|Arguably, there is an evident condition of polarized controversies
in marketing theory, where two extreme ends are trying to pull the
arguments towards their outlier point without giving much room for
meeting in middle points [1,2].
|This article aims to examine how this currently evident polarization
of marketing theory controversies can be a barrier/or a stimulus to
reaching the ultimate objective of scientific marketing truth. The
problem tackled by this article and hopefully by a subsequent stream
of conceptual and empirical research is to bridge the theoretical gap of
identifying the most influential polar points and their implications to
having a plausible scientific marketing truth.
|It’s still highly unclear whether marketing theory in its persistent
and militant quest for scientific marketing truth needs to reach one
of the polarized extremes or a point in between or actually needs to
keep the light of argument shed on the essence of the sought truths of
marketing as a science.
|The polarization of marketing theory can be characterized by three
important features of philosophical argumentation. First, it’s highly
semantic-dominated meaning that there are highly raised arguments
concerning generic and operational definitions of many marketing
constructs. This has created a semantic jungle, where it became really
difficult to come to terms with an exclusive and inclusive essence of
any advanced, newly coined or even some basic marketing terms and
jargons. Second, Many polarized controversies can be easily classified
as census seeking i.e. they strive to bring all or at least most marketing
scholars to hold and support polarized extreme ends. This has kept such
controversies from acknowledging the values of their counter extremes
and let alone the value of the argument itself. Third, most of these
controversies are polarized based on belief-held rather than facts-found
grounds, which in turn, reflect more the ideologies of researchers than
the factual evidence of their research. This should be expected to result
in a strong commitment to extremes based on pre-held dispositions
even if it’s contradicted by objective empiricism [1,3-5]. So it can be
claimed that the above scientific substantiation features of polarization
of marketing theory are favoring that one extreme should fulfill a swift
victory over the other. By this token, where does this take the quest for
scientific marketing truth?, In other words, does it create shortcuts
to scientific marketing truth or does it lead marketing thought astray
from that much lucrative and appealing scientific mandate?
|With a view toward answering these critical and legitimate queries,
it might be wise to first understand the pillars of scientific marketing
truth which stands as a main ultimate end of marketing theory. This
article argues that scientific marketing truth must comply with five
main pillars [6,7]: 1) rigor referring to adopting a logical and systematic
methodological process, 2) verifiability referring to transparency of
empirical evidence and research activities, 3) replicability referring
to feasibility of repeating the research process in different contexts, 4)
building up referring to compliance with a state of the art marketing
knowledge in triggering and extending research endeavors., and 5)
problem solving, referring to its dedication to fulfilling relevance & action ability of marketing thought. On the other hand, it could be
useful if a number of high p rofiled polarizations of marketing theory
are exhibited to demonstrate their very serious implications for reaching
scientific marketing truth. This article proposes to single out ten
polarized controversies that are currently hotly debated in marketing
|Transformational (revolutionary) versus foundational
|1. Dogmatic (ideological) versus pragmatic (factual) marketing.
|2. Contextual (situational) versus universal (ubiquitous)
|3. Global (world class) versus local (cross cultural) marketing.
|4. Economic optimizer (profit oriented) versus social friendly
(welfare oriented) marketing.
|5. Customer driven (well being driven) versus company driven
(satisfaction driven) marketing.
|6. Strategic (long term oriented) versus tactical (quick wins
|7. Quantitative (generalization) versus qualitative (depth)
|8. Real (physical) versus virtual (digital) marketing.
|9. Customized (individualistic) versus mass (collectivistic)
|To conclude, this article proposes a tentative answer to such crucial
and complicated question, nevertheless, this answer are far from final
and definitely requires substantial conceptual and empirical refines.
The answer is built on the talking of whether the pillars of scientific
marketing truth would benefit more from settling each polarized
controversy to one extreme point, compromising each polarization to
a middle point claiming that both extremes are needed or sparkling
a permanent fire that guarantee that the polarization argument
perpetuates for its own sake. Ultimately the final position of this article
is that tentatively sparkling and sustaining the argument would be the
road map for an effective quest to a scientific marketing truth that serve
as true credential of marketing as a science, which taking a middle or an
extreme point along the polars of marketing theory would simply bring an end to a potentially promising path to find a valuable marketing
- Gronroos Christian (2008) In Search of a New Logic for Marketing: Foundations of Contemporary Theory, New York: Wiley Higher Education.
- Kortam W, Mahrous A (2011) Discovering A Transformational Science of Marketing in Corporate, Social And Knowledge Perspectives: Is Not It About Time That A Marketing Scholar Becomes A Nobel Laureate? Journal of American Science 7: 695-703.
- Kortam W (2004) "Virtue in Marketing Science: Can Pragmatism be a Source of Virtue? Disciplines of Marketing Claim to be Virtuous by Pragmatic Responsiveness", Proceedings of the British Academy of Marketing Conference, University of Gloucesthire, Cheltenham, UK.
- Kelemen M, Rumens N (2008) An Introduction to Critical Management Research (Los Angeles: SAGE Publications).
- Kortam W, Mahrous A (2010) Insights, Contexts, and Frontiers of Marketing Thought: An Advanced Synthesis of Research Readings", (New York: VerlagDrMuller).
- Benton T, Craib I (2001) Philosophy of Social Science: The Philosophical Foundations of Social Thought, (New York: Palgrave).
- Kortam W (2002) "Why Asking “Why” in Marketing Research? A Conceptual Framework of the Implications of Causal Research Designs to the Quality of Research-Based Marketing Knowledge", Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science Multicultural Conference, University of Valencia, Spain.