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Ethical guidelines for marketing practice: a reply to Gaski and some observations on the role of normative marketing ethics



Authors / Editors

Smith N C

Publication Year



Gaski (1999) is critical of marketing ethics and suggests that its ethical guidelines amount to no more than 'obey the law' and 'act in your self-interest'. This reply questions Gaski's critique and clarifies possible misconceptions about the field that might otherwise result. It identifies the limitations and assumptions of Gaski's argument and shows that there are exceptions to his central proposition even when narrowly circumscribed. It is not disputed that there is merit to reminding managers of their obligations to obey the law and to act in their enlightened self-interest. However, although fulfilling these obligations is generally a necessary requirement for good conduct, it is not sufficient. There are situations where ethics demands more of marketing managers than 'obey the law' and 'act in your self-interest'. In addition, managers may face situations where ethics, the law and self-interest are inconsistent. The article incorporates observations on the role of normative marketing ethics, including the requirement to develop ethical theory for marketing as well as ethical guidelines.

Publication Research Centre

Centre for Marketing

Series Number



Centre for Marketing Working Paper

Available on ECCH


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