Revisit: Thought Experiments


Thought Experiments in Marketing, Special issue of The Open Business Journal, Edited by Michael R. Hyman, Collin R. Payne and Mihai Niculescu; Deadline now 30 Oct 2012




Typical criteria for assessing marketing scholarship include face validity, near-term predictive accuracy, and compatibility with the extant nomological network. As a result, researchers, practitioners, and public policy makers often are blindsided by initially obscured trends and radical change. Anticipatory scholarly treatments such as thought experiments could address this problem. These experiments, which achieve their aim without the benefit of execution, have proven invaluable to physicists; popular examples include Schrödinger’s cat and Maxwell’s demon. Applied to marketing, thought experiments could facilitate theory development (by using hypothetical environments to explore theoretical limits) and provide crucial preparatory guidance for marketing practice.

Thought experiments in marketing would be a type of futurology, which is “the study of postulating possible, probable, and preferable futures and the worldviews and myths that underlie them” (Wikipedia). By suggesting likely constants as well as continuous and discontinuous change, such studies can help assess the likelihood of future events and trends.

In this vein, an upcoming special issue of The Open Business Journal will be dedicated to thought experiments. The many diverse topics suitable for the special issue include, but are not limited to, the following possibilities:

  • Political, business, and consumer responses to transformational technologies (e.g., cloning, genetic engineering, robotics, nanotechnology)
  • Implications of increasingly invasive marketing technologies, such as neuromarketing, data-mining systems, and assisted decision-making systems
  • Climate change and subsequent disruption of distribution channels
  • Virtual reality and consumer behavior
  • Effects of improved consumer health, increased longevity, and growing income inequality on marketing practice
  • Shifts toward experiential rather than material consumption

The review process will be double blind, with three referees evaluating each manuscript. Prospective authors can find manuscript guidelines at tobj/MSandI.htm. Please submit an electronic version of your manuscript (in Word, WordPerfect, or pdf format) as an e-mail attachment or questions about manuscript suitability to the lead guest editor.

Note: The editors plan to market a book of collected works that will include chapters derived from articles published in the special issue.


Mailing Address: Department of Marketing, College of Business, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM 88011-7556 USA

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