Marketing theory and critical phenomenology: exploring the human side of management practice

Ardley, Barry (2011) Marketing theory and critical phenomenology: exploring the human side of management practice. Marketing Intelligence and Planning, 29 (7). p. 628. ISSN 0263-4503

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This paper uses phenomenology as a critical theoretical lens through which to view marketing management
theory. The aim is to demonstrate that it can uncover the extent to which established theory neglects the human
side of marketing.
To facilitate a phenomenological discussion, the critical framework of Mingers (2000) is utilised. This
identifies a critique of rhetoric, of tradition, of authority and of objectivity. Secondary sources are then used to
highlight the central role played by individual meaning in marketing practice, as opposed to the systemic based
framework of the dominant theory.
Findings suggest that traditional theory is based on questionable assumptions regarding the nature of the
individual and their managerial practice. Marketing theory is not a transferable objective technology, but is
constituted by the vagaries of the human agent. It is also posited that the subject boundaries of marketing are set
by established authorities that are prone to discourage alternative perspectives.
Research limitations/implications
This is a position paper and additional empirical research could be undertaken in order to help further discuss
the claims made.
Practical implications
This paper suggests that marketing management has the potential to be understood in ways that go beyond
the representation of it in established theory. Alternative conceptions of marketing hold the potential of
informing future theory and practice developments.
Insights into marketing practice, acquired through the use of an innovative and critically informed
phenomenological framework, have led to the questioning of a dominant theory that routinely ignores the
human side of marketing activity.

Keywords:critical, phenomenology, practice, marketing, Practitioners, Human Agents
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N500 Marketing
Divisions:College of Social Science > Lincoln Law School
ID Code:4657
Deposited On:09 Sep 2011 12:20

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