International Journal of Business and Social Science

ISSN 2219-1933 (Print), 2219-6021 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijbss


Why the Customer Is Not King: A Critical Appraisal of Marketing Ideology, Practice, and Incentives
Erhard K. Valentin

Tensions swept aside in much of the marketing literature exist between creating customer and shareholder value and among the interests of customers, shareholders, executives, and the public. They merit consideration in business education and in critiques of marketing and other business practices, as well as applicable public policy. Conflicts of interest tend to be resolved predominantly in favor of shareholders. Moreover, compensation formulas, while intended to align the interests of executives and shareholders, sometimes encourage opportunistic behavior that benefits neither shareholders nor customers. Pleading with executives to self-impose ethical standards that transcend legal bounds seems futile, and legal remedies are limited. Seemingly, business ethics education can facilitate aligning business practices more closely with consumer and public interests, for instance, by cultivating a more intense desire in students who will vote and become business and community leaders to maintain their self-respect.

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