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Resolving the Crisis in Marketing Thought Author(s): Lesile M. Dawson Reviewed work(s): Source: Management International Review, Vol.

19, No. 3 (1979), pp. 77-84 Published by: Springer Stable URL: . Accessed: 05/02/2012 15:22
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L. M. Dawson*

the Thought Resolving Crisisin Marketing

Most marketing academicians and professionals agree that over its seventy-odd years of has achieved the status of a true science field. A sizeable body existence, marketing of literaturehas been created; standardsfor researchand experimentation have become has as rigorousas those of the physicalsciences;significant progress been accomplishedin the ability of marketersto understand,control and predict the basic processes of the marketplace. Yet the ironic concomitantof marketing's maturationas a science is the degreeof doubt and divisiveness that pervade the discipline.At thiscriticaljunctureof history, marketers appear unsure of theirrole in society, and how it relatesto the most crucial issuesof the of times. Marketerscannot even agreeon a definition marketing; virtually everytextbook writerfeels obliged to provide his own. For fully a decade an argumenthas gone on as should be broadenamong marketers to whetheror not the "boundaries of marketing'* are ed.1 Numerousnew "concepts of marketing" being proposed and debated.2 The purpose of thisarticleis to offeran explanation,based upon an historicalinterpretation of marketing's today developmentas a science,as to what is happeningin marketing a and why it is happening.It will be seen thatmarketing experiencing crisisin thought is similarto that which has occurred in other fields of science. Marketing and practitioners academicians alike must become involvedin resolvingthis crisis- because the way it is the indeed whetherit is to have a future. resolvedwill determine futureof marketing;

about ScienceDevelopment PopularMisconceptions

There are two popular misconceptionsabout the way in which science fieldsdevelop. fashionover One is the belief that all science fields progressin a logical, step-by-step time, in a manneranalogous to the completionof a picturepuzzle. Such a view perceives new pieces (discoveriesand refinements) continuallybeing positioned so as to interlock with those previouslyplaced, thus revealingmore and more of the true natureof the a particularfield. The other misconceptionis that science fieldsdevelop through process of internallogic, followingthe path of "truth" whereverit may lead; i. e., that they develop "value-free."

ProfessorLeslie M. Dawson is Professorof Marketingin the College of ManagementScience, USA. of University Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts,


Neither belief comes close to the truth. First, all science fields have tended to develop in a spasmodic fashion, with periods of complacent, unremarkableresearchbeing rent asunder periodically by convulsiveupheavals in thought. At various stages in the historyof all the mature sciences, it was found necessaryto discard entiresystemsof beliefs found to be based on error,or superstition.Often, such occasions have been markedby bitterness, scorn,and even violence, emenatingfromopposing factions.Galileo was actually imprisonedfor advocatingthe Copernican conception of astronomyin to of preference the Ptolemaic version,while Keynes had to endure the vituperation his classical economic explanationsto his "General Theory." peerswho preferred Second, both the pace and patternof developmentwithin science fields is verymuch " influenced by external pressuresand constraints.Even the definitionof "truth may be largelydeterminedby social or political, ratherthan theoretical,considerations.Darwin's theoryof evolution,based upon survivalof the fittestspecies through competitive found its warmestreceptionnot in his nativeEngland,but in nineteenth struggle, century America - a nation dominated by laissez-faire conservatism and eager for a "scientific" of economic competition. justification unrestrained

Normaland CrisisStagesof ScienceDevelopment

A number of science historiansprefera "development-by-revolution" view of scientific time,a science fieldmay be regardedas either progress.3They hold thatat any particular in a "normal" or a "crisis" stage.The normalstageis characterized universal by acceptance withinthe fieldof certain"paradigms": systems values and beliefsthat definethe rules of and standardsfor scientific definewhat practice withinthe field. Such sharedparadigms are "legitimate" to the field, and how they should be studied. At times,the problems and paradigmsare externally-imposed value-based- as in the case of the religiousimperative to accept Ptolemy's versionof astronomy,whereinthe earthwas held to constitute the verycenterof the universe. The crisisstage of a science occurs with the recognition "anomaly" withinthe fieldof between the accepted paradigmsand reality.When anomaly reaches crisis discrepancy proportions,practitionersare forced to search for a new paradigm system.Thus, the to protracted depressionof the 193O's provedsuch an embarrassment classical economists as to compel them to abandon, or emasculate, traditionalbeliefs about self-rectifying economic systems. It is suggestedthat the developmentof marketing withinthe science can be interpreted normal-crisis Three stages of development may be discerned: first, a framework. stage crisisstage, in whichanomaly in accepted economic paradigmsled to the necessaryconception of marketingas an independentdiscipline; second, a normal stage, in which a paradigm system of beliefs and values was commonly shared; third,a new crisisstage in which it is recognizedthatthe accepted paradigmsof marketing discrepant are withthe real world.

The FirstCrisisStage: 1900-1930

The origin of marketingas an independentdisciplineis to be found in a state of crisis existentin economic thoughtat the turn of the century.The IndustrialRevolution had 78

Mass production createdvast industrial gearedto servenationalmarkets. complexes of was massdistribution Only the discipline economics consystems. systems required cerned withdistribution, in several was to and economic theory anomalous the respects of reality massmarket phenomena: - Classical where knowledge buyers of the and economics assumed small-scale markets, knowscalemarkets werecharacterized imperfect sellers "perfect" but large was by ledge. - The economists' at model of competition showedpricessettling equilibrium levels hadthepower to market forces butnewindustrial determined impersonal giants by control prices many the of goods. - Middlemen classicaleconomictheorywere small and unorganized but new of weresizeable and department stores to suchas chainstores distributive enough types formarket dominance. with contend producers - The consumer classicaleconomictheory, "economicman," epitomized rational of of and was influenced psychological behavior but the consumer reallifeclearly by as motives well. sociological economics anyother nor science coulddealadebecauseneither A stateof crisis existed a of thinkers struck withsuchphenomena. Consequently,group bold,innovative quately was and various The term"marketing" conceived, out to createa new discipline. apand to devised and explored. Generalizations principles to its study applicable proaches the and Textbooks werediscovered explained. describing newfieldwerepromarketing a in duced.All suchactivities stage. epitomize science thecrisis

The Early Value Orientation

the in did era; Marketing not developvalue-free theearly on thecontrary, newmarketing of the value orientation the nation and both reflected reinforced prevalent paradigms constituted imporan sector business The idea of a strong where private theyoriginated. there enjoyan extrato it tantvalue for pre-Depression America; enabledbusinessmen one America the turnof the century, historian at social prestige. Describing ordinary writes:
values and respect characterized a single phrase. Yet businesslike No culture can be satisfactorily by for them seemed the most pervasivecommon element in American culture,more so than religion, of or worldmission,the democratic spirit, similarformulations Americanideals.4

on sucwas The freeenterprise by emphasis material philosophy reinforced theCalvinist of Social Darwinism Herbert and by thepopular cessas a signof God's grace, theory and idea thatDarwin'sbiological theory appliedequallywellto thebusiness Spencer's extolled attacked business valuesdirectly; Reformers social system. indeed, they rarely in to to of methods thesolution many theproblems, as modern business especially regard was spread conin and inefficiency government. Thus,thebusiness ideology corruption of in life. tinuously thebloodstream American whatwasgoodforbusiness was was Marketing "good" becauseit was good forbusiness; whatwasgoodforAmerica goodfortheworld. was forAmerica; good

The NormalStage: 1930- 1960s

beliefthata greatflowering marketing of occurred the in Despitethepopular thought 1950s and 1960s,clearly and the two preceding weremarked a period these decades by ofnormal science marketing. realefforts madeto reconsider boundaries in No the of were thediscipline; exploreitsrelationship human to to to and socialprogress; applymarketcontinued be viewedas a to ing conceptsto non-business problemareas. Marketing that to the sector. practical technology existed solely serve needsofthebusiness The 1930s produced littlein theway of original in Bartels, his very thought. marketing comments: the weremade studyof marketing history, "Throughout 1930s fewefforts to duplicate better general or the on contained theprinciples in texts treatises marketing 5 and all of revisions their works." Clark, Maynard, ofwhommadeperiodic byConverse, The postwarperiod,into the 1950s and 1960s, was marked efforts marketing of by theorists respond business to to demands moreeffective for toolsof competitive gain. Therewas an upsurge interest testing of in theories marketing through experimentation, and in quantifying variables. newgroupof "readings" A books sought ento marketing the of with broadrange a of large perspectives marketers integrating by theory marketing from other Mucheffort applied thedevelopment case studies was to of theory disciplines. as a new methodof teaching The text,takingthe marketing. influential McCarthy to to in area.6Such managerial approach marketing, helped reshape thinking theteaching efforts refinement theapplication theory, in of of of development newmethods teachto to fields ingestablished concepts, attempts linkthebodyofestablished theory other areall characteristic a science thenormal of in stage.
The PostwarValue Orientation

It becamenecessary this to system during periodformarketers buildintotheir paradigm newvaluerationalizations. popular The faith business in hadbeenbadlyshaken values by the Depression; business thenunable,to takevoluntary had seemedat first unwilling, The movedto alleviate crisis the stepsto cure the economiccatastrophe. government with massive NewDeal reforms, asidebusiness All resistance. at one theviability sweeping of a freeenterprise seemedat issue.But thencamethewar,and an opportunity system forbusiness redeemitself joiningin the battleagainst commonenemy. to a After by the war, prosperity in settled a new,and popularantagonism toward business was big mollified. had the darkDepression Businessmen, however, learnedfrom days the preof cariousness theirposition,and theyset about to establish new commonality a of valueswiththe public.They foundthe answer theconceptof a "consumer in democthattheconsumer "king"andwouldbe served business. was racy"- thenotion by theorists converted this idea into newparadigms be integrated their to into Marketing it whicha standard of discipline. Marketing, was now said,was the instrument through couldbe delivered thepeople.Under newly-elaborated to the living "marketing concept," took on a newrolein making firm the moreresponsive theever-changing to marketing needs and wantsof the consumer. The marketing moreclearly conceptdemonstrated thaneverthatmarketing beneficial, provided convenient was and a excuseformarketers to avoidinvolvement therange human socialproblems in of and which notfallwithin did theframework thediscipline ithadbeenestablished of as decadesearlier. 80

The New CrisisStage: 1970s - ?

sciencepractice a decadesof normal the provided Entering last thirdof the century, to to is, paradigm system tell whatmarketing and how it relates the world.Paradigms and are are existto showwhichkindsof problems legitimate marketing problems, which of and marketers "satisfiers wants needs/* as that not.Thereare valueparadigms portray and that of of and and as "creators deliverers a standard living," whichshow, therefore, is marketing"good." of that else Butthe 1970s havebrought something - a growing suspicion certain marketis withthe realworld. are critically central Anomaly seenin discrepant ing's paradigms beliefthatthe sun,moonand as severeas in Ptolemy's by marketing many;anomaly revolve abouttheearth. planets of of TheAnomaly a Standard Living in of standard living the of and lays Marketing claimto the creation delivery thehighest laborers of and deniablethateven in a periodof scarcity runaway inflation, ordinary of for and conveniences whichthe monarch yesteryear nationsenjoy luxuries many ratesof suicide, halfhis kingdom. would no doubt have exchanged Yet, steadily rising ensure thatmaterial divorce are proofenough mental crime, breakdown, possessions neither norsolacein living. joy is of of The anomaly marketing's of conception a standard living thatit is basedupon a measure thequality of a wholly of measure material inadequate possessions; quantitative
of living.1 goods. It is unhistoryof mankind but a standardof livingmeasured only in material

of TheAnomaly theIneffectual Concept Marketing acclaim themarketas as have of Few paradigms modern marketing beenaccorded much a of business newmilieu pressures, that Yet, in an environment exerts upon ingconcept. less the to oriented humanistic values, marketing concept appears andless predominantly The and witha viablesenseof identity direction.8 marketing business able to provide the attention a orientation; onlyto a thereby directing firm's conceptstresses consumer the its of of fraction the population the societywhichsupports existence. Moreover, role or withthe individual's as a buyer conconcern only marketing conceptgenerates in sumerof a particular conceptlimited scope and onegood. Thus is the marketing in dimensional character. with can is of The anomaly the marketing relationships concept thata firm enjoyblissful a more from society threats itsvery to survival whilenonetheless its customers, facing and for vocalthaneverin itsdemands human socialconsideration.
The Anomaly of Demand Creation

of Mostwouldagreethatthedevelopment nuclear gassesrepreweaponsand poisonous But advancesin physics chemistry. herehas been a and misuseof scientific senttragic 81

in if of advances marketing, In too. misuse scientific serious, distressing,not as mortally sciencehas been appliedto thetaskof "demandcreation" thejob general, marketing of stimulating to demand of sufficient consumer magnitude matchthe production has of rampantly The marketing industrial capacity discipline been expanding complexes. a of concerned with problem liesnearthecoreofmuch theworld's that onlyincidentally is of wealth.The tragedy that misery the unequaldistribution the world'smaterial has an immense to to to contribute theeffort raisethe marketing technology potential whenhe of Drucker's SuchwasPeter quality lifein thepoor areasof theworld. thought described as "themostimportant ofeconomic marketing multiplier development."9 The anomalyof marketing's withdemandcreationis that it hinders preoccupation less contribution thepeaceful to of marketing's potential development theworld's richly endowed nations. TheAnomaly Neglected of Craft Markets The merging massproduction of had withmassmarketing technology led to technology the massdissemination an ever-expanding of durable of But the choiceof range goods. to has goodsformassdissemination been basedupon their adaptability massproduction and mass marketing national advertislines,branding, self-service, Assembly techniques. and lowprices require high have all a consumers of standardization. Therefore, ing, degree been able to acquirean impressive to savetime,save of durable articles array designed in and givepleasure but at thesametime, havehadto suffer crises work, they growing such areas as healthcare,education and and housing. Becausesuch "craft"products services notreadily intothe technology massdissemination, provision do has fit of their beenrelegated smallentrepreneurs to government whichsupply them with to and units, lowefficiency fewmasseconomies. and The anomalyof marketing's of is neglect suchcraft goods and services thattheir price to continues risewhile their in many declines. quality respects

New Values and a New Marketing?

The present crisisin marketing of has by thought been precipitated recognition critical that be established It is important thecrisis anomalyin marketing's system. paradigm within contextof marketing's the the as a science.Repeating interpreted development of the has a fields, marketing history otherscience discipline passedfrom prolonged stage of normal scienceintoa stageof crisis factions haveemerged. There science.Competing are "traditionalists" urgea return the conventional, who to limited conceptof marketand who a new ing, "revisionists" seekto create significantly paradigm system. of Should the traditionalists to will,in effect, regress the practice marketing prevail, normal science founded in will created a pastera.Marketers have upona paradigm system a comfortable, insulated framework within which conduct to their research investigations. Theremaywellbe a great senseof progress, inasmuch thelimited as of range problems defined "legitimate as theparadigm willall be soluble system marketing problems" by by conventional research methodology. 82

are But the anomalies of the "old" marketing not likely to disappear; indeed, they are far more likely to intensify. Whethermarketerslike it or not, a new value system is in emerging the freeworld. There is everyindicationthat in the futurethe business/profit ethic, once so dominant, will be supplanted by a new ethic founded upon human and social need. If marketingis to be assured of a futurein a world animated by such new A values, it must be a new marketing. new paradigmsystemmustbe createdwhereinthe to science is turned into an instrument help solve the human,social power of marketing and environmentalproblems that dominate the times. Marketing'spotential role with respectto such problemsis readilyperceived. reduced to its essence, is the science concernedwith humanneeds and wants, Marketing, of and the distribution goods and servicesto satisfythose needs and wants. Whatlies at and discontentif not unfulfilled needs and grossinequities the core of the world's misery in the distributionof the world's wealth? The energycrisishas focused attentionanew upon the amounts and allocations of the world's naturalresources upon the disparities between the "have" nations and the "have-nots". It is becomingclear that the American model of industrialdevelopmentcannot serve as the penultimategoal toward which all other nations should aspire, because available resources simply do not permit such developmenton a global scale nor has it been demonstratedto be any guaranteeof a contentedpopulace. There are two possible solutions.One lies in the betterutilizationof of the material resources available in the world; the other in a deeper understanding human needs and a recognitionthatthereare otherpaths to "development" besides masscience could be a powerfulforce on sive industrialization the Americanscale. Marketing of in the implementation each of these solutions. have demonstratedthat modern techThe experiences of the Less-Developed-Countries and marketresearch, marketing wholesalingand retailing, niques of physicaldistribution, in ing planning can combine to accomplish dramatic improvements material resource utilization.Even more excitingis the prospectthat materialresourcesmay be expandable; into the useful. The marketer's that the useless may be transformed special expertisein efforts. productand package designis essentialto such recycling Human needs that transcendthe material level - intellectual,emotional and spiritual needs - are still not well understood in a theoretical context, but theirexistence and intensitycannot be doubted. Resources exist in the world today to satisfysuch needs, resources.The allocation of these resourcesin the world but they are culturaland artistic is but dimly perceived (what proportionsdo the nations of the Westhold, as againstthe nations of the Middle and Far East?). A tremendouschallengeexists to determinehow the cultural,artisticand religiousexperiences of one people may be broughtin-to the distribution such resourcesis an undertaking of so consciousnessof another.The effective new and differentthat we can only vaguely presage its nature today, but certainly marketing'spowerful tools of communicationand physical distributioncould make a to vitalcontribution the effort. in to It is not difficult imagine an incrediblyrich futurefor a science of marketing the affairsof mankind. But thatfuture will not automaticallyensue. The resolutionof the thoughtwill determinewhetherthe marketing disciplineis to presentcrisisin marketing and upward; and it is stand still,or whetherit is to follow a challenging pathwayforward no exaggerationto say that it will, in turn, determinewhethermarketing to have a is viable future.


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