Introduction: special issue on examining marketing's unintended consequences

Fry, Marie-Louise and Polonsky, Michael (2004) Introduction: special issue on examining marketing's unintended consequences. Journal of Business Research, 57 11: 1209-1210. doi:10.1016/S0148-2963(03)00056-0

Author Fry, Marie-Louise
Polonsky, Michael
Title Introduction: special issue on examining marketing's unintended consequences
Journal name Journal of Business Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0148-2963
Publication date 2004-11-01
Sub-type Editorial
DOI 10.1016/S0148-2963(03)00056-0
Open Access Status
Volume 57
Issue 11
Start page 1209
End page 1210
Total pages 2
Editor M-L. Fry
M. Polonsky
Place of publication New York
Publisher Elsevier-North Holland
Language eng
Subject 150506 Marketing Theory
Formatted abstract
Typically, firms engage in successful marketing activities with outcomes beneficial to both the firm and its various stakeholders. However, an increasing number of situations occur where successful marketing activities impact on stakeholders, such as consumers and society, in an unanticipated negative manner. While firms have focused on the financial benefit to the organisation (i.e., profits and competitive advantage), they have tended not to fully consider the total set of benefits and costs to all stakeholders involved in the wider exchange network. The dilemma and challenge for organisations in today's marketing environment is not only to produce profits and benefits for their shareholders but also to manage their affairs in such a way that, at the very least, they are not detrimental to society (Abratt and Sacks, 1988).

The traditional assumption is that voluntary exchange creates positive value, i.e., a value chain. Exchanges may also result in negative outcomes, although such outcomes are not considered as a core part of the marketing exchange process. Negative unintended consequences may occur during any exchange transaction: parties may miscalculate the effect of their exchange on others, may disregard the effect of their exchange due to self-interest or may not have available market mechanisms to control the known effect (Mundt, 1993). Part of the problem is that firms adopt an organisational perspective to evaluate the overall success of a marketing network rather than consider what or how individual stakeholders evaluate exchange success. Thus, simple financial measures from a firm's perspective fail to consider all the approaches that stakeholders may evaluate outcomes (Wood and Jones, 1995). This resulting mismatch of objectives and measures of success is important, especially when identifying and evaluating the unintended consequences of marketing activities. Increasing profit may not necessarily bring about an improvement in the communities' quality of life. As such, marketers need to adopt broader perspectives to evaluate exchange networks that consider both value chains and harm chains (Polonsky et al., 2001).

It is against this background that the articles for this special issue of the Journal of Business Research were written. The selected articles cover a wide spectrum of “unintended” marketing consequences and do not simply focus on firm-consumer or firm-society impacts. These serve to highlight the need to consider a wider set of relationships, ensuring both positive and negative potentials are considered.
Q-Index Code CX
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Editorial
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
UQ Business School Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 3 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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