Chapter of the European Business Ethics Network (EBEN), June 2015). Nevertheless, in a recent curation of the Journal of Consumer research paper “Morality and Markets” is reminded how in 1974, in JCR´s first issue, Jacoby, Speller, and Berning (1974) explored how marketers should balance the moral imperative of providing full product information against the psychological effects of information overload (Grayson, 2014)

For those reasons this chapter addresses those fundamentals and ethical issues related to the profession of marketing, as well as indirectly to other decision makers in companies, to guide human action in a moral sense. The main objective will be to provide different insights to business and marketing professionals to identify and analyze ethical problems in the various elements of a marketing strategy to propose alternatives, so that they may adjust their behavior according to the set of life and judging human acts (own and externals) according to the accepted norms and values.

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