Several conclusions can be drawn from this article. First, an understanding of the legal and ethical foundations underlying exchange is essential to the development of exchange relationships. Second, analyses of both foundations of exchange highlight the growing significance of ethical principles as one moves across the exchange continuum. Third, implications for marketers interested in moving toward more relational exchanges are that greater emphasis should be placed on implementing ethical considerations into their firms' decision making. Building trust, establishing equity, developing responsibility, and solidifying commitment appear to be important exchange dimensions. Finally, future academic researchers might study ethical versus legal considerations, operationalization of relevant variables, analysis of functional marketing issues, cross-cultural exchange, and alternative forms of governance or regulation available to parties involved in exchange.
Gregory T. Gundlach
Patrick E. Murphy1
The authors extend their appreciation to Bob Dwyer, Jule Gassenheimer, Frank Houston, Pat Kaufman, Gene Laczniak, Donald Robin, Joshua Wiener, and members of the Department of Marketing at the University of Notre Dame for their helpful comments.
Viewing exchange as extending from transactional to contractual to relational transactions provides a construct for the relational characteristics for the exchange process. The duration of long-run relational exchanges leads to a substantial investment for both parties involved in the exchange. On the other hand, the short-term exchange encompassing a distinct beginning and end represents very limited investment in the exchange relationship.
This chapter makes a significant contribution in outlining the legal and ethical foundations underlying marketing exchange. Most significant are the implications for marketers interested in moving toward longer-term relational exchanges. These firms should be placing more emphasis on implementing ethical considerations into their firm's decision making. Ethics must be viewed as a component in building the trust and confidence necessary for long-term relational exchange.
One of the most important concerns in assessing the ethical foundations of exchange is the recognition that ethical decisions occur in a marketing organization