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Call for Papers - Special Issue of Journal of Business Research


Special Issue of Journal of Business Research

Positive Marketing:

Profitably Uplifting Organizational Stakeholders, Consumers and Society

~Cross-disciplinary research welcome and encouraged~

Special Issue Co-Editors:

Dawn Lerman, Fordham University and Hersh Shefrin, Santa Clara University

Ideal marketing occurs when an organization improves an individual’s life by identifying and satisfying his/her needs; in turn, the individual willingly gives back to the organization in the form of monetary payment, word of mouth, loyalty, or other consideration. Importantly, both parties benefit from this exchange; the consumer’s life is improved in some way, while the organization and its stakeholders enjoy profits and/or increased business. This exchange process is at the heart of marketing as a philosophy, a discipline, and an organizational function.

But marketing practice and, commensurately, perceptions of the discipline have gone astray. On one hand, there are many organizations operating under the guise of "marketing" that clearly have no interest in improving the lives of customers. For example, many telemarketers or mortgage lenders are motivated solely by pursuit of profit rather than by mutually beneficial exchange. In turn, marketing as a whole is often maligned as a subversive force for evil. How did a philosophy and a discipline aimed at improving customers' lives for equal return get such a bad reputation?

Positive marketing aims to push marketing back toward its ideals for the benefit of businesses, individuals, and society at large. Positive marketing posits that the notion of mutually beneficial exchange, the very heart of the marketing concept, can be a powerful force for uplifting the world. By definition, if all parties to an exchange are better off as a result of the exchange— taking into account its long-term consequences— societal well-being should be enhanced.

The special issue will focus on how marketing, and consumer response to it, is or can be used to improve the world. Submissions may include new theoretical or empirical work. We also encourage authors to re-visit prior works through the lens of positive marketing. For example, a prior study on how promotions can be designed to better elicit consumer response may be re-visited in order to better understand what it was about that promotion that made consumers' lives better and motivated them to respond. Was it a psychological benefit, social benefit, etc.? And looked at through this lens, how might that prior work be extended to better understand how marketing can improve people's lives?

Topics for the special issue cross all philosophical, strategic, and tactical perspectives on marketing. They include, but are not limited to, the following:

- What is the role of marketing in broader society?

- Classification systems to demarcate organizations that practice positive marketing from those that only nominally practice marketing.

- The relative performance - financial, operational, etc. - of organizations that practice positive marketing.

- How can segmentation, targeting, and positioning be defined in order to ensure mutually beneficial exchange between customers and businesses?

- What types of brands and brand meanings or products and product attributes contribute to consumer well-being, and how do they do so?

- What types of financial and non-financial products help consumers better manage their market exchanges for mutual benefit?

- How can promotions be designed to go beyond simply garnering response, and actually create meaningful improvements in customers' lives?

- How is distribution tied to customer well-being? For example, some organizations' value propositions are based on going directly to the customer, while others seem to deliver value by making consumers come to them.

- How does price improve customers' lives? On the one hand, customers might be happiest when paying the least amount. On the other hand, might there be price-well-being inferences akin to price-quality inferences (and how would those two types of inferences differ)?

- How consumers balance self-interest in consumption versus what they give back to business and/or society.

- Perspectives on collaborative consumption (e.g., Zipcar) as it relates to individual and societal well-being.

All manuscripts should follow the general guidelines for authors of the Journal of Business Research.

Manuscripts should not have been published or be under consideration at other journals.

Please submit your paper electronically by January 31, 2012 to each of the JBR Special Issue Editors: Dawn Lerman, Fordham University ( and Hersh Shefrin (

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