Global marketing leadership and ethical issues have become a more frequent occurrence give the increased business participation the ever growing global economy. Even though some people think that culture is fragile and when compromised will cease to exist, marketing can be both the preserving measure of a culture or its compromising factor. Marketing of products stems from a more economically developed and open market societies such as countries like: The United States, Europe, and Australia to name a few.
The marketing ethics and leadership dilemma begins with how to translate an open market to economical underdeveloped countries and how to market with cultural sensitivity without losing the ethical integrity of what the business stands for and actually engages in. The question to be posed and answered by the ethical leadership and marketing of globally participator businesses is if cultural sensitivity the driving force behind the study of global ethics and leadership or is this just as adaptable as the open market for business is today?
With increased globalization come increased cross-cultural ethics issues. Modern marketing is viewed as that compromising factor that westernizes cultures globally, however, advances cultures as well. The focus of ethical marketing is how to respect the cultural practices and views of ethics and market a business product effectively. Cultural divides should not create a dilemma in the globalized economy; however, the sensitivity to cultural ethics should warrant a business to have integrity and pride in their products while adhering to often hard to adapt cultural ethical views.
Culturally we are different and should be respected however; cultural differences should be celebrated and adapted too in order to really see a unified global marketing perspective. Another question to be answered by ethical marketing should be how does a business effectively differentiate and anticipate the ethical and the cultural sensitivities from country to country they wish to secure a market share in? Cultural Marketing Sensitivities
As businesses enter and seek to sustain their market positions in the ever growing global market, the tactics of marketing used must be adapted to been seen as ethical to the cultures presented but not so adapted that the integrity of the business is lost. To achieve this balance Aristotle’s mean doctrine focuses on the “moral virtues” that are identified as the middle ground between selfish motive and an indifferent motive. The moral and ethical differences also need to be addressed as the act of engaging in marketing for a business is to satisfy, anticipate and identify customer product requirements profitably (Carrigan et. l. , 2005). A goal of marketing is to identify consumer requirements of a product as their largest vote globally is the dollars in which they use to purchase various products. Globally, standards vary and must be addressed through the interface of marketing ethics that joins the buyer preferences with overall company profitability aspirations on the demand of their products and services. The culture of a country plays a large role in the way the members of that society relate ethics in marketing and the socialization of what is viewed as acceptable behaviors (Pires et. al. , 2002 ).
To better understand Pires et. al. (2002) continues to explain that ethics is a compromised set of four classical philosophical questions that relate to the phenomenon of global marketing ethics: (1) what is the first principle of things? (Metaphysics), (2) what is true? (Epistemology), (3) what is beautiful (Aesthetics), and (4) how to persuade or influence others? (Rhetoric) (Pires et. al. , 2002) All four of these questions lend themselves to the understanding of the urgency of fundamental understanding of how ethics, leadership, marketing and the global markets relate to each other.
Ethics of Marketing Metaphysics: What is the first principle of things? Metaphysics as a constructed by Kant as metaphysics of morals is an ethical point of view of morality in reference to self-interest over community as applied to the ethical dilemma of globalized marketing. Kant (1788) metaphysics view on ethics and morality utilized a utilitarian theory and focused on the duties of the business not being associated with complete self-interest (Carrigan et. al. , 2005, p. 481).
Metaphysical morality when applied to global marketing directs businesses to seek to satisfy objectives other than business interest. Kant’s study continues to reveal that businesses have a duty to satisfy and deliver benefits through ethical marketing strategies sensitive to the cultures they are trying to influence (Carrigan et. al. , 2005, p. 481). The pay-off and ultimate moral imperative for a business is securing the sale of the items marketed globally. The businesses’ utilization of Kant’s metaphysical morality can lead to ncreased market presence as the business appears ethical to the global consumer. The first principle of global marketing is to appear acceptable in behavior, ethical and culturally sensitive during the marketing process. While appearing ethical in marketing, businesses must also adhere to varying truth standards for each global market the business enters. Epistemology: What is true? Epistemology as a marketing ethics and leadership component is demonstrated in the study of knowledge and justified beliefs (Carrigan et. al. , 2005).
Marketing on a global scale must make normative moral decisions when presenting the business version of the truth within its adverting. Product safety and the correlated marketing global advertisements must be presented in a non-controversial way and with sensitivity towards the ethical boundaries of the global markets. Western ethics vary defiantly and operating globally will involve a quest through epistemological “objective” reality (Pires et. al. , 2002, p. 111). The introduction of an objective reality is in stark contrast to the Japanese culture fueled by tradition that is not as flexible to outside influence.
The United States has the ability to find truth for many small and integrated cultural groups while justifying the objective reality as a normative moral marketing tactic acceptable within the United States culture. In contrast to Japan that is rooted is aesthetics and normative moral conduct based around what is considered respectable. The cultural views of beauty can often be taboo in cross-cultural marketing and businesses are charged with presenting a beautiful, ethical and aesthetically acceptable by each global market’s standards.
Aesthetics: What is beautiful? Beauty ethics in marketing is as very important as it translates desirability of the product and sells the benefits of a product through visual artistry. An example of the aesthetic marketing manipulation power as explained by Carrigan et. al. (2005) is: in order to market and develop a market for tobacco products, tobacco companies were distributing promotional cigarettes to anyone in Taiwan despite of age or gender by beautiful young girls creating a luring effect on the culture (Carrigan et. l. , 2005). The use of aesthetically pleasing young girls can be seen as an unethical way to promote a health harming product, especially without requirements of age. Marketing within western culture is considered ethical and within cultural boundaries as the marketing use of young beautiful girls is common place and accepted as normal behavior. Nudity is common in Western culture as we celebrate beauty and stardom, which is not, accepted everywhere as close as Japan.
A culture bathed in tradition, nudity is not acceptable behavior and in reference to marketing ethics would be considered unethical and in poor taste. Kant explained aesthetics as an appreciation in terms of delight or aversion of an object or person; delight being known as beautiful (Dobson, 2010). The aesthetic ethics is not utilitarian, however does create a corporate aesthetic style (Dobson, 2010). The consumer is the most foundational relationship the business desires to build as the marketing campaigns demonstrate an overall business and product aesthetic.
Beauty creates a visual representation of the marketing campaign; however the rhetoric of the marketing tends to be what sticks with the desired audience. Rhetoric: How to persuade or influence others? Rhetoric ethics is a utilitarian ethical theory that reviews the power of influencing others. Culturally, international marketers are in control of a majority of the marketing mix allowing them the potential to shape political power, changing social structures, and influencing economic development (Dobson, 2010).
The utility of participating in a globalized marketing campaign has to produce benefits that outweigh the cost to comply with cultural difference in ethics and leadership. Persuasion and agreement has to be forthcoming and evaluated on the basis of societal cost if safety concerns or recalls surface for the products being marketed. Given the power to persuade, companies should never try to justify any actions to the consumer that hurt or harm them, however the marketing company should strive to maintain a high set of ethical standards within the rhetoric of their marketing (Dobson, 2010).
Ethical marketing and global leadership relies on firms accepting global responsibility for the claims made in advertising to spark consumer interest and ultimately their commitment to patron the business. Conclusion In a global marketing scenario the utilitarianism view would be comfortable in reviewing and weighing the cost of a possibly culturally insensitive and unethical marketing campaign if it secured sales and interest for a business.
Marketing serves society’s needs without ethical strings or boundaries as explained by Carrigan et. al. (2005) referencing the explanation given by Fineman. Within multi-national companies that participate globally, there is Fineman, as quoted by Carrigan et. al. (2005) details how apart from the lapses with gun marketing, pornography, Breadshaw and Palfreman presented marketing as a neutral system or tools of management that serve the market with good (Carrigan et. al. , 2005, p. 83). Culturally, the globalization of the market has empowered leaders to seek an ethical foundation that is uniform when engaging in promoting their business. The ethical dilemma enters when cultures vary so significantly that the definitions of acceptable behavior are polar opposites. Dunfee et. al (1999) posed the research thesis of finding a normative moral foundation for marketing that provides a framework of resolve for the ethical issues that arise in global marketing.
The commonality of Kantian, virtue, rights, justice utilitarianism and social contract theories of global marketing is the perspective of impartiality and marketing morality. Moving forward as the global economy continues to grow, the overall ethical fibers of the marketing profession will need to adapt with the ever changing cultures of the world. As the consumer’s taste change, so will the marketing ethics and leadership strategies in order to remain effective and acceptable culturally.