Articilo #1 Asig 3 - The need for moral champions in global marketing Lyn S Amine Department of Marketing and International Business Saint Louis

Articilo #1 Asig 3 - The need for moral champions in global...

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Moral champions in global marketing 81 The need for moral champions in global marketing Lyn S. Amine Department of Marketing and International Business, Saint Louis University, St Louis, Missouri, USA Introduction Over the years, a number of scandals have come to light concerning production or marketing of potentially harmful products in less developed countries (LDCs). Well-known examples from the 1970s and 1980s include high-dosage contraceptives sold over the counter; baby food promoted using high-pressure sales methods; continued sales of pesticides and high-tar cigarettes after forced withdrawal from western markets; inadequate health and safety precautions during production of asbestos; and the explosion of a chemical plant due to lax safety standards. One might reasonably wonder why well-educated, professionally trained managers, who work for companies with international reputations, might take decisions that risk provoking censure by the world business community. Is it just the result of the “profit motive” run rampant? Is it merely the “ugly face of capitalism?” Or are there other reasons that might explain the apparent willingness of western managers to run the risk of jeopardizing the health and well-being of consumers in the developing world? This article discusses these questions by framing the issues in the context of ethics and social responsibility in global marketing. Of particular interest here is the “opportunity” for managers to become involved in dubious ethical decisions and practices when marketing potentially harmful products to consumers in LDCs. Marketing in LDCs is often characterized by an imbalance of power because the foreign corporation controls access to information about the product, its use, likely effects of misuse, and the availability of safer alternatives. Consumers in LDCs may be vulnerable to exploitation insofar as they lack, to a greater or lesser degree, the basic skills and knowledge that typify consumers in western markets. Also, the consumer environment in many LDCs lacks agencies and organizations to monitor company action, such as the EPA, FDA, Better Business Bureaus, and Consumers Union in the US. Examples of the sort of problems and dangers that unsuspecting consumers might be exposed to were seen in Malaysia during the early 1980s (Newman, 1980). Problems included adulterated products, use of known carcinogens, deceptive and misleading labeling, inadequate product information and warnings, phony discounts, short weights, unlicensed practitioners, and so on. Producers and marketers of such products included both domestic and foreign companies. When the latter were queried about their practices in Malaysia, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 30 No. 5, 1996, pp. 81-94.
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