Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

A Discontinuous Curricular Innovation: Market Database Development

Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

A Discontinuous Curricular Innovation: Market Database Development

Article excerpt


Information management is, increasingly, becoming a fundamental marketing skill. But this fact is not reflected in the traditional marketing curriculum, which gives little attention to the hands-on use of databases and statistical packages. So this article proposes a curriculum change--the introduction of a new course, Market Database Development--designed to address this lack of training in information management and to implement the three-stage learning process of King, Wood, and Mines (1990). The article discusses the content and structure of the new course and its position within an updated Marketing curriculum.


The past decade has produced enormous changes in marketing practice. With some lag, those changes in practice--and new AACSB standards (AACSB 2000)--are beginning to stimulate substantial changes in marketing education, particularly with respect to globalization and technology (Graef 1998; Moon 1999; Pharr and Morris 1997; Smart, Tomkovick, Jones and Menon 1999). But the transformation of marketing education is far from complete, and the marketing curriculum continues to be criticized by students, legislators, and business leaders for being static and unchanging (Butler and Straughn-Mizerski 1998), unresponsive and irrelevant (Smart, Kelly, and Conant 1999), and ineffective and out of touch (Catterall and Clarke 2000; Smart, Kelly, and Conant 1999). So while changes are occurring, marketing educators are, nevertheless, accused of changing their programs too slowly and infrequently. In effect, they are accused of violating their own dicta, of teaching students that businesses must anticipate change and adapt quickly but of not practicing what they preach (Shuptrine and Willenborg 1998).

These criticisms and environmental changes have produced calls for a root-and-branch rethinking of marketing education at the undergraduate (Lamont and Friedman 1997; Smart et al. 1999) and graduate levels (Ghandi and Bodkin 1996; Moon 1999; Smart, Kelly, and Conant 1999), including calls for the development of a "fourth generation marketing curriculum," a curriculum that emphasizes communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and technology skills, all within a global, ethical perspective (Hill 1997; Pharr and Morris 1997). These calls from inside and outside the marketing education community highlight the growing importance of an ability to use technology to define and solve marketing problems (Shuptrine and Willenborg 1998).

This paper discusses the effort of one marketing program to address these concerns by replacing its traditional marketing curriculum with a new curriculum more suitable for the new economy. Specifically, it discusses changes made in the marketing curriculum at [University Name] to more fully develop technology and problem solving skills. The most important part of this curricular change was a radical restructuring of the traditional Marketing Research course, a transformation that narrowed the focus of the course while expanding the coverage of issues related to the use of information in marketplace decision making. This was accomplished by breaking apart and distributing the content of the traditional course over other courses and by creating a new technology and information intensive course, Market Database Development. This paper focuses upon the content of this new course, which was specially designed to help students position themselves at the nexus of technology and business decision making. After discussing at some length the logic and structure of this new course, the paper concludes with lessons learned in this effort to transform the marketing curriculum and make it more relevant to current business practice.


Many studies have emphasized the centrality of technology in the transformation and revitalization the marketing curriculum (Benbunan-Fich, et al. 2001; Butler and Straughn-Mizerski 1998; Castleberry 2001; Floyd and Gordon 1998; Gault, Redington, and Schlager 2000; Ghandi and Bodkin 1996; Koch 1997; LaBarbera and Simonoff 1999; Lamb, Shipp, and Moncrief 1995; Lamont and Friedman 1997; Moon 1999; Siegel 2000; Shuptrine and Willenborg 1998; Sterngold and Hurlbert 1998). …

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