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Scientific marketing management and the emergence of the ethical marketing concept

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Our objective in this paper is to recall the linkages between marketing and management thought. At the turn of the twentieth century, the two disciplines were connected via the work of Frederick Taylor and Percival White. As conventionally represented, Taylor was the father of scientific management and, by extension, the management sciences more generally. He is also frequently associated with a focus on production efficiency. However, a close reading of Taylor reveals his appreciation of the connection between production and consumption and thus the importance of the ultimate consumer. Taylor's ideas and the work, published in the Bulletin of the Taylor Society, which provided an outlet for the scholarship of early marketing thinkers, provide the linchpin between the production ethos of Taylor and the emergence of ‘scientific marketing’ exemplified in the work of Percival White. The latter demonstrated the ideological credibility of his scientific marketing system via its association with science and attributes such as objectivity. Importantly, in his work we find the first clear articulation of the marketing concept. Unlike present-day debates, which frequently treat it as a synonym for shareholder value, the early articulations of the marketing concept were underwritten by an explicit ethical orientation that placed limits on corporate behaviour, ideas that were again brought to prominence courtesy of the consumerist movement of the 1960s and 1970s.
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Keywords: Frederick Taylor; Percival White; customer orientation; scientific marketing management; scientific salesmanship; the marketing concept

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Strathclyde, UK 2: Quinnipiac University, USA

Publication date: 2012-02-01

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