Applied psychologists face professional assignments orienting them to actions i.e., the real-world impacts that people use their resources to effect. They need a concept of action to aid directly in their tasks, and to assess the great constructs of academic psychology for appropriateness to applied uses. Absence of “human action” among psychology’s subdisciplines left consumer psychologists facing multiple conceptual tasks, in their early attempts to model action. For real-world assignments, deficiencies of existing approaches, dispositional and situational, and advantages of modeling action are discussed. Behavioral processes allocating an individual’s resources are proposed as an appropriate context for studying action.
The agenda for marketing science that I discuss in this chapter is radical in two senses: It is rooted in marketing’s essential contributions to society and to business, and it excludes from consideration-indeed, rejects as a legitimate part of marketing-what is probably the most prevalent notion of marketing outside the profession. Accordingly, this chapter is about two things: (1) marketing’s essential function, contrasted where appropriate with popular misconceptions, and (2) implications of that function for marketing science.
Each of the terms in the triad marketing, ethics, and quality-of-life (QOL) needs some clarification, and their juxtaposition raises additional issues. Indeed, marketing may be the least well articulated of the three and, for present purposes, the most in need of clarification. It is patently impossible to discuss an activity’s
likely impact on QOL, or its ethical implications, in the absence of some precise idea of the nature of that activity. In this regard, marketing is something of an anomaly.
Marketing authors have held that the discipline’s subject matter is exchange. Apparently many fail to take cognizance of the radically different kinds of exchange that underlie marketing and selling. Often, a “selling” model seems implicit as authors discuss “marketing,” leading to errors of omission and commission; the latter in focus here. Until remedied, authors deny conceptual development to marketers’ central question, and daily real-world task: What shall we produce? How shall we use resources for human satisfaction?
Managers protest the literature’s irrelevance; academics seek release from the straightjacket of “managerial relevance” and, alarmingly, advocate doing nonmarketing (sic). The fact of specialization in production provides clues to a valid measure of managerial relevance. It also points to fundamental processes of resource allocation and use as the problem domain of marketing science and practice.