Societal Marketing and Morality

European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 36, No. 5/6, pp. 548-569, 2002

Posted: 16 Sep 2010

See all articles by John Desmond

John Desmond

University of St. Andrews - School of Management

Andrew Crane

University of Bath - School of Management

Date Written: 2002

Abstract

Societal marketing emerged in the early 1970s, promising a more socially responsible and ethical model for marketing. While the societal marketing concept has attracted its adherents and critics, the literature on societal marketing has remained sketchy and underdeveloped, particularly with respect to its underlying (and largely implicit) moral agenda. By making the moral basis of societal marketing more explicit, this article primarily seeks to offer a moral critique of the societal marketing concept. By situating discussion within notions of psychological and ethical egoism, argues that, in moral terms at least, the societal marketing concept is clearly an extension of the marketing concept, rather than a fundamental reconstruction of marketing theory. While acknowledging the use of the societal marketing concept in practice, this use is problematized with respect to a number of critical moral issues. In particular, the question of who should and can decide what is in the public's best interests, and elucidate the moral deficiencies of the rational-instrumental process upon which marketing decisions are frequently rationalised. Suggests that attention should be refocused away from prescribing what "moral" or "societal" marketing should be, and towards developing an understanding of the structures, meanings and discourses which shape and explain marketing and consumption decision making and sustain its positive and negative impacts on society.

Keywords: Decision making, Ethics, Marketing, Marketing concept, Social responsibility

Suggested Citation

Desmond, John and Crane, Andrew, Societal Marketing and Morality (2002). European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 36, No. 5/6, pp. 548-569, 2002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1677010

John Desmond

University of St. Andrews - School of Management ( email )

Department of Management
Gateway
St. Andrews, Fife KY16 9SS
United Kingdom
+44 01334 462873 (Phone)
+44 01334 462812 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/management/people/johndesmond.shtml

Andrew Crane (Contact Author)

University of Bath - School of Management ( email )

Claverton Down
Bath, BA2 7AY
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.bath.ac.uk/management/faculty/andrew-crane.html

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
1,576
PlumX Metrics