In any situation they must be able to distinguish what is ethical from what is unethical and act accordingly, regardless of the possible consequences. Marketing executives should practice ethical behaviour because it is morally correct.
While this is simple and beautiful in concept, it is not sufficient motivation for everyone.
Pragmatic reasons for ethical behaviour:
1. To reverse declining public confidence in marketing:Periodically we hear about misleading package labels, false claims in ads, phony list prices, and infringements of well established trademarks. Though such practices are limited to only a small proportion of all marketing, the reputations of all marketers are damaged. To reverse this situation, business leaders must demonstrate convincingly that they are aware of their ethical responsibility and will fulfil it.
Companies must set high ethical standards and enforce them. Moreover, it is in management’s interest to be concerned with the well-being of consumers, since they are the lifeblood of a business. 2. To avoid increases in government regulation:Our economic freedoms sometimes have a high price, just as our political freedoms, do. Business apathy, resistance, or token responses to unethical behavior simply increase the probability of more government regulation.
Indeed, most of the governmental limitations on marketing are the result of management’s failure to live up to its ethical responsibilities at one time or other. Moreover, once some form of government control has been introduced, it is rarely removed. 3. To regain the power granted by society:Marketing executives wield a great deal of social power as they influence markets and speak out on economic issues.
However, there is responsibility tied to that power. If marketers do not use their power in a socially acceptable manner, that power will be lost in the long run. 4. To protect the image of the organization:Buyers often form an impression of an entire organization based on their contact with one person. More often than not, that person represents the marketing function. You may base your opinion of a retail store on the behaviour of a single sales clerk. As Procter & Gamble put it in an annual report: “When a Procters Gamble sales person walks into a customer’s place of business that sales person not only represents Procter & Gamble, but in a very real sense, that person is Procter & Gamble.
” However, every decision cannot be taken out of the hands of the manager. Furthermore, determining what is right and what is wrong can be extremely difficult. It is not realistic for an organization to construct a two-column list of all possible practices, on headed “ethical” and the other “unethical.” Rather, a marketer must be able to evaluate a situation and formulate a response.