Marketing with integrity: ethics and the service-dominant logic for marketing

  • Andrew V. AbelaEmail author
  • Patrick E. Murphy
Conceptual/Theoretical Paper


This paper examines a tendency within existing marketing scholarship to compartmentalize ethical issues. It also shows how this tendency can cause ethical tensions and conflicts in marketing practice. The emerging service-dominant (S-D) logic for marketing, as proposed by Vargo and Lusch, is explored as an example of an approach to marketing that overcomes this tendency. The S-D logic is found to be a positive development for marketing ethics because it facilitates the seamless integration of ethical accountability into marketing decision-making. Specific recommendations are made for improving the ethical climate in marketing using marketing performance measurement theory and practice.


Ethical violations Ethics Integrity Marketing ethics Marketing performance measurement Service-dominant logic 



The authors would like to thank the editors of this special issue, Robert Lusch and Stephen Vargo, as well as Gene Laczniak, Robert Audi, the Department of Marketing at Notre Dame, and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper.


  1. Abela, A. V. (2002). When a brand is a promise: Building firm credibility by integrating strategic and ethical aspects of brand management. Doctoral Dissertation, Darden Business School.Google Scholar
  2. Abela, A. V. (2003). Additive versus inclusive approaches to measuring brand equity: Practical and ethical implications. Journal of Brand Management, 10(4–5), 342–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ambler, T. (2003). Marketing and the bottom line (2nd ed.). London: FT Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  4. Ballantyne, D., & Varey, R. J. (2006). Introducing a dialogic orientation to the service-dominant logic of marketing. In R. F. Lusch & S. L. Vargo (Eds.), The service-dominant logic of marketing: Dialog, debate, and directions. Armonk: M.E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
  5. Barwise, P., & Farley, J. U. (2003). Which marketing metrics are used and where? MSI Reports. Cambridge: MSI.Google Scholar
  6. Beirne, M. (2002). Fixing a shattered trust. Brandweek, 43(32), 16.Google Scholar
  7. Berthon, P., Hulbert, J. M., & Pitt, L. F. (1997). Brands, brand managers, and the management of brands: Where to next? Vol. 97–122. Cambridge: Marketing Science Institute.Google Scholar
  8. Bloom, P. N., & Perry, V. G. (2001). Retailer power and supplier welfare: The case of Wal-Mart. Journal of Retailing, 77(3), 379.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Boudette, N. E. (2003). BMW’s CEO just says ‘No’ to protect brand. Wall Street Journal (November 26), B1.Google Scholar
  10. Bowen, H. R. (1953). Social responsibilities of the businessman. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  11. Bowie, N. E. (1999). Business ethics: A kantian perspective. Malden: Blackwell Publishers.Google Scholar
  12. Boyt, T. E., Lusch, R. F., & Naylor, G. (2001). The role of professionalism in determining job satisfaction in professional services: A study of marketing researchers. Journal of Service Research, 3(4), 321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Brenkert, G. G. (1998). Marketing to inner-city blacks: Powermaster and moral responsibility. Business Ethics Quarterly, 8(1), 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Carter, C. R. (2000). Precursors of unethical behavior in global supplier management. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 36(1), 45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Chaudhuri, A., & Holbrook, M. B. (2001). The chain of effects from brand trust and brand affect to brand performance: The role of brand loyalty. Journal of Marketing, 65, 81–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Chonko, L. B., & Hunt, S. D. (1985). Ethics and marketing management: An empirical examination. Journal of Businesss Research, 13, 339–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Chung, C., & Myers, S. L. Jr. (1999). Do the poor pay more for food? An analysis of grocery store availability and food price disparities. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 33(2), 276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Clark, B. H., & Ambler, T. (2000). Marketing performance measurement: Evolution of research and practice. In A. Neely (Ed.), Performance measurement—past, present and future. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Corporate Watch. (2005). Iceland: Threatened protestors raise stakes. Retrieved September 6, 2005, from
  20. Crane, A., & Desmond, J. (2002). Societal marketing and morality. European Journal of Marketing, 36(5/6), 548–560.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Davis, R. (1996). Ethics—marketing ploy, or just the best business proposition? Managing Service Quality, 6(2), 6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Day, G. S. (1994). The capabilities of market-driven organizations. Journal of Marketing, 58(4), 37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Day, G., & Montgomery, D. (1999). Charting new directions for marketing. Journal of Marketing, 63, 3–13 (special issue).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. De Muth, S. (2003). Power driven. The Guardian (November 29).Google Scholar
  25. Deutschman, A. (2004). Inside the mind of Jeff Bezos. Fast Company, 85, 52.Google Scholar
  26. Drumwright, M. E., & Murphy, P. E. (2001). Corporate societal marketing. In P. N. Bloom & G. T. Gundlach (Eds.), Handbook of marketing and society. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications Inc.Google Scholar
  27. Drumwright, M. E., & Murphy, P. E. (2008). The current state of advertising ethics: Industry and academic perspectives. Journal of Advertising (in press).Google Scholar
  28. Dunfee, T. W., Smith, N. C., & Ross, W. T. (1999). Social contracts and marketing ethics. Journal of Marketing, 63(3), 14–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Eggert, A., & Helm, S. (2003). Exploring the impact of relationship transparency on business relationships: A cross-sectional study among purchasing managers in Germany. Industrial Marketing Management, 32(2), 101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ferrell, O. C., & Gresham, L. G. (1985). A contingency framework for understanding ethical decision making in marketing. Journal of Marketing, 49(3), 87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ferrell, O. C., Gresham, L. G., & Fraedrich, J. (1989). A synthesis of ethical decision models for marketing. Journal of Macromarketing, 9(2), 55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Fishman, C. (2006). The Wal-Mart effect. New York: Penguin Press.Google Scholar
  33. Fournier, S., Dobscha, S., & Mick, D. G. (1998). Preventing the premature death of relationship marketing. Harvard Business Review, 76(1), 42–44.Google Scholar
  34. Freeman, R. E. (1994). The politics of stakeholder theory: Some future directions. Business Ethics Quarterly, 4(4).Google Scholar
  35. Gallup. (2003). Public rates nursing as most honest and ethical profession. Retrieved July 19, 2004, from
  36. Ghoshal, S. (2005). Bad management theories are destroying good management practices. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 4(1), 75.Google Scholar
  37. Guiltinan, J. P., & Gundlach, G. T. (1996). Aggressive and predatory pricing: A framework for analysis. Journal of Marketing, 60(3), 87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Gummesson, E. (2004). On the service-centered dominant logic for marketing. Journal of Marketing, 68, 20–21.Google Scholar
  39. Gundlach, G. T., & Murphy, P. E. (1993). Ethical and legal foundations of relational marketing exchanges. Journal of Marketing, 57(4), 35–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Gürhan-Canli, Z., & Batra, R. (2004). When corporate image affects product evaluations: The moderating role of perceived risk. Journal of Marketing Research, 41(2), 197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Hammonds, K. (2002). Harry Kraemer’s moment of truth. Fast Company, (64), 93–98.Google Scholar
  42. Handelman, J. M., & Arnold, S. J. (1999). The role of marketing actions with a social dimension: Appeals to the institutional environment. Journal of Marketing, 63(3), 33–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Harvey, M. G., & Lusch, R. F. (1999). Balancing the intellectual capital books: Intangible liabilities. European Management Journal, 17(1), 85–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Hill, K. (2003). Price matching follows online customers' moves. CRM Daily. Retrieved July 29, 2004, from
  45. Hoeffler, S., & Keller, K. L. (2002). Building brand equity through corporate societal marketing. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 21(1), 78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Hof, R. D. (2003). eBay rules: The online marketplace thrives in good times—and bad. BusinessWeek (March 24).Google Scholar
  47. Hunt, S. D., Chonko, L. B., & Wilcox, J. B. (1984). Ethical problems of marketing researchers. Journal of Marketing Research, XXI, 309–324.Google Scholar
  48. Hunt, S. D., & Vitell, S. J. (1986). A general theory of marketing ethics. Journal of Macromarketing, 6(1), 5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Iansiti, M., & Levien, R. (2004). Strategy as ecology. Harvard Business Review, 82(3), 68.Google Scholar
  50. Janda, S., & Seshadri, S. (2001). The influence of purchasing strategies on performance. The Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, 16(4), 294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Jaworski, B. J., & Kohli, A. K. (1993). Market orientation: Antecedents and consequences. Journal of Marketing, 57(3), 53–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Kalsow, G., & West, J. (2000). Fingerhut’s pricing strategy. Case study. Charlottesville: Darden Business School.Google Scholar
  53. Kaplan, R. S., & Norton, D. P. (2004). Measuring the strategic readiness of intangible assets. Harvard Business Review, 82(2), 52.Google Scholar
  54. Karpatkin, R. H. (1999). Toward a fair and just marketplace for all consumers: The responsibilities of marketing professionals. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 18(1), 118–122.Google Scholar
  55. Klein, N. (1999). No logo: Taking aim at the brand bullies. New York: Picador.Google Scholar
  56. Koehn, N. F. (2001). Brand new: How entrepreneurs earned consumers' trust from Wedgwood to Dell. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing.Google Scholar
  57. Kotler, P. (2004). Wrestling with ethics. Marketing Management, 13(6), 30–36.Google Scholar
  58. Laczniak, G. R. (1983). “Framework for analyzing marketing ethics.” Journal of Macromarketing, 7–18.Google Scholar
  59. Laczniak, G. R. (1993). Marketing ethics: Onward toward greater expectations. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 12(1), 91.Google Scholar
  60. Laczniak, G. R. (2006). Some societal and ethical dimensions of the service-dominant logic perspective of marketing. In R. F. Lusch & S. L. Vargo (Eds.), The service-dominant logic of marketing: Dialog, debate, and directions. Armonk: ME Sharpe.Google Scholar
  61. Laczniak, G. R., & Murphy, P. E. (2006). Normative perspectives for ethical and socially responsible marketing. Journal of Macromarketing, 26(2), 154–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Lemon, K. N., & Seiders, K. (2006). Making marketing accountable: A broader view. In J. N. Sheth & R. S. Sisodia (Eds.), Does marketing need reform? Fresh perspectives on the future. Armonk: M.E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
  63. Lusch, R. F., & Vargo, S. L. (Eds.) (2006). The service-dominant logic of marketing: Dialog, debate and directions reflections, and refinements. Armonk: M.E. Sharp.Google Scholar
  64. Menon, A., & Menon, A. (1997). Enviropreneurial marketing strategy: The emergence of corporate environmentalism as market strategy. Journal of Marketing, 61(1), 51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Mittal, V., Ross, W. T. Jr., & Baldasare, P. M. (1998). The asymmetric impact of negative and positive attribute-level performance on overall satisfaction and repurchase intentions. Journal of Marketing, 62(1), 33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Miyazaki, A. D., Brumbaugh, A. M., & Sprott, D. E. (2001). Promoting and countering consumer misconceptions of random events: The case of perceived control and state-sponsored lotteries. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 20(2), 254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Murphy, P. E. (1999). Character and virtue ethics in international marketing: An agenda for managers, researchers, and educators. Journal of Business Ethics, 18, 107–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Murphy, P. E., & Laczniak, G. R. (1981). Marketing ethics: A review with implications for managers, educators, and researchers. In B. M. Enis & K. J. Roering (Eds.), Review of marketing. Chicago: American Marketing Association.Google Scholar
  69. Murphy, P. E., Laczniak, G. R., Bowie, N. E., & Klein, T. A. (2005). Ethical marketing: Basic ethics in action. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  70. Murphy, P. E., Laczniak, G. R., & Wood, G. (2007). An ethical basis for relationship marketing: A virtue ethics perspective. European Journal of Marketing, 41(1/2), 37–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. O’Sullivan, D., & Abela, A. V. (2007). Marketing performance measurement ability and firm performance. Journal of Marketing, 71, 79–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Pagano, B., Pagano, E., & Lundin, S. (2003). The transparency edge: How credibility can make or break you in business. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  73. Paine, L. S. (2003). Value shift: Why companies must merge social and financial imperatives to achieve superior performance. New York: McGraw Hill.Google Scholar
  74. Porter, M. E., & Kramer, M. R. (2006). Strategy and society: The link between competitive advantage and corporate social responsibility. Harvard Business Review, 78–92.Google Scholar
  75. Ratchford, B., Agrawal, J., Grimm, P. E., & Srinivasan, N. (1996). Toward understanding the measurement of market efficiency. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 15(2), 167–184.Google Scholar
  76. Ratchford, B. T., Pan, X., & Shankar, V. (2003). On the efficiency of internet markets for consumer goods. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 22(1), 4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Reichheld, F. F. (1996). The loyalty effect: The hidden force behind growth, profits, and lasting value. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.Google Scholar
  78. Robin, D. P., & Reidenbach, R. E. (1987). Social responsibility, ethics, and marketing strategy: Closing the gap between concept and application. Journal of Marketing, 51(1), 44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Rowley, T. J. (1997). Moving beyond dyadic ties: A network theory of stakeholder influences. Academy of Management Review, 22(4), 887.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Royle, T. (2005). Realism or idealism? Corporate social responsibility and the employee stakeholder in the global fast-food industry. Business Ethics, 14(1), 42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Schwepker, C. H., & Hartline, M. D. (2005). Managing the ethical climate of customer-contact service employees. Journal of Service Research, 7(4), 377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Sen, A. (1987). On ethics and economics. Cambridge: Blackwell Publishers.Google Scholar
  83. Shultz, C. J., II, & Holbrook, M. B. (1999). Marketing and the tragedy of the commons: A synthesis, commentary, and analysis for action. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 18(2), 218.Google Scholar
  84. Slater, S. F., & Narver, J. C. (1995). Marketing orientation and the learning organization. Journal of Marketing, 59, 63–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Smith, N. C. (1993). Ethics and the marketing manager. In N. C. Smith & J. A. Quelch (Eds.), Ethics in marketing. Boston: Irwin.Google Scholar
  86. Smith, N. C., & Cooper-Martin, E. (1997). Ethics and target marketing: The role of product harm and consumer vulnerability. Journal of Marketing, 61(3), 1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Srivastava, R. K., Shervani, T. A., & Fahey, L. (1998). Market-based assets and shareholder value: A framework for analysis. Journal of Marketing, 62, 2–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Srivastava, R. K., Shervani, T. A., & Fahey, L. (1999). Marketing, business processes, and shareholder value: An organizationally embedded view of marketing activities and the discipline of marketing. Journal of Marketing, 63, 168–179 (special issue).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Takala, T., & Uusitalo, O. (1996). An alternative view of relationship marketing: A framework for ethical analysis. European Journal of Marketing, 30(2), 45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Urban, G. (2004). Customer advocacy—a new paradigm for marketing? In J. N. Sheth & R. S. Sisodia (Eds.), Does marketing need reform? Fresh perspectives on the future. Armonk: M.E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
  91. Vargo, S. L., & Lusch, R. F. (2004a). Evolving to a new dominant logic for marketing. Journal of Marketing, 68, 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Vargo, S. L., & Lusch, R. F. (2004b). The four services marketing myths: Remnants from a manufacturing model. Journal of Service Research, 6(4), 324–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Vargo, S. L., & Lusch, R. F. (2006). Service-dominant logic: What it is, what it is not, what it might be. In R. F. Lusch & S. L. Vargo (Eds.), The service-dominant logic of marketing: Dialog, debate, and directions. Armonk: M.E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
  94. Velasquez, M. (2006). Business ethics: Concepts and cases (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  95. Waddock, S. A., Bodwell, C., & Graves, S. B. (2002). Responsibility: The new business imperative. Academy of Management Executive, 16(2), 132.Google Scholar
  96. Wathne, K. H., & Heide, J. B. (2000). Opportunism in interfirm relationships: Forms, outcomes, and solutions. Journal of Marketing, 64(4), 36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Webster, F. E. Jr., Malter, A. J., & Ganesan, S. (2003). Can marketing regain its seat at the table? MSI Reports. Cambridge: MSI.Google Scholar
  98. Wilkie, W. L., & Moore, E. S. (1999). Marketing’s contributions to society. Journal of Marketing, 63, 198–218 (special issue).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  99. Wilkie, W. L., & Moore, E. S. (2003). Scholarly research in marketing: Exploring the ‘4 Eras’ of thought development. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 22(2), 116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  100. Zadek, S. (2004). The path to social responsibility. Harvard Business Review (December), 125–132.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Academy of Marketing Science 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Business and EconomicsCatholic University of AmericaWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Ethical Business Worldwide394 Mendoza College of BusinessNotre DameUSA

Personalised recommendations