All entries for Wednesday 10 June 2009

June 10, 2009

Pet peeve #2

People who do not realise that the Union flag does have a right way up and that flying it upside down is an indication that they are in distress.

Does it matter? Well if other minorities can take offence at the slightest and most innocent of remarks and expect redress (see pet peeve #1 - political correctness) am I not permitted to express offence at the frequent abuse of a nation's symbol that is over 200 years old.

FYI: this is the wrong way up

Incidentally, this one was on the table in front of
Peter Mandelson and Gordon Brown at the public signing
of a trade deal with China in Feb this year.
Perhaps they meant it ... or perhaps, it was made in ...
Nah! Couldn't be

And the website of that party renowned
for its tolerance (the BNP) in their extolling
the virtues of being British, also proudly displays
an image of an inverted flag.


upside down flag

And FYI this is the right way up.

And yes, I was a boy scout.

right way up flag

Marketing education vs Apprenticeship

Despite the number of people engaged in marketing (or for that matter business) education (there are, for example, over 50 taught MScs in Marketing in the UK alone (including WBS' MSc in Marketing & Strategy, of which the author is currently the Academic Director) and despite the fact that many universities (globally) have either a business school or a department of education or both, there is, relatively speaking, little research into the application of learning theory in marketing education.

Within the field of management, there are a few (all relatively recent) journals dedicated to management education, teaching and learning, but none in the 4* category (at least not in the 2009 ABS journal rankings . The highest ranked is the 3* Academy of Management Learning and Education journal. Marketing education does have its own journals (e.g. Journal of Marketing Education and Marketing Education Reviewinter alia) but these are ranked lower down the ABS scale.

What is telling is that, despite the clear importance of understanding a subject's pedagogy to both an educational establishment purporting to teach the subject and/or to the thousands practioners in the field itself, a review of the top marketing journals reveals a dearth of articles on marketing pedagogy.

The recognised leader in marketing journals, the Journal of Marketing, in the several decades of its existence, has published just 30 articles on marketing education, teaching &/or learning, the last of which was in 1981!!! And the Journal of Marketing Management (for many years the official academic journal of the Marketing Educators Group, now the Academy of Marketing) yields only 20 substantive articles that are related to marketing education in its 30 year history.

It seems that marketing educators are not interested in research relating to the pedagogy of their own subject. This suggests that either there is little to research (but the mass of published pedagocially oriented research in other fields and the growth of interest and research in business knowledge transfer suggests otherwise) or that marketing educators are arrogant to the point of believing that such research matters little to them or that they know best or that knowledge about teaching best practice is gained osmotically or that marketing teachers are born not made or ... . Studying how organizations learn (an oxymoron if ever there was, since an organization is a socially constructed abstract concept?) is a valid topic for research, but how individual marketers learn or how learning theory can be best utilised in the teaching of marketing seems to be of little interest. 

Of course it could be that few have yet produced research of the appropriate calibre!

Thoughts, comments, ideas, research, pointers, tips, etc., etc., that relate to pedogogy in the fields of marketing &/or strategy are welcome, but particulalry those, given other strands in this blog, relating to technology in teaching and learning.

Research Methods: Useful knowledge or wasting time?

In this blog strand the emphasis is on ontological, epistemological, and methodological issues, ideas, and examples relating to empirical and interpretative research in the disciplines of marketing and/or strategy.

All HE taught business modules (especially in leading business schools such as Warwick) are (or should be) research led. Without robust research that explores or seeks to understand the conceptual underpinnings of business success and failure (whether qualitative or quantitative, positivist or constructionist), the teaching of business in higher education would be little more than either training in a particular technique (and that could be learned from a book) or a series of interesting business stories, anecdotes and experiences from which any learning would be wholly reliant on serendipity.

This is not to denigrate the role of experience, anecdotes or serendipity: spotting opportunities or insights drawn from stimulating examples is a major part of what business, and business research, is about. To paraphrase Machiavelli ('The Prince', 1532) we are all presented with opportunities but for them to be real opportunities we must a) recognise them as opportunities and then b) be in a position (i.e. have access to the knowledge and the resources) to take advantage of them as and when the opportunities are presented.

Business research is about conceptualising, understanding and/or categorising, and then making available and accessible, the knowledge needed to recognise opportunities and then to understand how the available resources can be best deployed to take advantage of those opportunities. However, unless such research is built on solid, robust, reliable and valid foundations the danger (?) is that business edifices are built on sand. For example, if more market researchers and users of market research understood the strengths and limitations of the various data collection and analysis methods, better and more robust research might emerge and better business decisions might result. My witness: the 'New Coke' debacle, in which, in essence, the wrong question was being investigated.

Thoughts, comments, ideas, examples and discussions relating to business (but particularly marketing and strategy) research methods are most welcome.

Online Marketing

Internet or e- marketing has become a very broad topic and it is not my intent to solve all possible problems. Suffice it to say that this field is already densly populated with thousands if not millions of sites and blogs on the subject. Hence my goal is to add value to, as opposed to replicating, such content.

My interest in the marketing/technology interface stems from a very long-standing love-hate relationship with information and communications technology and its usefulness to businesses. My role in the energy industry in the 1970's and 80's involved the use of technology to monitor and log oil and gas wells as they were drilled and then to transmit that information back to the companies' geologists and HQs (and that included full frame video links from remote areas of Alaska back to Denver as long ago as 1980).

My primary interests here (and the foci of this blog strand) are on marketers' practical uses of the technology and the integration of that technology into their marketing strategies and and on consumers' adoption of technologies in their search for and purchase of goods and services. Topics such as online buying and switching behaviour, development of online communities, viral and buzz marketing, and marketing in virtual worlds all fall into this category.

Thoughts, ideas, comments, research, examples and experiences on these topics are most welcome.

The concept of trust

I refer here to trust in all its socially constructed manifestations, but this bloggers interests lean towards the role of trust in both an online (see Zone B) and a consumer marketing context.

Trust (or lack of it) is at the heart of any and all relationships and business transactions. The whole banking system is built on the faith and trust of its depositors and participants in the system (and the US federal reserve goes one step further - its bank notes bear the inscription "In God We Trust" ). The very existence of a bank note (or its virtual equivalent) is to permit transactions that are based on trust and that the implicit 'promise to pay' will be honoured. The present credit crunch crisis developed after a loss of faith in and trust in the financial system.


And fugu enthusiasts put their ultimate trust in the fugu chef - one unwitting slip of the knife into the poison sac during preparation and death is a high probability.

Serious research into the concept of trust emerged in the 1960's and 1970's (e.g. Zand, 1972) and occurs in many disciplines (Sociology, Psychology, Information Systems, Medicine, and, more recently, Management and Marketing) as Arnott's (2009) trust_a_bibliography_may09.docxattests.

The goal in this zone is to explore and discuss the trust construct.

Thoughts, ideas, research, pointers to articles about and examples of trust (and mistrust or distrust) are welcome.

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