Handbook on Ethics and Marketing
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Handbook on Ethics and Marketing

Edited by Alexander Nill

Exploring both the theoretical and the applied aspects of the role ethics plays in marketing, this Handbook analyzes key issues in order to advance our understanding and provide an overview of the state of the art in this vital field.
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Chapter 11: Upstream, downstream: toward a new morality of marketing in global supply chains

N. Craig Smith, Guido Palazzo and C.B. Bhattacharya


Marketing has long been a preoccupation of researchers into business ethics. As Farmer (1967, p. 1) observed: For the past 6000 years the field of marketing has been thought of as made up of fast-buck artists . . . Too many of us have been ‘taken’ by the tout or conman; and all of us at times have been prodded into buying all sorts of ‘things’ we really did not need, and which we found later on we did not even want. However business ethicists have traditionally highlighted the effects of marketing activities on the consumer. In this chapter we propose to shift the spotlight up the supply chain from marketing as opposed to downstream. Indeed we look outside the target market altogether – at the employees in global supply chains. We set out to examine the harm that can be done not to consumers by marketing but by consumers as an indirect effect of marketing activities – to individuals, groups and society in general. In so doing we set out to document some harmful effects on society, particularly within the confines of supply chains, and to examine responses to date from both marketers and society in general. We shall then show how the concept of ‘stakeholder marketing’ (Bhattacharya and Korschun 2008; Smith et al. 2010) offers a potentially more fruitful response, while also suggesting avenues for future research.

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