Academic journal article Academy of Marketing Science Review

Recapturing Humanity: Embeddedness in Market Communities

Academic journal article Academy of Marketing Science Review

Recapturing Humanity: Embeddedness in Market Communities

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Relationship marketing has made significant advances in recent years and is increasingly projected as a new paradigm for marketing theory and practice. However, the theory continues to suffer from two serious lacunae. First, at a microlevel, theory treats actors in markets as instrumental entities, who utilize social influences to achieve the most efficient outcome. Second, at a macrolevel, markets are treated axiomatically without adequate inquiry into the core assumptions that construct the market concept. This video addresses these shortcomings in our understanding of markets as institutions and human beings as market actors by closely examining the role of social norms.

The lack of an active discourse on markets in marketing and the failure to use the market as a unit of analysis has resulted in an overwhelming concentration on microdimensions of actions and actors within markets. We suggest that this emphasis on individual buyer/seller behavior based on neoclassical assumptions is theoretically incomplete and deficient. Moreover, since scholars have viewed markets primarily as socially disembedded systems, the influence of sociocultural norms in market behavior has also been only partially understood.

Our video ethnography of a market in Kolkata, India challenges the utilitarian-functional perspective that prevails in the discipline on norms. Our research demonstrates that instrumental reduction of norms and their utilization by market actors for better individual or collective performance are incomplete descriptions. In this video we show that market behavior has human and humane dimensions that cannot be understood without a broader conceptualization of human motives and actions. …

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