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Marketing Ethics and Society

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Introduction
The term “Marketing ethics” has been defined as how moral standards of right and fair practices are implemented into organization and strategy (Murphy et al., 2005). In fact, marketing and ethics are usually seemed as a contradiction, because the purpose of marketing is monetary-oriented. The ultimate goal for business is making profit or generating sales, while ethics is moral and societal, such as contributing to the society. Introcaso et al (1998) quotes Michael Novak’s (1998) words that business might fail in the short term if introducing ethical model in competition, because high moral standards increase costs. Consequently, numerous companies launch misleading advertising, manufacture unsafe products, exploit labour right and waste natural resource for self-interest. They have indirectly deceived vulnerable consumers and sacrificed minority group.

Nevertheless, marketing ethics can be seen in positive ways and ethics can actually be moulded into developing blocks of competitive advantages (Wyburd, 1998). Similarly, The Hong Kong Ethics Development Centre documents (1998) also expressed that marketing ethics make better employees and company reputation, which all enhance the company’s competitive edge in the long term. This indicates that ethics is a win-win strategy for business if managers place consumer satisfaction and social welfare beyond profitability.

According to Meyers (2004), being ethical or not, is attributed to individual characteristics and business culture. This report will identify how individual characteristics affect ethical behaviour in an organization and its marketing strategy with The Body Shop (TBS) example applied and how it can strike the balance.

The relation between ethical behavio...

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... to some extent, is a crucial element for Anita Roddick and TBS to persist with ethical responsibility for years. It is a shame-induced sense of imperative. There is also evidence that Alter and Winger consider “shame”, is to criticise socially destructive behaviour. Therefore, ‘shame’ could assist individual and organisation avoid being unethical. For example, TBS was sold to L‘Oreal Group since 2006. During that time, L‘Oreal Group does not have ethical image or adapt Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). However, TBS remains its passion on moral values, instead of changing its business philosophy. In addition, TBS has influenced L‘Oreal Group successfully by starting introducing 6 Community Fair Trade ingredients across a range of its brands (Global Value Report, 2011). This means ‘shame’ not only makes TBS stick to core values strictly, but also affects others.
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