Bewildering boxes and mystic matrices: marketing textbooks and the misrepresentation of reality

Ardley, Barry (2007) Bewildering boxes and mystic matrices: marketing textbooks and the misrepresentation of reality. In: Annual Academy of Marketing Conference, July 2007, Kingston University.

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Abstract

This paper argues that theories of marketing, as evident in a range of key textbooks represent a flawed view of the reality of the practitioner’s world. It is suggested that marketing scholars desire to reduce real world activity to a series of over arching explanations has led to the simplification and impoverishment of theory. The latter as propounded in the textbooks has remained remarkably resilient to change despite receiving some trenchant criticisms. Marketing textbooks are to an extent highly similar, drawing as they do on an implicitly systems based paradigm where universal truths are indispensable modes of representational language. In contrast to an approach based on universalistic theory, this paper draws on some interpretative research findings into the nature of marketing practice. The findings from a series of phenomenological interview with managers show that marketing is a locally defined contingent activity, occupying a distinctive discursive space separate from that of conventional textbook theory. As a result of this, it is argued that marketing textbooks should embrace an approach based on detailed ethnographic insights into the diverse realities of marketing practice. The intention should be to move away from the `one size fits all’ theory to a situation where marketing is recognised as being about a socially mediated process comprised of many multifaceted approaches to strategy.

Keywords:marketing, textbooks, interpretative
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N500 Marketing
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
ID Code:8494
Deposited On:28 Mar 2013 14:52

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