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Ethics in Marketing - Essay Example

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The essay involves the discussion of the modern issues related to social marketing, and the increasing consumer awareness about marketing ethics. The paper also discusses the link between corporate social responsibility and business ethics while going to discuss the ethical implications of marketing to small children…
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Ethics in Marketing
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Ethics in Marketing

Download file to see previous pages... He further refers to ethics as what is right, good or consistent with virtue. Corporate Social Responsibility is the degree of moral obligation that may be put upon corporations apart from the normal laws of the state. The corporation is an individual and is amenable to treatment as an individual under the law (Nisberg, 1988, p. 74).Many academics have often remarked that marketing ethics is an "oxymoron" with in itself and many academics consider it as "intrinsically unethical" or at the least morally neutral.
Academics have applied a number of different philosophies to marketing ethics whenever they are faces with making decisions having ethical content (e.g., Ferrell and Gresham, 1985). Social psychologists have also considered moral philosophies to play a pivotal role in the shaping of marketing decisions. Forsyth (1980) has argued that ethical decisions can be explained in terms of idealism and relativism and defined (1980, p. 175) relativism as "the extent to which an individual rejects universal moral rules" when making ethical judgments and idealism as the degree to which the individuals "assume that desirable consequences can, with the 'right' action, always be obtained" (Forsyth, 1980, p. 176). According to (Vitell et al. 1993) these two philosophies as determinants of Marketing Ethics have done differently in practical life.(Vitel et al 1993) has observed that marketers who stressed on idealism tended to exhibit a higher level of honesty and deemed it essential for effective organisation to be based on ethics and social responsibility.Relativists on the other hand were reported exhibit lower trends of integrity. Hunt et al. (1989, p. 79) have defined corporate ethical values as "a composite of the individual ethical values of managers and both the formal and informal policies on ethics of the organization." Based on this it would seem that corporate values influence many aspects of an organisations decision making. Singhapakdi et al. (1995) has also indicated that corporate ethical values have a very profound link with marketing ethics and social responsibility. Academics have devised number frameworks for analysis in this regard and these involve many concepts like ,the Value-orientated framework which analyses ethical dilemmas on the basis of the moral values being infringed, the Stakeholder-orientated framework basing ethical problems on who they are directly influencing and the Process-orientated framework, (See Martin 2002).
Another sort of framework is the Power-based analysis (Martin 2002) which
shows that not all marketing is offensive or passive and the power may be in the hands of the buyer or the seller Therefore central to the identification of the factors giving rise to ethical dilemma's is the identification of the balance of such power. However the main body of the paper relates to marketing ethics and how conflicts with practical business decisions manifest themselves in the Modern Business World.See diagram below1

The problem today

When we speak of marketing ethics, we refer to the moral principles underlining the operation and regulation of marketing and media ethics form a part of this issue to some extent as well. Popular culture has often criticised marketing as inherently evil and is said to damage peoples independent decision making powers, causing cut throat competition by aggressive and unethical advertising and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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