Marketing and Ethics


Special issue of Recherche et Applications en Marketing; Deadline 5 Jan 2016

Call for Papers: Special Issue 2017 RAM “Marketing and Ethics”

Deadline: January 5, 2016.

Manuscripts can be submitted in English or in French.

The guest editor for this special issue is:

Joëlle Vanhamme (Edhec Business School)

For marketers, behaving ethically may sometimes feel like a challenge given the constant pressure to generate more sales and profit in the short run. Therefore, companies, associations or groups often develop codes of ethical conduct to guide decision making. The American Marketing Association’s “Statement of Ethical Norms and Values for Marketers” is an example of such code of conduct.

Ethics defines what is right and what is wrong behavior in marketing: “Marketing ethics is the systematic study of how moral standards are applied to marketing decisions, behaviors, and institutions (Laczniak, 2012, p.308).” And, not behaving according to ethical principles will likely lead to dissatisfied customers, bad publicity, lack of trust, lost business, boycotts, legal action, etc.

This special issue welcomes manuscripts that cover a broad range of topics related to Marketing and Ethics. Areas of concern in marketing ethics that can be studied are, for example:

  • Deceptive, false, misleading and unfair marketing practices. Such practices can be related to pricing, packaging, claims (e.g., some brands have tried to use ethics to make themselves look responsible), ….
  • Controversial practices (most of which may be legal but still raise moral questions): controversial advertising approaches; practices that stimulate overconsumption (e.g., food, alcohol, medicines) and overspending; manipulation and sales tactics that may harm customer trust; controversial marketing practices associated with the internet,…
  • Product management: producing and selling products of poor quality or that are not safe, products that create problems for our physical and natural environments (e.g., use of dangerous chemicals), products promoting violence; counterfeiting products, …
  • Marketing research activities: with market research, companies learn information that may be very sensitive and brings risks regarding the invasion of privacy; risks associated with the use of neuroscientific methods (that collect information about brain functions and mechanisms) to study the effectiveness of various marketing stimuli (advertising campaigns, packaging, product design), …
  • Market segmentation issues: ethical questions arise when targeting vulnerable populations such as children, old consumers, economically impoverished consumers, and other disadvantaged populations. Ethical issues may also arise when marketers exploit/manipulate a minority segment or exclude potential customers from the market (gay consumers, ethnic groups, obese consumers, selective access to healthcare, …).
  • Harmful stereotypes: portrayal of ideal body size, weight or beauty stereotypes which can have potential harmful effects on people (lower self-esteem, anorexia, …)
  • Issues with the distribution channel management: abuse of economic power over suppliers; gift-giving and bribery issues
  • Governmental regulations of unethical or unfair marketing practices
  • Consumer perceptions of, and reactions to marketing practices that they perceive as unethical or unfair.

Both conceptual and empirical manuscripts are welcome and there is no restriction regarding the methodology used in the submitted articles.

Manuscripts will follow the normal RAM evaluation process and must respect the journal’s editorial rules. For more information: Proposed papers must be submitted in electronic format to Joëlle Vanhamme (; CC: before January 5, 2016.

Recherche et Applications en Marketing is an official journal of the AFM (French Marketing Association). It is the leading French research journal in the field of marketing which has been published since 1986, and in both English and French since 2007. It is a main reference for the development and dissemination of new concepts and new methods in marketing. It publishes articles covering any aspect of marketing, including consumer behaviour, communication, retailing, CRM, new product development and more. The journal publishes research articles, research notes, critical state of the art papers, and also articles offering perspectives from other disciplines which might be applied to marketing.


E.R. Laczniak (2012), Ethics of marketing, in in SAGE Brief Guide to Business Ethics, Los Angeles: SAGE Publications, pp: 308-322.