Handbook on Research in Relationship Marketing
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Handbook on Research in Relationship Marketing

Edited by Robert M. Morgan, Janet Turner Parish and George Deitz

The Handbook on Research in Relationship Marketing includes contributions from relationship marketing experts in business-to-business, business-to-consumer, global services, technology and a variety of other contexts of practice. Academics, students, and marketing professionals will all benefit from the insights provided. The Handbook begins with reviews of the developments in relationship marketing over the last two decades by noted relationship marketing scholars including Jagdish Sheth, Atul Parvatiyar, Evert Gummesson and Robert Morgan. It continues with detailed discussions of special topics that will be valuable to anyone interested in relationship marketing.
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Chapter 14: From relationship marketing to many-to-many marketing

Evert Gummesson


Claiming that one can offer the true history of marketing is self-betrayal – and, worse: betrayal of the readers. History is a set of interpreted stories, mostly presented in chronological order. In marketing, history writing tries to make sense of the evolution of concepts, categories, models, theories, events, cases and statistical findings. Serious efforts to understand the history of relationship marketing and where it is heading are justified as long as they are understood as the author’s interpretation based on subjectively chosen and incomplete data. In my case much of the evolution of relational approaches is self-lived and I have taken an active part in the developments. This is a personal synthesis of what I have learned during my journey in Marketingland. The input is research by me and others and knowledge acquired as business practitioner, professor, customer and citizen. There is explicit knowledge, but equally important is the tacit knowledge that cannot (yet) be readily communicated. I have become passionate about recognizing complexity, dispensing with the pseudo-logic of linearity and reductionism, and indulging in an effort to recognize the messiness and fuzziness of real-life marketing without hiding behind an illusion of objectivity. My interest and direction are grand theory, whereas most researchers in marketing focus on a substantive level and fragmented midrange theory (Gummesson forthcoming a). I hope it will inspire readers, who are of course free to add other knowledge and draw their own conclusions.

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