Advertisement

Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Ethics and services marketing

Abstract

The area of services marketing is a highly crucial one for potential ethical violations. The services industry, which drives over two-thirds of our national economy, is about to experience severe changes due to increasing competition. The temptation to make ethical compromises will pose a dramatic threat to the business climate.

We review conceptual approaches to the field of marketing ethics and conclude that existing models often lack an important component which affects ethical decision-making. That component includes the interorganizational variables: the primary task environment, including immediate customers and suppliers to the buyer and seller; the secondary task environment, comprised of suppliers and customers to the immediate suppliers and customers, competitors, and regulatory agencies, and the macro-environment, those broader forces which impinge on the activities in the primary and secondary task environments.

We suggest various propositions for circumstances under which unethical behavior is likely to occur within the interorganizational domain. The overarching framework is that of service industries in an increasingly competitive environment.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Achrol, R. S., T. Reve, and L. W. Stern: 1983 (Fall), ‘The Environment of Marketing Channel Dyads: A Framework for Comparative Analysis’,Journal of Marketing 47, pp. 55–67.

  2. Bloom, P.: 1984 (Sep–Oct), ‘Effective Marketing for Professional Services’,Harvard Business Review, pp. 102–110.

  3. Bommer, M., C. Gratto, J. Gravander, and M. Tuttle: 1987, ‘A Behavioral Model of Ethical and Unethical Decision Making’,Journal of Business Ethics 6, pp. 265–280.

  4. Cavanaugh, G. E. and A. F. McGovern: 1988,Ethical Dilemmas in the Modern Corporation (Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey).

  5. Drucker, P. F.: 1981 (Oct), ‘What is Business Ethics?’,Across the Board 22–32.

  6. El-Ansary, A. I. and L. W. Stern: 1972 (Feb), ‘Power Measurement in the Distribution Channel’,Journal of Marketing Research 9, pp. 47–52.

  7. French, J. R. P. and B. Raven: 1959, ‘The Bases of Social Power’, inStudies in Social Power, Dorwin Cartwright, ed. (University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor).

  8. Fritzsche, D. J. and H. Becker: 1983, ‘Ethical Behavior of Marketing Managers’,Journal of Business Ethics 2, pp. 291–299.

  9. Galaskiewicz, J.: 1985, ‘Interorganizational Relations’,Annual Review of Sociology 11, pp. 281–304.

  10. Gaski, J. F.: 1984 (Summer), ‘The Theory of Power and Conflict in Channels of Distribution’,Journal of Marketing 48, pp. 9–29.

  11. Hickson, D. J., C. R. Hinings, C. A. Lee, R. E. Schneck, and J. M. Pennings: 1971, ‘A Strategic Contingencies Theory of Interorganizational Power’,Administrative Science Quarterly 16, pp. 216–229.

  12. Hosmer, L. T.: 1987, ‘The Institutionalization of Unethical Behavior’,Journal of Business Ethics 6, pp. 439–447.

  13. Jackall, R.: 1988,Moral Mazes: The World of Corporate Managers (Oxford University Press, New York).

  14. Kahn, W. A.: 1990, ‘Toward an Agenda for Business Ethics Research’,Academy of Management Review 15(2), pp. 311–328.

  15. Kennedy, E. J.: 1988, ‘Uncertainty and Resource Dependency in Marketing Channel Relationships’, inMarketing Theory, American Marketing Association, pp. 265–269.

  16. Klein, B.: 1980 (May), ‘Transaction Cost Determinants of ‘Unfair’ Contractual Arrangements’,American Economic Association 70(2), pp. 356–362.

  17. Leavitt, T.: 1981 (May–June), ‘Marketing Intangible Products and Product Intangibles’,Harvard Business Review, pp. 94–102.

  18. March, J. and H. Simon: 1958,Organizations (Wiley & Sons, New York).

  19. Mortensen, R. A., J. E. Smith, and G. F. Cavanaugh: 1989, ‘The Importance of Ethics to Job Performance: An Empirical Investigation of Managers' Perceptions’,Journal of Business Ethics 8, pp. 253–260.

  20. Murphy, P. E. and Laczniak, G. R.: 1981, ‘Marketing Ethics: A Review with Implications for Managers, Educators, and Researchers’, inReview of Marketing, B. M. Enis and K. J. Roering, eds., pp. 251–266.

  21. Naser, S.: 1992 (Jan), ‘Employment in Service Industry, Engine for Boom of 80's, Falters’,New York Times 2, p. A1.

  22. Pastin, M.: 1986,The Hard Problems of Management: Gaining the Ethics Edge (Jossey-Bass, Inc., San Francisco, CA).

  23. Pennings, J. M.: 1981, ‘Strategically Interdependent Organizations’,Handbook of Organization Design, Vol. 1, ed. P. Nystrom, W. H. Starbuck (Oxford University Press, London), pp. 433–455.

  24. Pfeffer, J. and G. R. Salancik: 1978,The External Control of Organizations: A Resource Dependence Perspective (Harper & Row, New York).

  25. Simon, H.: 1957,Administrative Behavior, 2nd edition (Macmillan Publishing Co., New York).

  26. Spekman, R. E. and D. Strauss: 1986, ‘An Exploratory Investigation of a Buyer's Concern for Factors Affecting More Co-operative Buyer-Seller Relationships’,Industrial Marketing & Purchasing 1(3), pp. 26–43.

  27. Toffler, B. L.: 1986,Tough Choices: Managers Talk Ethics (John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, NY).

  28. Tsalikis, J. and D. J. Fritzsche: 1989, ‘Business Ethics: A Literature Review with a Focus on Marketing Ethics’,Journal of Business Ethics 8, pp. 695–743.

  29. Victor, B. and J. B. Cullen: 1988, ‘The Organizational Bases of Ethical Work Climates’,Administrative Science Quarterly 33 pp. 101–125.

  30. Vitell, S. J. and S. J. Grove: 1987, ‘Marketing Ethics and the Techniques of Neutralization’,Journal of Business Ethics 6, pp. 433–438.

  31. Waters, J. A.: 1978 (Spring), ‘Catch 20.5: Corporate Morality as an Organizational Phenomenon’,Organizational Dynamics, pp. 3–19.

  32. Williamson, O. E.: 1981, ‘The Economics of Organization: The Transaction Cost Approach’,American Journal of Sociology 87(3), pp. 548–577.

  33. Zeithaml, V. A., A. Parasuraman, and L. L. Berry: 1985, ‘Problems and Strategies in Services Marketing’,Journal of Marketing 49, pp. 33–46.

Download references

Author information

Additional information

Dr. Ellen Kennedy and Dr. Leigh Lawton are associate professors in the Department of Marketing at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. They have published articles in theJournal of Business Ethics andIndustrial Marketing Management on the topics of using fiction to teach business ethics and workforce socialization.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Kennedy, E.J., Lawton, L. Ethics and services marketing. J Bus Ethics 12, 785–795 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00881311

Download citation

Keywords

  • Economic Growth
  • Marketing
  • Regulatory Agency
  • National Economy
  • Unethical Behavior