Recently we were looking at theorists that we could use in relation to what we are researching for our projects. Here’s who I’ve found so far and a little bit about how I think they’d apply:
Because my senior thesis has taken a turn to look deeper into the ethics of customer-relationship-marketing strategies and their connection to mental manipulation, I’ve decided to look at a couple of different philosophers and theorists. The first one I’ve taken a look at is Carol Gilligan, who is famously known for her feminine studies and contribution the The Ethics of Care. The other philosopher I wanted to look at was Richard DeGeorge who did most of his ethical work in regard to the business world. The final theorists I wanted to look at were Baxter and Montgomery, and their Relational Dialects theory.
I think it was important to look at Richard DeGeorge because he’s a common business ethics philosopher and I needed someone with a significant stance in the business world. There’s often discussion about whether or not businesses should be held to higher ethical standards as far as their social responsibility goes. Social responsibility or ethics is seen as an “add-on” because some believe the product of a successful business (jobs, money from taxes…) is enough. DeGeorge thinks that when it comes to marketing, ethics cannot be this “add-on” concept. He believes that because marketing is done in society and operates according to societal functions, there has to be a consideration about a businesses ethical procedures and social responsibility. I think DeGeorge would be against consumer-relationship-marketing because it’s manipulative and going against societies ethics, and because of the particularly personal level of marketing that Mary Kay uses, he would not agree if someone tried to say they were exempt from any kind of higher ethical standards.
This is where Carol Gilligan comes in. Outside of the business world I wanted another theorist, especially if DeGeorge believes that business should be held to an ethical standard of society. The Ethics of Care was a theory developed that focuses on how people specifically women process ethics decisions and how females have an aspect of caring that often times males don’t use in the same way when it came to making those decisions. To sum this theory up it this theory focuses on safeguarding and promote the interests of those involved. I think Gilligan would have questions about customer-relationship-marketing strategies, and especially about how Mary Kay uses them. Their strategy seems to disregard the consumers role in what’s happening, and the Ethics of Care says there should be consideration for how the vulnerabilities of one person is affected by another person’s choices.
Baxter and Mongomery focuses on how the conversations of people who share a relationship function. I think this is particularly interesting to look at because of the friendship aspect that is involved with Mary Kay’s marketing. Marketers are taught not to take no for an answer, so in a relationship that relies on communication to organize it’s complexity, having to deal with someone who refuses to listen could cause a lot of issues. This is especially problematic because of the connection that the seller and consumer have in CRM models. In general if you meet someone who’s trying to get you to buy something and they won’t listen to your objections, it’s easier to walk away or leave the situation. Having a friend who’s pushing you to make a purchase is a little different because of that relationship, which then alters the type of conversation and/or actions that the consumer feels they can take.