Articles of faith and mystic matrices: marketing textbooks and the misrepresentation of reality

Ardley, Barry (2008) Articles of faith and mystic matrices: marketing textbooks and the misrepresentation of reality. Qualitative Market Research: an international Journal, 11 (4). pp. 372-385. ISSN 1352-2752

Full content URL:


Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive


Paper type
Research paper
Purpose of this paper
This purpose of this paper is to show that theories of marketing, as evident in a range of key textbooks, represent a set of reified articles of faith, which are unreflective of the reality of the practitioner’s world.

This paper draws on some interpretative research findings into the nature of marketing practice. A series of phenomenological interviews were carried out with senior marketing managers. Their views were compared with existing representations of marketing as it appears in a range of textbooks.

Marketing textbooks were found to be highly alike drawing as they do on a implicit systems based paradigm. The findings from the interviews show that marketing is a locally defined, highly contextualised activity that is dissimilar in many ways to the generalised prescriptions of mainstream textbooks.

Research implications
Scholarship in the form of textbooks should attempt to move away from the dictates of the dominant articles of faith as espoused by the established church of marketing. Differing interpretations of marketing should not be viewed as being heretical. They should be seen as being the result of diverse organisational contexts and outcomes which stem from the socially constructed nature of reality.

The contribution of this paper is to show that marketing in practice is not constituted by textbook theory, but by context and the individual perceptions of people as they carry out their actions and routines in organisations.

Keywords:textbooks, phenomenology, articles of faith, Social construction marketing practice
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N500 Marketing
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
ID Code:2413
Deposited On:04 May 2010 13:52

Repository Staff Only: item control page