MKTG 670: MARKETING THEORY QUESTIONS
(C) = question may appear on course exam or comprehensive exam
(E) = question may appear on course exam only
(D) = question is for discussion purposes
New Examination Questions, Fall 2001/2005
What is Science?
(01) Discuss the role–current and ideal–of social scientists in helping to improve societal well being?
(01) "Science differs from non-science in numerous meaningful ways." Discuss.
Is Marketing a Science?
(01) Houston, Gassenheimer, and Maskulka (1992) state:
we have yet to learn how to learn for the sake of learning; the payoff is that we are good at backcasting, but offer little to those leading their lives in the future (p.131).
(01) Zaltman, Lemasters, and Heffring (1982) describe metalanguage (e.g., market segmentation) as improving marketing practice and as having a clarifying effect. Do specialized words or phrases understood by few scholars and practitioners clarify or confuse marketing issues?
(01) "An enduring general theory of marketing is possible." Discuss.
Production of Marketing Knowledge
(01) "Marketing knowledge can benefit marketing scholars and practitioners. Clearly, the production of such knowledge requires open communications between these two groups." Discuss.
(01) Do marketing scholars market marketing knowledge (i.e., has marketing knowledge become a commodity)? If so, is this good or bad?
(01) Some marketing scholars argue that replications and extensions of extant studies is required for the true advancement of marketing knowledge. Agree or disagree, and why?
(01) Dubin (1969) states:
When scientists from other disciplines attack problems of a less well-developed discipline, its practitioners are likely to resist the invasion and refuse to give credence to the invader's theories. This is happening increasingly . . . [in] the social sciences (p.112).
Discuss Dubin's comment relative to the development of marketing thought within one or more areas of marketing.
Sociology of Science
(01) Discuss the problem of scientific fraud in the development of scientific knowledge.
(01) What is the role of trust in the development of scientific knowledge?
(01) In The Psychology of Creativity and Discovery: Scientists and their Work (1981), the authors argue that discovery often requires the development of divergent ideas. Agree or disagree, and why?
(01) In The Limits of Scientific Reasoning (1984), Faust argues that the cognitive limitations of scientists is a major limitation to the quality and complexity of social science inquiry. Discuss.
(01) What are advantages and disadvantages of metaphor in the development of marketing theory and pedagogy?
(05) Loehle (1996) posits that modern academic workplaces are not conducive to the generation of deep thought, that creative thought is unrewarded, and that academicians must struggle to escape areas of expertise that limit their creative abilities. Do you believe that the recent marketing literature support Loehle’s assertion? Explain your position, citing examples.
(05) Zaltman and Price (1984) assert knowledge disavowal is detrimental to marketing research, although they acknowledge the dangers inherent to paradigm shifts. Do you believe that marketing scholarship has fallen into a comfort zone that precludes meaningful progress? Explain.
History of Marketing
(01) In their book Marketing Theory (1988), Sheth, Gardner, and Garrett discuss twelve schools of marketing thought. Their analysis suggests that many of these schools–the remnants of which still inform the corpus of marketing thought–were short-lived intellectual fads. Select one of these currently less popular schools and discuss how scholarly inquiry grounded in that school could improve marketing theory and practice. (Note: Do not discuss the buyer behavior or managerial schools.)
(01) Fullerton (1986) describes historicism as a philosophy of social science under which knowledge is culturally and historically bound. Contrast historicism with the logical empiricist's perspective that a scientist is an impartial observer of fact.
(01) Some authors trace the evolution of marketing thought through scholarly journal publications; others trace this evolution through textbooks. Discuss the relative merits of each approach, researchable questions, and differing conclusions (both possible and currently recognized).
(01) "Many marketing concepts and theories are inherently historical in nature and must be tested with historical evidence" (Jones and Monieson, 1990). Discuss.
(05) (a) In “Broadening Marketing
Education: Toward a Bartellian Macromarketing Philosophy” (1988, AMA Winter
Educator’s Conference Proceedings), Tamilia suggests that Ph.D.-level
marketing education should be broadened by using a Bartellian marketing
approach. Agree or disagree, and why?
(b) Can the Three Eras Schema posited by Brown (1996, Marketing Apocalypse: Eschatology, escapology and the illusion of the end) help to develop or better understand marketing thought?
(c) In “Industrial Organization Economics and Alderson’s General Theory of Marketing” (1992, Journal of Academy of Marketing Science, p.135), Priem writes “Alderson’s general theory suggests that all marketing phenomena can be explained through the key concepts of organized behavior systems, market heterogeneity, and sorting.” Agree or disagree, and why?
(05) Sheth, Gardner and Garret (Marketing Theory: Evolution and Evaluation, 1998) discusses twelve different schools of marketing though. Discuss and comment on the Commodity, Managerial and the Social Exchange schools. How they have helped develop marketing theory?
Explanation/Induction and Deduction/Scientific Laws
(01) "Social science is the subjective study and explanation of human behavior." Agree or disagree, and why?
(01) Michael Root (1993) and other social scientists discount subjects' self reports of reasons for their actions. Discuss the rationales given for discounting self report data. Do you agree or disagree, and why?
(01) Michael Root (1993) discusses Redcliffe-Brown's assertion that social scientists can explain human actions only by uncovering the purpose or cause of those actions. Agree or disagree, and why?
(05) Are the notions cause and causation suitable for scholarly marketing thought?
(05) “Although most marketing scholars believe with Hunt that the science of marketing is positive, this belief retards the development of marketing theory and practice.” Agree or disagree, and why?
(a) Must an effective marketing explanation have predictive and/or
(b) Evaluate any marketing explanation using either the four criteria proposed in Foundations of Marketing Theory (Hunt 2002) or any other set of meaningful criteria.
(05) Runder defines a theory “as a systematically related set of statements, including some lawlike generalizations, that is empirically testable. The purpose of theory is to increase scientific understanding through a systematized structure capable of both explaining and predicting phenomena." Agree or disagree, and why? What are the requisites of a fully formalized theory?
(a) What are the major criteria of a theory?
(b) Evaluate the nine properties of a good theory posited by Zaltman, LeMasters, and Heffring.
(c) How is positive theory different from normative theory?
(05) (a) What
is the nature of a general theory? Is a general theory of marketing possible?
(b) In Foundations of Marketing Theory (2002), Hunt alleges that his Resource-Advantage Theory is a step toward a general theory of marketing. Agree or disagree, and why?
(c) What are the criteria of law-like generalizations? Are universal law-like generalizations possible in marketing? Why?
(d) Is the current absence of a general theory of marketing, and, to an extent, the academic disagreement regarding the existence of law-like generalizations, indicative of a trend away from historical relativism and toward historical empiricism and scientific realism? Discuss.
(05) In “Direct Marketing: Passages, Definitions, and Déjà Vu” (1994, Journal of Direct Marketing), Murrow and Hyman proposes this new definition of direct marketing: “a form of marketing in which push-only promotional efforts are supported by an evolving database that ultimately will include demographic and longitudinal response data for targeted entities.” Evaluate their definition.
(05) Hunt and Morgan (1997, Journal of Marketing and elsewhere) (HM) argue that their Comparative Advantage Theory of Competition (CATC) explains key macro and micro phenomena better than Neoclassical Theory of Perfect Competition (NTPC). In contrast, a critique of CATC by Deligounul and Cavusgil (1997, Journal of Marketing) (DC) suggests that CATC should not replace NTPC. Evaluate HM’s proposition and DC’s criticism.
From Plato to Hegel
(01) In his article entitled "Myths of Science," Mark Bickhard discusses the myth that "scientific progress is exhaustively constituted, or at least best pursued, by the accumulation of models for small-scale empirical problems." In reply to this myth, Bickhard proposes that "science if not often cumulative in the sense of inductivism: new theories overthrow old ones–they do not just add to them." Comment. In particular, what are the implications for creating a general theory of marketing by combining middle-range theories.
(05) The discipline of philosophy has produced many important methods, such as critical discussion, syllogistic logic, mathematics, observation, experimentation, and formal logic. Discuss how these methods are, and could be, used by marketing scholars. Give examples.
(05) Hunt demonizes German idealism for its generally anti-scientific (with the exception of Kant) viewpoint and its negative effects on society. Do you agree with Hunt’s assessment? Explain.
Post-Relativistic Philosophy of Science
(01) What is reification? Is it important to the development of marketing theory, and if so, how? In your discussion, consider recent works by marketing scholars such as Peter, Zinkhan, Hirschheim, Hunt, and others.
(01) Discuss the possible contribution of postmodern marketing thought to the development of marketing theory.
(01) Newton (1997) states:
[S]ome scientific truths about Nature require for their formulation an abstract language far removed from everyday verbalization. Any attempt to translate them into more intuitive form makes them either false or meaningless (p.214).
Comment in regard to the development of marketing language and marketing theory.
(05) Several marketing scholars are proponents of reality relativism. For example, Peter and Olson (1983, “Is Science Marketing,” Journal of Marketing) assert, “science creates many realities” and advocate that the discipline of marketing will produce more creative and useful theories through “adopting the R/C [relativistic/constructionalist] approach in marketing” and turning away from the “outdated P/E [positivistic/empiricist] orientation that currently dominates marketing research.” Do you agree or disagree, and why?
(05) Venkatesh (1985, “Is Marketing Ready for Kuhn?”) posits a threefold crisis in marketing: (1) a crisis in theory building, (2) a crisis in problem orientation, and (3) a crisis of relevance (practitioner vs. academician). Do you believe such a crisis exists in marketing today? Explain.
(05) Venkatesh (1985, “Is Marketing Ready for Kuhn?”) asserts that borrowing theoretical statements from other disciplines is an ineffective way to develop marketing theory. In contrast, Firat (1985, “Ideology vs. Science in Marketing”) posits that the development of marketing theory suffers when the discipline compartmentalizes, losing sight of the totality of social science. With whom do you agree, and why?
(05) Stephen Brown (UK) contends that the conflict in marketing philosophy, especially between positivism and relativism, is likely a temporary phenomenon that will eventually lead to accommodation and mutual tolerance. Do you agree or disagree, and why?
(05) J.Paul Peter states, “The major problem with accepting the idea of incommensurability for some philosophers of science, then and now, is that such acceptance drastically reduces the importance of philosophy of science in society as well as that field’s ability to attain its objectives. The reason is that accepting incommensurability requires philosophers to admit that other factors, such as sociological and psychological processes are needed to give a complete account of the development and meaning of scientific theories and the growth of scientific knowledge.” Is he right? Why or why not?
(05) Should marketing theorists focus on developing useful theories for solving pragmatic problems and issues or the pursuit of truth?
(05) Zaltman, Le Masters, Heffring state that the generative capacity of theory is “the capacity to challenge the guiding assumption of the culture, to raise fundamental questions regarding contemporary social life, to foster reconsideration of that which is ‘taken for granted’ and thereby to furnish new alternatives for social action.” Seemingly, they posit that most marketing theories lack this capacity because they are stuck with a positivist-empiricist orientation. Comment.
(05) Hunt states that trust and science are interrelated. He writes, “One consequence of the importance of trust in science is for those whose research projects are guided by philosophies maintaining that the research does not touch base with a reality external to the researcher’s own linguistically encapsulated theory, or paradigm, or research tradition, or worldview. Such philosophers provide no ground for the client trusting the knowledge claims of the researchers. Thus, philosophies such as reality relativism, constructionism, critical relativism and deconstructive postmodernism that abandon truth are not only self refuting for their philosophical advocates but also self defeating for practicing researchers who might adopt them at ‘workbench’ level.” Agree or disagree, and why?
Questions: What Is Science?
(D) Some argue that scientists no longer advance knowledge when they try to solve real problems. Agree or disagree, and explain why?
(D) How do trendy or so-called "hot" research topics affect the development of a science?
(D) According to Gjertsen (1988), "Sciences, unlike philosophy, aims to solve problems which often get solved and produce true solutions that gain wide support." Agree or disagree, and explain why?
(D) In his book Science and Common Sense, James Conant defines science as "an interconnected series of concepts and conceptual schemes that have developed as a result of experimentation and observation." Agree or disagree, and explain why?
(C) It may be argued that science (a) is value free, or (b) should be value free. Argue one of the following: (a); (b); (a) and (b); not (a); not (b); or not (a) and (b).
(C) What makes the social sciences "scientific"? Why do the social sciences have difficulty defending their "scienceness"?
(C) Knowledge in a discipline builds on previous research, and prior research is generally accepted as "true" until disproved. Thus, the evolution of a science depends more on consensus within the discipline than dissension within a discipline. Agree or disagree, and why?
Questions: Is Marketing a Science?/Knowledge Development in Marketing
(D) What factors have contributed to the knowledge gap between marketing academics and marketing practitioners? What could each group do to bridge this gap?
(D) In a Journal of Marketing (1988) paper, the AMA Task Force on the Development of Marketing Thought concludes that the "incentive and reward systems have institutionalized a restrictive approach to knowledge development." In less polite terms, the commission finds fault with the system of "publish or perish." Discuss how this system restricts and/or enhances knowledge development in marketing.
(D) Does a broadened concept of marketing create the atmosphere required to elevate marketing to a science?
(D) What role do you think semantics plays in the debate over marketing as a science?
(D) Has the broadened view of marketing that Kotler proposed in his article "A Generic Concept of Marketing" (Journal of Marketing, 1972) become the view of marketing generally accepted by marketers? If so, what are the implications for marketing research?
(D) In their discussion of obstacles to theory building, Zaltman, LeMaster, and Heffring (1982) mention that "...fixation on one problem or theory leaves less time and inclination to pursue alternative theories and problems." Contrast this comment with the idea of developing "streams of research" on a particular topic. Which philosophy do you think best contributes to the advancement of knowledge and why?
(D) Firat, in his 1984 article "Marketing Science: Issues Concerning the Scientific Method and the Philosophy of Science" states that
With few exceptions the criticisms and concerns regarding scientificity in the social sciences have concentrated on the scientific method of methodological issues, rather than on the metatheoretical or philosophical problems facing the sciences today.
Comment and provide specific references that discuss the importance of each side of this issue.
(D) For over 40 years, marketing scholars have debated whether marketing is a science. Has this debate helped or hindered marketing in its quest for scientific status?
(D) Marketers have revealed their own insecurities about their discipline in debating the scientific status of marketing. What is the source of these insecurities?
(D) The AMA Task Force (1988) argues that most academicians who frequently consult and/or participate in executive training programs are sidetracked from producing scholarly research; thus the development of new marketing knowledge lags. Comment.
(E) Levy (AMA Educators' Proceedings, 1976) suggested that marketers call their discipline the science of marcology. Does this suggestion address the three major criticisms of marketing, which Levy says are:
(E) Robert Bartels (1951) lists four requirements for the science of marketing:
Using Bartels' requirements, make cases for and against marketing as a science.
(C) "If marketing is restricted to the profit/micro/normative cell of Hunt's (1976) Three Dichotomies model, then marketing is not now and can never become a science." Agree or disagree, and why?
(C) Philip Kotler (Journal of Marketing, 1972) states
Marketing is a descriptive science involving the study of how transactions are created, stimulated and valued. Marketing management is a normative science involving the efficient creation and offering of values to stimulate desired transactions (p. 52).
Laczniak and Michie (JAMS, 1979) argue that this definition of marketing is too broad. Compare and contrast these and other positions as you defend your position about the proper domain of marketing.
(C) "After considering the evidence, marketing is indeed a science. If the purpose of science is to explain, predict and control, and laws are necessary for explanatory power, then there should be no question that there are lawlike statements in marketing" (Bush, Moncrief, and Scott 1982). Agree or disagree, and explain why?
Questions: The History of Marketing
(D) How has the study of marketing history contributed to the debate about marketing as a science?
(D) Ronald Savitt (Journal of Marketing, 1980) suggests that
as an applied discipline marketing must cater to its client market of decision makers whose concerns are directed toward "making better decisions in todays' market" and to whom looking backward is a luxury.
Do you agree or disagree with the conclusion that marketers should not study the history of marketing or marketing thought. Why?
(D) "The commodity approach often facilitates theory building because commodity based classifications are an important first step for the systematic investigation of phenomenon. It also recognizes that there is an element of uniqueness in the marketing of most products" (Zinn and Johnson, JAMS, 1990). Comment.
(E) Hunt (1991), in his description of the three contradictions of marketing, mentions theoretical versus practical, theoretical versus quantitative, and marketing research versus market research. What are these contradictions? How valid are they? Is there other contradictions in marketing that keep practitioners and academicians from developing, understanding, and utilizing marketing theory?
(E) Are the functional approach and the commodity approach to the study of marketing obsolete? If not, is there advantages to approaching marketing problems from these perspectives?
(C) (a) What is the value of historical research in marketing? Why isn't more historical research in marketing published? (b) "Examining marketing history and classifying marketing thought into separate schools hinders the development of theory and metatheory in marketing." Agree or disagree, and explain why? (c) Nevitt (1991), in arguing that marketing practitioners should benefit from historical investigations, states that historical investigations:
provide a modus operandi for situations in which scientific method can be of little or no help, particularly when the marketer is faced with an absence of hard data and a need to proceed intuitively (p.21).
Agree or disagree, and why?
(C) Jones and Monieson (JAMS, Fall 1990) write, "Many marketing concepts and theories are inherently historical in nature and must be tested with historical evidence" (p.274). Agree or disagree, and explain why? If you agree, what is the evidence and how would it be analyzed?
(D) In their book Marketing Theory (1988), Sheth, Gardner, and Garrett observe:
Although it is somewhat embarrassing to admit, the marketing discipline must acknowledge that we honestly do not know precisely what the proper domain or boundaries of marketing should be (p.8).
They also discuss the need to resolve the theoretical conflicts between product and service marketing, industrial and consumer goods marketing, and domestic and international marketing. Is it imperative that these issues be resolved? Do such conflicts advance or hinder the progress of marketing theory?
(D) In their book Marketing Theory (1988), Sheth, Gardner, and Garrett list three criteria for a school of marketing thought:
Do you agree or disagree with their criteria? Why?
(C) According to Sheth, Gardner, and Garrett (1988), "Marketing behavior should be the domain of marketing." Do you agree or disagree, and why?
(C) In their book Marketing Theory (1988), Sheth, Gardner, and Garrett note that McCarthy's 4 Ps of marketing is a restatement of the earlier conceptualization of marketing made by functional theorists. Likewise, Bartels (1970) notes several instances of concepts being restatements of earlier concepts, e.g., the marketing concept as a new version of the old "consumer is King". Are there really any "new" concepts in marketing, or do theorists simply "re-package" old ideas? Defend your answer.
(C) In their book Marketing Theory (1988), Sheth, Gardner, and Garrett group marketing theories into 12 schools of thought: Commodity, Functional, Regional, Institutional, Functionalist, Managerial, Buyer Behavior, Macromarketing, Activist, Organizational Dynamics, Systems and the Social Exchange School. Discuss any three of these schools of thought and explain what each has contributed to marketing theory.
(C) In their book Marketing Theory (1988), Sheth, Gardner, and Garrett argue that a general theory of marketing is possible. Furthermore, they contend that this theory will most likely come from either the systems school or the managerial school of marketing (i.e., "the managerial school is the only school that is likely to demarcate the boundaries of marketing"). Agree or disagree, and why?
(D) Louch (1967) describes explanations of human behavior as "moral explanation," and states that "morality has to do with rightness." Is there a basis on which marketers can judge "rightness." If so, what is that basis? If not, why?
(D) Hunt (1991) says all explanations are incomplete in one way or another (because of explanation chain, enthymemes, etc.). Hospers (1967), in contrast, suggests that if we explain events in terms of laws, then there may be ultimate law that "cannot be explained in term other than itself." Is there a point beyond which we cannot explain any further? Is an explanation complete at that point? Why?
(D) "Ultimately, the value of studying the process of scientific explanation in a consumer context is that it enables marketers to improve the efficiency of their actions" (Zaltman, Pinson, Angelmar, 1973, p.143). Apply what you know about explanations in science to agree or disagree with this statement.
(D) Salmon, in his article "Statistical Explanation," observes that the principle of probability based on frequency is inapplicable to single events; thus, we should talk of the "weight" that a single event will occur rather than of a probability based on a relative frequency. The normal curve (in statistics) presents an analogy to Salmon's observation. Under a normal curve, the probability of any "single" value is undefined; instead, probabilities are valid only for intervals. For example, under a normal curve p(x=30) has no meaning, but p(x<30) has meaning (and it is possible to generate a reliable number associated with this probability). In light of this analogy, should we conclude that it is impossible to predict individual purchase behavior and, therefore, marketers should limit their predictions to the aggregate behaviors of homogenous groups of consumers?
(D) Zaltman, LeMaster, and Heffring (1982) say that
Wallace would suggest that although they [the inductive and deductive approaches] reflect different assumptions about theorizing, they do in fact represent different stages of the overall process of developing and testing theories. Rather than choosing between theories or theory strategies, why not combine them into an ongoing process" (p.105).
(D) Hempel, in his article "Recent Problems in Induction," states
scientific research is not even aimed at achieving very high probability of truth, or very strong inductive support at all costs. . . It is willing to accept a theory that promises to exhibit an underlying order (p.132).
Do marketers accept many of the concepts that are taught in marketing textbooks because, while short on truth, they bring an order to the field that is easy to explain? Comment.
(C) In their book Metatheory and Consumer Research (1973), Zaltman, Pinson, and Angelmar discuss probabilistic explanations. Hunt (1991) discusses S-N and S-R explanations. (a) Compare and contrast these types of explanations with other types of explanations (e.g., D-N explanations). (b) Does marketing rely heavily on probabilistic explanations, and if so, does this reliance support the notion that marketing is a science?
(C) "Halbert has observed that many of the generalizations in the marketing literature seem to be 'either tautologies, truisms, or so overly general that they are of very limited use in developing marketing science'" (Hunt 1991, p.110). Comment.
(C) (a) What are the roles of explanation in science? Is explanation science's singular purpose? How can we evaluate different explanations? Is one explanation scheme superior to others? (b) What is meant by 'context of justification' and 'context of discovery'? Does an explanation that is useful in the context of justification automatically become useful in the context of discovery? Is the converse true?
(C) Louch (1967) states
. . .the results of this preoccupation with methodology, i.e., with what is taken to be the proper and scientific form of any investigation, have been, in my view, disastrous in the disciplines investigating human behavior (p.9).
Has the methodological rigidity of the social sciences hindered their development? Has marketing, in becoming (or striving to become) a science, fallen into this trap? Discuss.
(C) Hunt (1991) states that
marketing and other social science theories which do not predict do not make powerful contributions to (scientific) understanding (p.81).
Many of the theories or models in marketing either fail to predict or predict under unrealistic assumptions. Thus, marketing is bereft of theory. Comment.
(C) (a) Zaltman, LeMaster, and Heffring (1982) state, "The explanatory power of an explanation can be defined as 'the extent to which it renders the occurrence to be explained more likely than other alternative occurrences'." What are the implications for the development of marketing theory if marketing practitioners find pseudo-theories intuitively appealing and of sufficient rigor? (b) Hilton (Psychological Review, 1990) presents Grice's four conversational maxims. Maxim four states, "the maxim of manner enjoins speakers to be perspicuous by avoiding obscurity and ambiguity and by being brief and orderly" (p.68). Are the obscure and ambiguous explanations of marketing scholars a major cause of the conflict between marketing scholars and marketing practitioners? Do other causes exist? How can we end or reduce the conflict between scholars and practitioners?
(C) Hunt (1991) states that
. . . prediction is necessary for explanation and that explanation is necessary for understanding (p.103).
Do you agree or disagree with Hunt's statement? If you agree, what are the implications for the development of models and theories in marketing?
(C) In his article "Intentionalistic Explanations in the Social Sciences" (1991), Searle discusses the continuing debate about differences between explanations in the social sciences and explanations in the natural sciences. Moreover, he writes
It is important to keep in mind in this discussion that science progresses not only by the discovery of new facts but by the discovery of new types of explanations (p.334).
Discuss. (Hint: Be certain to compare and contrast these two types of explanations.)
(C) (a) Zaltman, LeMaster and Heffring (1982) state that "much creative thinking is the result of the nearly simultaneous use of both deductive and inductive thinking." They add that inductive and deductive methods for testing theories differ, yet both approaches are part of the same theory construction 'wheel.' Do you agree or disagree, and why? (b) Skipper and Hyman (1990) argue that marketers will never have a marketing theory worthy of scientific respect unless they add deductive skills to their repertoire. Do you agree or disagree, and why?
Questions: Scientific Laws, Concepts, and Propositions
(D) "Unfortunately, the marketing discipline as an applied area of investigation has been awash with lawlike statements that have been borrowed from other disciplines and then extrapolated to fit marketing problems. This extrapolation often extends the lawlike statement far beyond its legitimate domain or 'universe of discourse'" (Hunt 1991, p.143). Give examples in marketing where this phenomenon has occurred. What is the cost to marketing science for this phenomenon?
(D) Margenau, in "The Philosophical Legacy of Contemporary Quantum Theory," writes
. . .orthodox science has been identified, at least in the popular mind, with the collection of data, with an addiction to a kind of objectivity that shuns interpretation and relies on theory as little as possible, with an activity that culminates in accurate reports of observations and in the discovery of observational regularities called laws of nature. Science was largely meant to satisfy curiosity, not the deep desire for understanding. Hence science merely describes, while philosophy explains.
Agree or disagree, and explain why?
(D) Poundstone (1988) called confirmation, "the search for truth. It is the mainspring of science . . ." (p.26). Are any of the laws of marketing confirmed? Would Hunt agree or disagree with your answer?
(E) Dubin (1978), in introducing "scientific law" (p.97) observes,
That scientific law is the product of the human mind has two important implications: 1) the forms of such laws are limited by the capacity of the human mind to invent ways of denoting relationships; and 2) laws are not absolute and may be changed as man's needs are changed.
In distinguishing between prescriptive and descriptive laws, Hospers (1967) notes,
But a law of nature is not the sort of thing you can obey or disobey, since it is not an order or command anyone has given.
Dubin seems to say that law is a function of human minds and human needs; Hospers seems to disagree. Examine this contradiction.
(C) Hunt (1991) argues that a central requirement for a lawlike statement is its systematic integration into a body of scientific knowledge. Thus, an "empirical regularity does not qualify as a lawlike statement until it is systematically integrated into a coherent scientific structure or framework" (p.113). Zaltman, Pinson, and Angelmar, in Metatheory and Consumer Research (1973), present four characteristics of scientific hypotheses (pp.64-65). The fourth characteristic is "the hypothesis must be grounded or compatible with previous knowledge" (p.65). Although Zaltman, et al. acknowledge that this is a "weak requirement," doesn't this requirement retard theory development in marketing? Discuss.
(C) Hunt (1991) indicates that adding a time element to a model makes the model superior to other models. How does adding "time" to a model produce a superior model? Discuss both mathematical and verbal models in your answer.
(C) Ehrenberg, in his article "Laws in Marketing: A Tail Piece" (1966) asserts
Ordinary and simple law-like relationships can and do exist, and they can be established by old-fashioned and simple methods of data-handling such as discovering that variable y varies with variable x under such-and-such a range of empirical conditions, or that so-and-so is a constant (p.258).
Hospers, in his article "Law" (1967), argues similarly that
The kind of knowledge we acquire through the sciences begins only when we notice regularities in the course of events. The scientific enterprise could be described as the search for genuine invariants in nature, for regularities without exception.
Agree or disagree, and why?
(C) Poundstone (1988) writes,
Not only should a new theory account for the successful predictions of the theory it would replace, it should offer new, different predictions of its own. A new theory should be more open to possible refutation, not less. If there is one thing that is dead giveaway for a crank theory it is that the theory has been modified to restrict its own refutation (p.32).
Relate Poundstone's comment to the development, during the past few decades, of marketing theories.
(C) Dubin (1969) defines efficiency of a law as
the range of variability in the values of one unit when they are related by a law to the values of another unit. The level of efficiency of a law is determined by the narrowness of this range in unit values. Where the range of unit values is broad, the law has low efficiency (p.109).
He then states that
The idea of efficiency of laws in a discipline often may be utilized for the imperialistic border defenses erected against sister disciplines. When scientists from other disciplines attack problems of a less well-developed discipline, its practitioners are likely to resist the invasion and refuse to give credence to the invaders' theories. This is happening increasingly as physical and biological scientists encroach upon the territory of the social sciences (p.112).
Relate Dubin's statement to the development, during the past few decades, of marketing theories.
(C) Dubin (1969) states
The triviality of universal [i.e., generally invariant] laws for a given universe is both heartening and discouraging. It is heartening because it suggests that scientists need not be geniuses in order to discover laws of their respective scientific disciplines. What makes these discoveries so disheartening is that they have such a strong ring of common sense when stated. One has the feeling that the scientist has merely restated folk wisdom, and, in fact, this has been especially the case in the social sciences (p.114).
Ehrenberg (1966) talks of "generalized twaddle kind of laws" (p.258). Are they right? Is current marketing theory, as so many undergraduate students proclaim, merely the restatement of common sense and folk wisdom? Comment.
Questions: Mind-Body Problem
(D) Skinner (1990) writes,
The body-cum-brain obeys the laws of physics and chemistry. It has no freedom and makes no choices. . . Some brain scientists have argued that the brain must have structural features that allow for freedom of choice, creativity, and the like, but in so doing they argue from what the brain does rather than from its structure (American Psychologist, p. 1208).
Does such a view support those who claim that marketing merely attempts to exploit consumers? Does such a view pose a danger to those who study consumer behavior at the cognitive level?
(C) Machlup, in his article "If Matter Could Talk," says:
Alas, economics cannot be learned either by watching or by interviewing the people engaged in economic activities. It takes a good deal of theorizing before one can grasp the complex interrelations in an economic system. And this theorizing consists mainly in constructing ideal types of motivated conduct of idealized decision-makers and combining them in abstract models of interactions (p. 297).
Relate this argument to the development of marketing science.
(C) Relate the classic philosophical mind-body problem to current marketing theory.
(D) Discuss the statement "the really important issues in any discipline are always conjectural rather than factual" (Hunt 1991, p.150).
(D) "The inner reaches of marketing theory is positive, while the fringes of marketing theory is normative." Agree or disagree, and why? (Hint: Consider structure, purpose, and validation.)
(D) Uncertainty in marketing explanations, according to Hunt (1991), comes from three sources: measurement, prediction, and logical relationship. Has he omitted another source, i.e., our inability to exhaustively define initial conditions? In other words, are deterministic theories in marketing impossible because marketers can never account for all relevant factors? Discuss.
(D) Among the criteria for classifying schemata (Hunt 1991, p.188), criteria 5 asks "is the schema useful?" Hunt suggests that this is the "ultimate" criteria; he also notes that "many schemata have exhibited limited usefulness in generating lawlike statements" (ibid.). Does this leave social scientists in general, and marketers in particular, in the position of teaching useful information that has no theoretical foundation?
(D) Bagozzi (Journal of Marketing, 1984) states that marketers suffer from a lack of guidelines and formal means to integrate sound theory and methodology. How have marketers suffered in this regard? How do we bridge this gap?
(E) In Chapter 4 of Zaltman, Pinson, and Angelmar (1973), one of the sixteen criteria for theory evaluation (Bunge's classification) is the "stability factor." The authors describes this as:
A theory should not be rigid or inelastic in the face of evidence it did not predict. It should have a degree of flexibility that makes it possible to amend the theory to encompass the new audience so long as the evidence is not in contradiction to the main body of the theory. The theory must be dynamic not static.
Is this requirement useful, comprehensive, or realistic? Discuss one established or fairly well recognized theory that fits this criteria of being dynamic.
(E) Zaltman, LeMaster, and Heffring (1982) write,
The theory builder is a creator, the generator of thoughts, ideas, and evidence about phenomena that are not yet entirely understood. The generative capacity of a theory is its ability to challenge. . . . A vast majority of theories lack this [generative] capacity, a deficit which has been attributed to the heavy emphasis placed upon the positivistic-empiricistic orientation (p.7).
Agree or disagree, and explain why?
(C) Does the BCG growth/market share matrix meet Hunt's (1991) criteria for evaluating classificational schemata? Regardless of your conclusion, is there a place for such schemata in marketing?
(C) Hunt (1991) proposes several criteria for theory, including systematic relatedness, possession of law-like generalization, and empirical testability. Discuss these criteria and how they help to structure theories so that they may be falsified. Are these criteria too rigid and restrictive for encouraging theory development?
(C) Morris (1984) gives several examples in which many convergent observations (e.g., Wegener's evidence for his theory of continents drift) were ignored or discounted by the scientific community due to the lack of a corresponding theory. What potential implications does this have for the Theory-in-Use approach advocated in Zaltman, LeMaster, and Heffring (1982)?
(C) Hunt (1983), in his article "General Theories and the Fundamental Explananda of Marketing" (1983), says,
Given the requirement that all theories must be empirically testable, there appears to be significant danger in developing theories that are too abstract, or too far removed from observable reality.
However, by necessity, a general theory of marketing would have a degree of abstraction. Can we develop a general theory of marketing without extreme abstraction? Discuss.
Questions: From Plato to Hegel
(D) Sir Karl Popper recognized that no amount of supporting evidence can confirm a hypothesis, yet only one piece of disconfirming evidence can refute a hypothesis. How do marketing scientists deal with the principle of falsification?
(D) Popper, in his 1953 article "Science: Conjectures and Refutations," notes
The criterion of falsifiability is a solution to this problem of demarcation, for it says that statements or systems of statements, in order to be ranked as scientific, must be capable of conflicting with possible, or conceivable, observation (p.24).
As a criterion for demarcation, how do verifiability and falsifiability differ? Will the criterion of demarcation differ for purely analytic versus purely synthetic statements? If yes, what is the difference?
(E) Hunt (1991) suggests that western science developed despite the unfriendly environment toward scientific progress. What were the forces that worked against the establishment of western science? How did these forces influence certain schools of scientific thought? How have these schools of scientific thought defined or influenced current issues in marketing research? Are these issues important to marketing scholars, marketing practitioners, or both?
(E) Caballero and Ingram (1982) claim that marketing terms are underdefined (i.e., insufficiently related to observational language) and overdefined (i.e., defined in multiple ways). (a) Why are underdefinition and overdefinition problematic for marketing? (b) Can marketing scholars resolve these problem?
(C) Popper (1953) writes that "the criterion of the scientific status of a theory is its falsifiability, or testability, or refutability" (p.23 of Klemke, et al.). Gilles (1993) review of Duhem's thesis makes the following points: (1) crucial experiments are impossible because "we can never be sure that we have listed all the hypotheses capable of explaining a group of experiments" (p.101); (2) "some hypotheses . . . when taken in isolation, can defy direct experimental refutation" (p.104); and (3) scientists= good sense, rather than their facility in logic, dictates "which hypothesis or hypotheses . . . the scientist [should] try to change in order to re-establish the agreement between theory and experience" (p.106). Bickhard (1992) argues that, "Theory is an aim of science, not its quiddity" (p.330), that is, science need not always grow out of empirical results. Finally, Hawking (1993) posits that "we cannot distinguish what is real about the universe without a theory" (p.44). Reconcile these different views relative to the development of marketing science.
(C) Popper (1953) writes that "the criterion of the scientific status of a theory is its falsifiability, or testability, or refutability" (p.23 of Klemke, et al.). In Casti's (1989) discussion about the hallmarks of pseudosciences (pp.57-62), he notes that "Pseudoscientists often have the attitude that sheer quantity of evidence makes up for the deficiency in the quality of the individual pieces" (p.58). Relate Popper's and Casti's comments to the development of marketing thought.
Questions: Historical Relativism
(D) In his discussion of Robert Merton's "norms characterizing the scientific enterprise," Casti (1989) suggests that these prescriptions are violated routinely in trivial and substantial ways. Yet, he notes that Merton's norms remain the ethos by which most scientists judge the work of other scientists. Is the "detachment" Merton posits as his second norm achievable? Discuss.
(D) Hunt and Speck, in their article "Does Logical Empiricism Imprison Marketing," note that
It is logically indefensible to conclude that marketing is dominated by logical empiricism. . . and at the same time contend that marketing is dominated by marketing management.
Are logical empiricism and a managerial orientation mutually exclusive? Why?
(D) Relate the following claims to the "science of marketing":
(D) Venkatesh (1985), in his article "Is Marketing Ready for Kuhn?", argues that marketing is in a Kuhnian crisis stage. Roberts (1984), in a AMA proceedings piece entitled "A Kuhnian Perspective on Marketing Science and the 'Scientific Method'," argues that marketing is in the pre-exemplar stage of scientific development. These two authors use the same model, yet they reach completely different conclusions. Comment.
(E) Dholakia and Dholakia (in "Choice and Choicelessness in the Paradigm of Marketing") argue that marketers should not automatically assume consumer choice because limited choice (or choicelessness) occurs as frequently in marketing situations. They further argue that the assumption of consumer choice ideologically driven. Agree or disagree, and why?
(E) Some marketers worry that the inattention of marketing scholars to substantive issues will cause the trivialization of marketing. Venkatesh (in "Is Marketing Ready for Kuhn") argues that this crisis can be averted if researchers are allowed to think unconventionally and are rewarded for such efforts (i.e., marketing scholars should promote freedom in methodological formulations and allow greater flexibility in the use of research strategies). In fact, the author argues for a balance between explanatory-analytical modes of research and interpretive-constructive approach to research. Discuss.
(E) In The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Kuhn posits that a sciences' state-of-the-art is reflected in its textbooks. If marketing is normative and practitioner-oriented, can marketing textbooks ever reflect the state-of-the-art in marketing science? If marketing textbooks to not report the state-of-the-art in marketing science, then what do they report? Do marketing textbooks hide the revolutionary shifts that occur when marketing paradigms change? What is an appropriate role for marketing textbooks?
(E) Hunt (1990) writes:
To consider Kuhn and the philosophers' fallacy, recall that he always meant for incommensurability to be defined as equivalent to a logical or mathematical proof. Finding no such proof available to empirical science, his philosophy collapsed into relativism and irrationalism.
If Hunt is correct, why is Kuhn's work still considered a classic?
(C) In his article "Ideology vs. Science in Marketing," (in Challenging the Course of Marketing: Alternative Paradigms for Widening Marketing Theory), Firat says:
Unlike physical phenomena which are mostly external constraints that can be observed standing at some distance, social phenomena are results of our direct participation, and it is much more difficult to accept the fragility of direct experiences. Moreover, when directly experienced, the tendency to extend temporal/contextual truths out of proportion is highly tempting. Thus, we often neglect the effect of social history, which just like all other threats to validity is a threat to scientificity (p.138).
(C) Firat (1985) argues that the division of the social sciences into distinct disciplines, such that each discipline studies it own notions, has not lead to the expected scientific successes. Venkatesh (1985) argues that borrowing from other disciplines has produced, at best, mixed results. Is a more holistic approach--one that requires interdisciplinary study--the only viable approach for tomorrow's marketing scholar? Discuss.
(C) (a) Kuhn, in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, proposes that science progresses through three stages: the pre-paradigm stage, the normal science stage, and the revolutionary stage. What are these stages? He also writes that this model does not apply to the social sciences? Agree or disagree, and explain why? (b) Kuhn, in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, argues that each new paradigm emerges by replacing the old paradigm with which it was incompatible. Do you agree or disagree that two mutually exclusive paradigms can co-exist? Discuss.
(C) Is marketing entering a Kuhnian crisis stage, as argued by Dawson (Journal of Marketing, 1971) and Venkatesh (in "Is Marketing Ready for Kuhn?" 1985)? If so, what major indications or anomalies suggest that a Kuhnian crisis is underway? Discuss.
Questions: Sociology of Science
(C) Discuss the roles of trust and fraud in the development of a science. Do their roles in the development of marketing science differ from their roles in the development of sciences in general?
Questions: Psychology of Science
(D) Zaltman and Price (1982), in their work about the sociology and psychology of comfort zones, discuss how people reject information (either positive or negative) that falls outside their comfort zone. Is this rejection process similar to Kuhn's concept of an anomaly-causing crisis? Zaltman and Price also discuss the value and comfort of ignorance. Is this why the "old guard" rejects a new paradigm? Discuss.
Questions: Post-Relativistic Philosophy of Science: The Marketing Literature
(D) In summarizing an argument by Adams (1979), Seymour (in "Marketing - A Retrenchment Exercise) says:
She argues that as individuals we have a tendency to latch on to initial solutions to problems because we have "no appetite for chaos." Problem solving and perhaps the maturation of a discipline are messy processes. In both cases you must be willing to wallow in misleading and ill-fitting data, hazy and difficult-to-test concepts, opinions, discontent, and other such untidy quantities (p.225).
Assuming that Seymour has summarized Adams' argument correctly, relate her comments to the development of marketing science.
(D) Briefly describe the differences between the various schools of thought represented by logical positivism/empiricism (Peter and Olson 1983), modern empiricism (Hunt 1984), sophisticated methodological falsification (Lakatos 1978), and relativism/constructivism (Peter and Olson 1983) (Hint: see Leong 1985, Journal of Marketing). How might we answer the question "Is Marketing a Science?" from these various viewpoints?
(D) In their discussion about metamethod, Sauer, Nighswonger, and Zaltman (1982) lament that marketers tend to focus on technical issues (e.g., Was the given methodology executed properly?) rather than orientation issues (e.g., Was the correct methodology used?). Discuss.
(D) Is understanding the marketing scientist's motivations for conducting research relevant to understanding marketing science?
(D) Hunt (1991) notes:
I still contend that the philosophy of science literature can play a significant and positive role in marketing science because (if for no other reason) of the fact that all research activity necessarily implies some underlying philosophy (Hunt 1991, p.395).
Does Hunt argue that (1) because the values/opinions/beliefs of researchers permeate their research activities, (2) the input to the research process is relative, so (3) the output of the research process is relative, thus (4) the objective quest for truth is incontrovertibly impossible? Comment.
Hunt (1991) also notes:
More generally, and much more importantly, there are good grounds for believing that any theory of science which ignore truth is unlikely to escape sophistry, relativism, and irrationalism (p.370).
Does the second quote contradict the first quote?
(D) Leong (Journal of Marketing, 1985) laments that mathematistry, "the tendency to redefine rather than solve a statistical problem" (p.34), causes marketing researchers to distrust their common sense and adopt inappropriate procedures. Locate evidence of mathematistry-type problems in the marketing literature.
(D) Larry Laudan in "Reconstructing Methodology" (AMA Winter Proceedings, 1984) claims his approach to methodology ". . .requires little or no technical jargon, but simply some large doses of common sense. . .horse sense. . ." (p.2)
(C) Sauer, Nighswonger, and Zaltman (1982) say:
In summary, scientific activity is just one social arena in which knowledge is constructed, and often the outputs of "scientific" activity are awarded a high status in society. This status may be unwarranted: scientists, like everyone else, are charged with creating order out of disordered arrays of observations, and there are no a priori reasons for supposing that scientists' practice is any more rational or "realistic" than that of outsiders. Scientific investigation may be more creative, and what is accepted as scientific "knowledge" may be subject to different sorts of legitimation procedures than "knowledge" in the general sense, but scientific inquiry nevertheless exists and functions in a social arena. The scientific perspective is shaped by the social rules that govern the scientific community (pp. 81-19).
(C) Larry Laudan writes:
It has always been a mystery to me why the social scientists, ever keen to ape their counterparts in the natural sciences, have been so preoccupied with the explicit study of 'methodology'. It is not exactly a secret that natural scientists rarely, if ever, take courses in 'methods'; yet no graduate program in the social sciences is complete without a battery of such courses. Since it is clearly possible for natural scientists to learn how to be 'scientists' without taking courses in methodology, why do so many social scientists attach such importance to the explicit study of methodological matters (Laudan 1984)?
Why are social scientists preoccupied with methodology? Are they trying to "legitimize" the social sciences, i.e., are they compensating for the lack of natural laws? Do marketing researchers dawdle over discovering, borrowing, and perfecting new methodologies (notably statistical ones) rather than exploring and proposing new theories?
(C) Hunt (1991) says:
Many critics of contemporary marketing research contend that it is "too." It is too quantitative, managerial, parochial, empirical, trivial, research methods-oriented, or "numbers crunching" oriented. Such critics emphatically claim that marketing research should be "more." It should be more theoretical, interesting, provocative, dialectical, critical, Marxist-oriented, creative, or international. Although critics certainly do not speak with a single voice, many believe that the cause of all the ills of marketing research is that it is "dominated" by either logical positivism or logical empiricism. Some even contend that marketing is "imprisoned" by these philosophical "isms." Again, although critics have no single solution to the deficiencies of marketing research, many propose that marketing should "adopt." It should adopt qualitative research methods, historical methods, case studies, relativism, constructivism, nationalistic methods, humanistic methods, or interpretive techniques (p.208).
(C) In his article "Marketing - A Retrenchment Exercise," Seymour states:
In my mind, the key to advancement of the marketing discipline is in programmatic research and grounded theory. Marketing is applied psychology; it is applied sociology; it is applied economics. Our research should be geared to generating the practical understanding of various marketing phenomena. A thorough description and explanation of daily realities needs to be developed through research programs which build on everyday facts (pp.231-232).
(C) (a) Compare and contrast the Postivistic/Empiricist approach to science and the Relativistic/Constructivistic approach to science. (Hint: Begin with Peter and Olson (1983).) (b) Peter and Olson (1983) argue that marketing science will be more creative and successful if marketing scholars adopt a Relativistic/Constructivist approach. Agree or disagree, and why?
(C) Olson, in a 1987 AMA proceedings piece entitled "The Construction of Scientific Meaning," wrote:
At this point in history we live in a world that seems to be increasingly well defined or discovered by science, although there are some exceptions. But it is a rigged game. Its a recursive system. We create a meaning, then explain it, then build something on it, which in turn verifies the original meaning we constructed. We are successfully constructing interesting, coherent structures of meanings. But we are not discovering the truth.
(C) (a) Peter and Olson (1983) argue that disciplines adopt a theory when it has been marketed successfully by its creator. Agree or disagree, and why? (b) Consider either an existing marketing theory or a marketing theory of your own making. Drawing from the work of Paul and Olson, detail how you would market this new theory.
Questions: Post-Relativistic Philosophy of Science
(D) Lincoln (in her article "The Making of a Constructivist") writes,
I now think that training in multiple paradigms (at least in more than a historical sense) is training for schizophrenia (p.87).
In speaking about what he calls the 'crisis literature' in marketing, Hunt comments that the misunderstandings between paradigms/schools contributes to the crisis in marketing. What do these views imply about the nature of doctoral training in marketing?
(D) You must select a five-member committee for your doctoral program (i.e., four marketing members and one extra-marketing member). Assume that you may choose any living marketer to serve on your committee. Who would you choose and why? Assume that you can choose one living non-marketer to serve on your committee. Who would you choose and why?
(E) Holbrook, in his AMA proceedings work entitled, "Theory Development is a Jazz Solo: Bird Lives," says:
Like artistic creativity, theory development also involves a process of structure, departure, and reconciliation. Structure stems from a discipline's habits of thought, from its conventional wisdom, from its overarching paradigm. Departure comes in the form of new insights, divergent thinking, and the violation of hidden assumptions. Finally, both structure and departure achieve reconciliation in some combination, integration, or synthesis that, in turn, serves as the new structure upon which to base subsequent rounds of theory development (p.50).
(E) In their book Science, Order and Creativity, Bohm and Peat say,
The current mode of doing science has evolved in such a way that certain of its features seriously discourage creativity. Among these, one of the most important is the development of paradigm.
Agree or disagree, and explain why.
(C) Belk (1984) writes that
Consumer behavior, on the other hand, is all pragmatic relevance with no devotion to original theory generation. In fact, our problem is even more fundamental since we don't know how to develop theory.
(C) Can dormant ideas (i.e., previous but no longer held notions) help marketers to create new theories and ideas in marketing? Defend your answer.
HUNT (1991) QUESTIONS
(D) Do the social sciences and marketing require a different methodology than the physical sciences? If yes, how would it differ? If no, why do so many social science researchers claim that their methodology must be different?
(D) Differentiate between marketing research and market research. Can both result in possible publications for scholarly journals in marketing? Should they? Would marketing practitioners enjoy reading a journal that was exclusively devoted to results of market research studies? Would academicians? Is marketing research impractical?
(C) Why is the "Is marketing a science?" issue important? Does it have implications for the kind of research that is done in marketing? For how marketing is taught? For the standards for acceptance or rejection of manuscripts by the marketing journals? For marketing practitioners?
(C) Why is it important to differentiate the discovery of theories and laws from the justification of theories and laws? Are the process of discovery different in marketing than in the physical sciences? Should they be different?
(D) Bartels proposes that seven axioms comprise his metatheory:
Evaluate this metatheory. Is it a logic of discovery? Should it be evaluated entirely in the context of discovery? Which of the statements are normative, and which are positive?
(C) Some marketers believe that marketing is an art, not a science. Others have observed that marketing people have been neither good artists nor good scientists. Finally, some have pointed out that truly great scientists have also been great artists, since genius in both science and art emanates from the taking of great care. Evaluate these positions. Be sure to carefully define what you mean by "art", "science", and "scientist".
(C) Some writers believe that a necessary condition for scientific progress is that scientists must ask important questions. This position emphasizes the importance of the logic of discovery because no matter how good our process of validation, if the question is trivial, nothing can save it. Evaluate this position. How does one separate "important" questions from "unimportant" questions? Does current research in consumer behavior ask important questions? Does research in channels of distribution? Can the answers to "trivial" questions sometimes become important?
(D) Myers, Greyser, and Massy (JM 1979) believe that
the objectives of knowledge generation in our field should be to improve marketing management practice. Thus, even basic research if it is to be considered "effective" should, over the long run, contribute something to improved decision making or other aspects of management practice.
Evaluate. Before research is undertaken, what clues are there that a piece of research would "over the long run" contribute to management practice? How long is the "long run"?
(D) Accounting practitioners have historically been very generous in supporting academic accounting departments. Marketing practitioners provide very little support to academic marketing departments. Why is this the case? What steps could be undertaken by marketing academia to encourage marketing practitioners to be more supportive.
(C) What phenomena does marketing science seek to explain? Assess the current "state of the art" of our ability to explain each phenomenon you identify. Which phenomena do we seem to be making the most progress in explaining?
(E) Answer two of the following four questions.
(D) A Journal of Marketing Research reviewer of the article "A Crucial Test for the Howard-Sheth Model of Buyer Behavior" commented:
A more thorough study of the philosophy of science literature might have led the authors to realize that this "criterion of simplicity" is not always appropriate, e.g., when your theory development is primarily aimed at explanation rather than prediction.
Evaluate this charge. The criterion of simplicity states that, roughly speaking, if two theories generate the same hypotheses and have equivalent empirical support, accept the simpler theory.
(C) Bagozzi suggests that marketing researchers want to understand and control marketing behavior. He contends that "both objectives ) understanding and control ) rest fundamentally on the identification and analysis of causal relationships." Could not understanding come about through the use of, simply, regularity relationships? Similarly, could not control come about by way of regularity relationships? Evaluate.
(D) Someone has said, "It is curious that marketing practitioners disclaim any interest in marketing laws since every time they make a strategic decision, they must rely either explicitly or implicitly on a presumed marketing law." Evaluate.
(E) (A) Economic theory is sometimes criticized because its lawlike statements are supposed to only be true, ceteris paribus. The phrase ceteris paribus is seldom found in the physical science or marketing literature. What does ceteris paribus imply? Is it a "defect" in economic theory? Should the physical sciences use it more often? Should marketing? Could the use of ceteris paribus be abused? How? (B) Ehrenberg suggests that "the validity of a scientific law depends only on its range of empirical generalization, i.e., on the different conditions for which it is known to hold or not to hold, as shown by direct observation and analysis." Evaluate this perspective of validity. Does the concept of ceteris paribus relate to Ehrenberg's statement?
(E) (A) All lawlike statements have empirical content. Any statement which has empirical content can be empirical tested. Any statement which can be empirically tested can be shown to be true or false. Therefore, all lawlike statements can be shown to be empirically true or false. Evaluate. (B) "As the degree of extension of a lawlike generalization increases, its accuracy of prediction will decrease." Evaluate.
(D) Define and differentiate: theories, laws, hypotheses, models, generalizations, empirical regularities, propositions, and concepts. Show how these terms are related.
(C) Do theories generate hypotheses, or do hypotheses lead to theories? How are theories generated? (Hint: Include, but do not limit yourself, to a discussion of historical relativism.)
(D) "A theory is a systematically related set of statements, including some lawlike generalizations, that is empirically testable." We may therefore conclude that all theories can be shown to be either "true" or "false." Discuss.
(D) Someone has said: "The problem with marketing research is the lack of an isomorphic relationship between concepts and their respective operational definitions." Evaluate.
(C) A major issue in marketing theory concerns the development of a general theory of marketing. Bartels suggests that "the broadest statement of marketing thought in any period is the 'general theory' of that day." Similarly, the subtitle of Alderson's last book was A Functionalist Theory of Marketing. Do you agree with Bartels' definition of a general theory of marketing? If yes, why? If no, suggests an alternative definition and show how it is superior to Bartels' definition. Will we ever have (i.e., is it possible to have) a general theory of marketing? What would be the role or purpose of a general theory of marketing if we did have one?
(C) Robert K. Merton makes a plea for "theories of the middle range" in sociology:
Throughout this book, the term sociological theory refers to logically interconnected sets of propositions from which empirical uniformities can be derived. Throughout we focus on what I have called theories of the middle range: theories that lie between minor but necessary working hypotheses that evolve in abundance during day-to-day research and the all-inclusive systematic efforts to develop a unified theory that will explain all the observed uniformities of social behavior, social organization, and social change. [445, p. 39]
Is Merton actually pleading for theories in sociology with greater extension? Evaluate the current work in marketing theory. How much of it appears to be in the middle range? Give examples of works that are in the middle range, more specific than the middle range, and more general than the middle range. Does Merton's plea also apply to marketing?
(C) Evaluate Hunt's Three Dichotomies classification schema, which uses the three dichotomies of profit/nonprofit, micro/macro, and positive/normative to classify issues in marketing. Would the schema be a useful pedagogical tool? How well does it satisfy our criteria for classificational schemata?
(D) Distinguish between normative and positive theory. Is price theory normative or positive? Is it appropriate for economists to use price theory to recommend that General Motors be broken up?
(C) Differentiate between normative theory and positive theory. Must the development of positive theory necessarily precede the development of normative theory? Do all normative theories rest upon an essentially positive base?
(C) Anderson posed what he considered to be the "real question" of science and the "job" of scientists.
Basically, I think that the work in the past 20 years in the history, sociology, and philosophy of science has shown us that the process of science is a consensus generation process. The real question is: "How can I convince my colleagues in the scientific community that my theory is correct?"
Latour and Woolger, for example, conceptualize the scientific process as a kind of investment activity : we all invest in credibility. Our background knowledge, the theories that we are committed to, the facts that we take as given, are the investments that we make. Our job as scientists is to enhance that credibility to reinvest our credibility capital, and to advocate our own status within the field.
Is the "real question" the one that Anderson suggests? Ought it to be a real question? Why? If you disagree with Anderson, then what is, or ought to be, the real question? If a scientist adopts Anderson's real question, how well could he or she perform the "job" of enhancing credibility? What would be the consequences for society if science in general agreed with Anderson and adopted his concept of the real question and job of science? How would society view science? What would be the consequences for science and the scientific community?
(D) Brodbeck contends that the meaning of some terms or concepts and the truth of some sentences do not depend upon the meaning or truth of other terms or sentences. Otherwise we would be faced with a "vicious regress" in which language is a self-contained system with no contact with the world it is presumably about. Evaluate.
(E) J. Paul Peter proposes that "positivism focuses on the verifiability of theories, whereas falsification may be more accepted in consumer research." What is verifiability? What is falsification? Is it necessary to choose between these procedures in science?
(D) Section 8.1.2 [of Hunt (1991)] contends that "Sage philosophy, by its very nature, lacks the capability for being cumulative, since the knowledge of the student cannot go beyond that of the master." It also points out that Sage philosophy "has the distressing tendency to deteriorate into cultism or mysticism." What do we mean by "cumulative?" Given your definition, under what circumstances can inquiry be cumulative? There is an underlying value-judgment in the world "deteriorate." What is this value judgment? Do you agree or disagree with it? Why?
(D) It is often pointed out that all research involves "interpretation." Section 8.2.1 [of Hunt (1991)] pointed out that the "Hermeneutics" of today derives from the "scholasticism" of the Middle Ages. Select a recent article in marketing. To what extent does "interpretation" enter into the research? Where? To what extent is the research exclusively "interpretation?" If one chooses to claim that an instance of "interpretation" is "incorrect," what could be the various bases for such a claim? Is all research just interpretation?"
(C) Summarize the empiricism-rationalism debate. To what extent does the "discovery/justification" distinction help us understand the debate? To what extent does the "fallible/infallible" distinction help us? In your judgment, which "side" of the debate had the better case?
(E) What is "foundationalism?" Why should we be interested in distinguishing between "knowledge" and "opinion?" If all knowledge-claims are, ultimately, based on "faith," then are not all knowledge-claims "merely opinions?" Evaluate.
(D) What is idealism? How does idealism relate to relativism? Many ethicists attack idealism on the basis that is "morally corrupt." What does "morally corrupt" mean? Evaluate the thesis that idealism is morally corrupt.
(D) What is classical realism? To what extent is classical realism consistent/inconsistent with classical empiricism/rationalism? It is often claimed that all scientists are either classical realists or sophists. Evaluate this position.
(D) What are the fundamental tenets of logical positivism? What is the difference between considering logical positivism to be a movement and considering it to be a research program? To what extent is the movement of logical positivism consistent with the aims of the Enlightenment? Why were the logical positivists so critical of Hegelian idealism? In your judgment, should they have been so critical?
(D) What was the major "lesson" that the logical positivists learned from Einsteinian relativity and quantum mechanics? To what extent did the views of the logical positivists depart from classical realism? To what extent did the views of logical positivists accord with those of classical realism? Why was the "Humean view of causality" consistent with the "lesson" that the logical positivists learned from Einsteinian relativity and quantum mechanics?
(D) How does logical empiricism differ from logical positivism? How does Humean skepticism relate to the views of the logical empiricists concerning scientific explanation? How does Humean skepticism relate to the "theoretical term/observational term" distinction?
(D) What is the difference between developing a "correspondence rule" for defining a construct and developing a "measure" of a construct? Are there circumstances under which "correspondence rules" and "measures" are identical? Are there research programs that imply that "correspondence rules" and "measures" are identical? Should all "measures" of constructs be "correspondence rules?"
(E) Differentiate between "corroboration" for Popper and "confirmation" for the logical empiricists. Does the claim that theories are not, strictly speaking, falsifiable necessarily imply that all theories are equally false?" Does the claim that theories are not, strictly speaking, confirmable, mean that all theories are "equally true?" If so, why? If not, why not? If we cannot show that our theories are true-with-certainty or, alternatively, that they are false-with-certainty, should we not (as relativists demand) dispense entirely with the notions of "truth" and "falsity?"
(C) What does "scientific progress" imply? Why should we be interested in whether science makes progress or not? Do we really know more about marketing now than we did two decades ago? How about four decades ago? In which areas are we making the most progress? What definition of "progress" was implied in your answer to the previous question?
(D) What is the "philosophers' fallacy?" How does it relate to Humean skepticism? How does it relate to the current discussions concerning relativism in marketing and the social sciences? Why is the "philosophers' fallacy" a genuine fallacy? How does the philosophers' fallacy inexorably lead to the destruction of our ability to make judgments on the merits of issues? (Hint: Consider the extent to which the philosophers' fallacy destroys language. Remember, Orwell's world of "1984" had no word for "science.")
(C) Discuss the various uses of the term "paradigm." How does a "paradigm" differ from a "Weltanschauung?" What difference does it make if everyone uses the term "paradigm" in his or her own way? (Hint: reflect on the purpose of language.)
(D) Rachels points out that "if we took cultural relativism seriously, we would have to admit that these social practices are also immune from criticism." What does he mean "if we took cultural relativism seriously?" Under what circumstances will individuals propose philosophies that are "not to be taken seriously?" How do we know when a philosophy is to be "taken seriously?" Is it ever appropriate to propose philosophies that one does not "take seriously?"
(E) Thomas Kuhn believed that his theory of science did not apply to the social sciences because they were in the "pre-paradigm stage." Many writers, however, have pointed out that Kuhn's theory has been actually applied most often in the social sciences. Why has this been the case? Should it be the case?
(D) Discuss the three major interpretations of the word "incommensurability." What does "rival" mean? Why is it important to recognize that it is only "rival" theories or paradigms for which the concept of "incommensurability" poses a potential problem for science? Why is it important to distinguish between theories and paradigms being "incommensurable" and being, simply, different?"
(D) What does it mean and why is it important to recognize that "what is required for objectivity in science is not an observation-language that is neutral to all potential theories; rather, what is required is an observation-language that is neutral with respect to the theories in question." How have many philosophers erred by claiming that objectivity requires an observation-language that is "neutral" with respect to all theories? What does it mean to claim that an observation-language is "neutral" with respect to a particular theory? (Hint: What does "question begging" mean?)
(C) Suppe points out the distressing tendency for the behavioral sciences to uncritically accept many theories of science from the philosophy of science, even after those philosophies have been long repudiated: "Increasingly, behavioral and social sciences are reading and being influenced by Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Within anthropology, economics, political science, psychology, and sociology there has been a spate of publications attempting to view these disciplines from a `Kuhnian' perspective, either in an attempt to discern the current state of the field or in an attempt to resolve various methodological disputes within the discipline." He goes on to relate that "I am dismayed and worried by the burgeoning influence Kuhn is having on behavioral and social scientists. My fears here rest not so much on the fact that Kuhn's structure of scientific revolutions is bad history of science and fundamentally defective philosophy of science, but rather on the way in which behavioral and social scientists are resorting to and relying on Kuhn's work." Suppe concludes that "science must approach philosophy of science with a critical eye" and:
In short, scientific methodologies are strategies for ascertaining the likelihood that accepted theories or hypotheses are correct, and to the extent that science has been progressive it has involved the development of increasing more sophisticated strategies or cannons of rationality for deciding which theories to accept or reject on the basis of increasingly smaller data bases, in such a way that such strategies lead to increasingly higher success rates in the acceptance of true theories or hypotheses and the rejection of false ones. The methodologies codified by philosophers of science or methodologically-concerned scientists are codifications of such strategies, often coupled with assessments of the relative merits of these strategies compared to other available ones.
To what extent are Suppe's comments relevant to marketing today? To what extent is Suppe arguing that scientific methodology is progressive? Would it be possible to know-with-certainty that scientific methodology is progressive? Why is the issue of the progressivity of scientific methodology important, or not important?
(D) Peter and Olson (1983) argue, following Feyerabend, that "`anything goes' ) i.e., any methodology or theory, no matter how unconventional, can contribute to scientific progress." What is the difference between "can contribute" and "may contribute," or "is likely to contribute," or "is likely not to contribute"? Does the phrase "can contribute" make the statement trivially true? Demonstrably false?
(C) Peter and Olson (1983) state "alternatively, researchers with an R/C orientation conceive of many possible rationalities, each of which is relative to a specific context of frame of reference. According to this view, scientists construct `realities' by developing a degree of social agreement about the meanings of their theories and empirical observations" (p.120). Evaluate this position. How does it relate to the "consensus theory of truth?" Or is it likely not to contribute?" Does the phrase "can contribute" make the statement trivially true? Demonstrably false?
(C) Define the concept of "research programme" as the term is used by Lakatos. How does it differ from a "research tradition" for Laudan and a "paradigm" for Kuhn? Choose several of the "schools of thought" identified by Sheth, Gardner and Garrett (1988). To what extent are there one, or more, "research programs," "research traditions," and "paradigms" in each "school of thought"? Discuss the overall usefulness of these concepts for marketing.
(D) Evaluate the thesis of Laudan that "truth" is irrelevant to science and, at the same time, science should "treat theories as if they were true" for purposes of "practical action" and "testing theories."
(E) What is scientific realism? How does it differ from logical positivism and logical empiricism? Many people believe that when the critics of science attack the logical positivists/empiricists, such critics are actually attacking scientific realism (but they do not realize it). Evaluate this thesis.
(D) What are the major differences between Laudan's "early" theory of science and "later" theory? How do each of these two theories differ from the theory of science proposed by Kuhn?
(C) Define and differentiate among the following theories of truth: pragmatic, correspondence, coherence, and consensus. How does the consensus theory of truth fail to address the issue of the pragmatic success of science? What is the relationship between the consensus theory of truth and reality relativism? Should marketing adopt the consensus theory? Why, or why not?
(C) What is the most appropriate philosophy to guide marketing? Marketing science? Why?
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