What is the Importance of “Ethics” in Marketing? – Explained

by AdministratorOctober 15, 2018

One of the characteristics of marketing is – ‘Marketing is all pervasive.’ Marketing is all around us, permeating our lives. All elements of promotion are touched by marketers so as to promote, inform, persuade, and/or sell something to us.

Ethics are the moral principles and values that govern the actions and decisions of an individual or group. Murphy et al have defined marketing ethics as “the systematic study of how moral standards are applied to marketing decisions, behaviours and institutions.” However, ethical standards vary from one environment to the other and from one culture to the other.

This makes the universal application a difficult proposition. To us morality is integral to marketing. There is a perfect correlation between healthy society and healthy firm. An organisation that follows this philosophy leads it to being ethical. Ethics are the rules of conduct for an organisation against which it is judged by all concerned.

The role of marketing ethics has been studied from two perspectives: The normative approach – which prescribes the ethical standards and offers guidelines with regard to marketing practice; and the Positive approach – describes and understands ethical practices through empirical work.

Ethical behaviour brings out following issues:

1. Who is responsible for ethical behaviour in the market? The answer is that both the marketers and the consumers are responsible.

2. What is the cost of unethical behaviour? The cost is enormous. For the marketer it may lead to negative attitude towards business. And for the consumers as a whole, they have to pay for the unethical behaviour of marketers and also some of the consumers’ anti- ethical behaviour.

3. Looking at the important role, now companies have started making statements in their Annual Reports about ethical behaviour.

4. Ethics are personal moral principles and values, laws are society’s values and standards that are enforceable in the courts. Thus there is a possibility that what is ethical may be illegal and what is not ethical may be legal.

5. Presently four possible reasons state the perceived ethical business conduct. First, there is an increased pressure on business people to make decisions in a society full of diversity. Second, there is a growing tendency of judging the business decisions publicly by groups with different values and interests. Third, public’s expectation about ethical conduct has increased. Finally, the ethical conduct has declined in every sphere of life, including business.


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