A framework for ethical conformity in marketing

Journal of Business Ethics 80 (1):103 - 109 (2008)
The extant marketing literature provides little guidance for theory development or practice with regard to questions of ethical conformity and the resulting market response. To begin to bridge this research gap, we advance a theoretical framework of ethical conformity in marketing, appealing to marketing ethics, management strategy, and sociological foundations. We set the stage for our theoretical arguments by considering the role of normative expectations related to marketing practices and behaviors held by societal constituents. Against this backdrop, we propose drivers of conformity in marketing, including practices consistent with both overconformity and underconformity. The framework allows us to advance testable research propositions by which questions of ethical conformity may be explored. We conclude by suggesting additional future research needed to develop the domain, specifically in the form of empirical inquiries uncovering firm strategic decisions with ethical implications.
Keywords deviance theory  identity  institutional theory  marketing ethics  marketing strategy
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Robert K. Merton (1961). Social Theory and Social Structure. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 11 (44):345-346.

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