Essay: Organization Behavior Ethics in Marketing

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[. . .] This marketing strategy can also be regarded unethical as it is totally a misrepresentation of the facts in front of customers (Crane & Matten 2007).

The Assessment of Ethics in Marketing and Promotional Activities:

After discussing a number of examples and issues from the business world, it is essential to explain what makes a marketing and promotional activity socially and morally ethical in the eyes of Law and society. The first and the foremost assessment criterion for this process are to look into the marketing objectives for the business and define the ethical boundaries for it. Following are the most important steps which assess whether a marketing activity is ethical or unethical:

1. The sales and marketing of products must not be illegal:

For a business to be operative on legal grounds, it is essential to follow all the Laws and regulations that are implemented by the Government and regulatory bodies in the country. But there are possibilities that a legal business is promoted in an illegal or prohibited way. For example, some countries may totally ban the selling and promotion of some particular products in their markets. If still these products are sold or marketed in those countries, it will be legally unethical. Illegal marketing can be done through various means (Crane & Matten 2007).

The most common form of this type of marketing is smuggling. Some products are promoted through illegal imports. These products may not be too costly for the local citizens, but are restricted by governments in order to encourage legal businesses or dismay illegal activities from the markets. Therefore, it is necessary for all business organizations to market their products that are legally acceptable by the Government of their country (Lamb, Hair, & McDaniel 2012).

2. Deceptive Marketing Practices:

Some businesses promote and sell their product by communicating wrong information to their potential customers. For example, they may convey wrong information of their product's price, quality, warranty, manufacturer, features, capacity, and the like. If customers are attracted through wrong information, it will be totally called an unethical practice (Murphy, Laczniak, & Prothero 2012). Therefore, a marketing campaign must not be deceptive to customers, suppliers, distributors, or business promotion agencies of the company. It can save it from criticism in the future and help maintain a good public image.

3. Ambiguous Information on Products and Services:

Sometimes it is difficult for customers to comprehend or understand product information correctly. It may be due to the ambiguous labeling or user information printed on the products. This information may totally change the purchase decision of customers as they choose wrong product from a range of other products (Murphy, Laczniak, & Prothero 2012). Afterwards, when they realize that the product which they chose does not meet their requirements; they criticize the company for its misrepresentation or fraud (Schlegelmilch & Oberseder 2010). Therefore, companies should make their promotional campaigns and product labeling easy for the target customers. The structure of sentences must be the simplest while the product features must be communicated as they actually are (Lamb, Hair, & McDaniel 2012).

4. Terms and Conditions of Usage:

Using some other person's work and presenting it with one's own name is illegal and unethical. This is also true when businesses use formulas, operative procedures, and web contents of other businesses and publish them with their own name. It is regarded unethical as customers do not generally have information on whether a particular company truly owns those resources, information, procedures, and contents or not (Murphy, Laczniak, & Prothero 2012).

False Expectations can spoil the Company's Image:

The biggest disadvantage of unethical marketing is that it can spoil the organization's image in the eyes of its customers, supply chain members, business promotional agencies, and distribution firms. For example, when a company conveys wrong information, use deceptive policies and practices in its operations, and tries to attract the key stakeholders through misrepresentations and fraud, it basically puts its track record on risk. Once these stakeholders come to know the truth, they either strongly criticize the company or totally boycott its products and services (Abela & Murphy 2008).


It is imperative for business organizations to ensure a secure and sustainable future in their industry. They should use effective marketing strategies that cannot only promote their business, but are also socially and ethically acceptable by all their key stakeholders (Murphy & Laczniak 2006). These strategies can help them in making themselves recognized as socially responsible corporate entities. It is obvious that organizations can only prove themselves socially responsible if they show deep concern for the society in which they operate and care for the social and religious values of the society members (Lamb, Hair, & McDaniel 2012).

Ethical marketing helps them in building stronger public image in the eyes of the society. Through ethical marketing, they can win the customers' confidence and portray what they actually wish for the society (Murphy & Laczniak 2006). Therefore, they should not use any deceptive policies, misrepresentation, or fraudulent tactics in their marketing and promotional campaigns. They should promote and sell their products to only those customers that truly fall under their target markets. Using ambiguous information, labeling, and user guides may make the customers feel disappointed or angry with the company (Abela & Murphy 2008). In severe cases, companies have to face strong criticism and boycotts by their customers and the society members.


Abela, A.V., & Murphy, P.E., 2008, Marketing with Integrity: Ethics and the Service-Dominant Logic for Marketing, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 36 (1): 39-53

Arnold, C., 2009, Ethical Marketing and the New Consumer. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons

Crane, A., & Matten, D. 2007, Business Ethics: Managing Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability in the Age of Globalization. 2nd Edition. Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford University Press

Kurtz, D.L., 2012, Boone & Kurtz Contemporary Marketing. 15th Edition. Mason: South-Western Cengage Learning

Lamb, C.W., Hair, J.F., & McDaniel, C.D., 2012, Essentials of Marketing. 7th Edition. Mason: South-Western Cengage Learning

Murphy, P.E., Laczniak, E.R., & Prothero, A. 2012, Ethics in Marketing: International Cases and Perspectives. London: Routledge

Murphy, P.E. & Laczniak, G.R. 2006, Marketing Ethics: Cases and Readings. New Jersey: Pearson Higher Education

Pride, W.M.,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Organization Behavior Ethics in Marketing.  (2012, April 14).  Retrieved June 26, 2019, from

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"Organization Behavior Ethics in Marketing."  14 April 2012.  Web.  26 June 2019. <>.

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"Organization Behavior Ethics in Marketing."  April 14, 2012.  Accessed June 26, 2019.