THE CHANGING ROLE OF MARKETING IN THE CORPORATION

THE CHANGING ROLE OF MARKETING IN THE CORPORATION
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he previous 50 years, a substantial body of theory and empirical knowledge had been developed and mature marketing scholars felt compelled to defend and protect it. The argument against the managerial point of view centered on its inability to consider the broader social and economic functions and issues associated with marketing, beyond the level of the firm. For example, the Beckman and Davidson (1962) text, built around a functionalist perspective, and the most widely used text in the field at the time, was promoted as follows: "Balanced treatment of the development and the present status of our marketing system; Conveys a broad understanding of the complete marketing process, its essential economic functions, and the institutions performing them; Strengthens the social and economic coverage of marketing in all its 2

significant implications; Proper emphasis accorded to the managerial viewpoint" (advertisement, Journal of Marketing, April 1962, p. 130). It is the last phrase, "proper emphasis," that implies the criticism that the managerial approach, by itself, is incomplete. The analytical frameworks of the new managerial approach were drawn from economics, behavioral science, and quantitative methods. The incorporation of the behavioral and quantitative sciences gave important legitimacy to marketing as a separate academic discipline Such frameworks were consistent with the very strong thrust of the 1960s toward more rigorous approaches in management education, encouraged by two very influential foundation studies (Gordon and Howell 1959; Pierson 1959). These studies advocated education based on a rigorous, analytical approach to decision making as opposed to a descriptive, institutional approach which, it was argued, should be held to "an irreducible minimum" (Gordon and Howell 1959, p. 187). The managerial perspective became the dominant point of view in marketing texts and journals, supported by management science and the behavioral sciences. Marketing as an Optimization Problem Scholars on the leading edge of marketing responded with enthusiasm to the call for greater analytical rigor. At the root of most of the new managerial texts and the evolving research literature of marketing science was the basic microeconomic paradigm, with its emphasis on profit maximization (Anderson 1982). The basic units of analysis were transactions in a competitive market and fully integrated firms controlling virtually all of the factors of production (Arndt 1979; Thorelli 1986). Market transactions connected the firm with its customers and with other firms (Johnston and Lawrence 1988). Analysis for marketing management focused on demand (revenues), costs, and profitability and the use of traditional economic analysis to find the point at which marginal cost equals marginal revenue and profit is maximized. Behavioral science models were used primarily to structure problem definition, helping the market researcher to define the questions that are worth as

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