Research purpose: This report is aimed to explore and evaluate the topic of this journal on the integrity agenda for today’s marketing. It has explored three aspects the journal related including evaluation these rationales and opinions mentioned to support integrity, evaluations integrity as the mainstreaming in marketing practice and evaluations the offered cultivating measures on integrity.
Research method: This paper mainly adopts the secondary data mostly from information in journals, textbooks, academic findings and internet sources.
Main findings: Via the analysis on this journal, this report finds out the importance and urgency for organizations to think highly of ethical issues especially the integrity and sustainability agendas in their marketing practices and some good business ethical practices from many world famous brands.
Conclusion: The emphasis of integrity is very crucial for business all over the world.
Key words: Integrity, Sustainability, Marketers, Evaluation
ii. Content page
1.0 Introduction 4
1.1 Evaluation these rationales and opinions mentioned to support integrity 4
1.2 Evaluations integrity as the mainstreaming in marketing practice 5
1.3 Evaluations the offered cultivating measures on integrity 5
2.0 Summary of the literature 5
2.1 Rationales for the population of integrity 5
2.1.1 Background 5
2.1.2 Rationale and examples 6
2.2 The mainstreaming of integrity in marketing 7
2.2.1 Introduction of sustainability agenda in business 7
2.2.2 Examples in maintain sustainability 8
2.3 Cultivating the practice of integrity by markets 10
3.0 Analysis 10
3.1 Evaluation these rationales and opinions mentioned to support integrity 11
3.2 Evaluations integrity as the mainstreaming in marketing practice 13
3.3 Evaluations the offered cultivating measures on integrity 15
4.0 Conclusion 17
5.0 Learning outcomes 19
6.0 Reference 20
7.0 Appendix 23
Figure 1.0 Ladder of Integrity…………………………………………………………………………...9
This journal is developed on the basis of the more and more importance of the ethical agenda in business, especially the great emphasis of integrity agenda in business both in Chinese and European perspectives. There are many rationales both from China and the western aspects to demonstrate the importance of integrity in business especially for marketers.
Besides the focus of the public and consumers on the integrity in business, the bad consequences such as these corruption scandals in business and government also require the improvement in the concern of integrity – the responsibility to the current society, environment and the future generations. The European business organizations had started their pursuit on integrity agenda in their business in an early time, these theories and rationales for such kind of concern are variety. Meanwhile, in the eastern regions, there are also a great many rationales, especially the golden rules in Confucian, such as its emphasis and suggestion on the behaviors of honesty, credibility and moral principles.
On the basis of these supporting rationales and theories for integrity in marketing, this paper has three concerns as below.
1.1 Evaluation these rationales and opinions mentioned to support integrity
1.2 Evaluations integrity as the mainstreaming in marketing practice
1.3 Evaluations the offered cultivating measures on integrity
2.0 Summary of the literature
This journal is about the ethical issue referring to the integrity in the marketing practices in the aspects of China and Europe. It has three major concerns.
2.1 Rationales for the population of integrity
The initial concern of this journal is about the rationale on why integrity enjoys a population in the marketing of Chinese and European perspectives. There are more and more scandals related to the abuse and corruption in the upper level management of business organization and some government organizations exposed by the medium and public. Besides more and more exposure of these unethical organizational behaviors, the concern and awareness of ethics in both business and public aspects are emphasized by the society including governments and NGOS are enhanced as well.
In the business area, the environmental free practices, sustainable development in supply chains are used by companies as a useful means to improve their image and status as an ethical organization. These old and famous ethical brands, Max Havelaar, Traidcraft and the Body Shop included all introduce many new strategies to maintain their high social status such as improve their business transparency to the public.
According to a social survey on the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), nearly 70% Chinese consumers confirmed the positive contribution of some large companies to the public good while there are a smaller number about 35% customers in Europe hold such kind of view.
2.1.2 Rationale and examples
For the first, to understand the integrity issue in the Chinese and European perspectives, the meaning of this word should be explained firstly. It is a hot word in the management and corporate governance with the context of ethics. The origin of this word may be regard as in the Latin word integrities, which means healthy and warmhearted. And in English, integrity has the content of good virtues such as honesty and courage as well. Based on these, we can define integrity as a complex of six kinds of virtues such as honesty, competence, consistency, dependability, sincerity as well as benevolence, which also endow the meaning of a leader of integrity who may own the six virtue characteristics.
From the China aspect, Chinese give integrity a relevant explanation in their language, named ‘ chengxin’ which enjoys a popularity in Chinese media to prosecute the serious corruption phenomenon in Chinese society. This definition of Chinese on integrity owns its history, which has three factors such as honesty, credibility and principles in moral aspect. And the three factors are regarded as in the inner part of a person which may reflect in their outward behaviors on how they treat their parents and the elders. And the golden rules in Confucian also have a wild utility such as the virtue of Ren, benevolence, the kindness to friends and so on.
In addition, the notorious Chinese melamine dairy scandal in 2008 enhances the awareness of the integrity of a business at the highest position in China. Although there were several dairy producers such as Sanlu arousing public anger on their bad behaviors, some diary producers of China such as Yili Industrial Group is worth praising. What it has been done is so ethical and environmental concern.
Besides the Chinese point of view, the western’s idea also affirms the importance of the character basis for business marketers to run their business in the ethical or unethical ways.
2.2 The mainstreaming of integrity in marketing
2.2.1 Introduction of sustainability agenda in business
Sustainability agenda with the concerns on environmental preservation and social justice is considered as the mainstream in the recent business practices, which becomes the basis for integrity in marketing. And in the recently, many Europeans hold the view that there is a failing for the brands in two aspects including the failure in fulfilling customers’ expectations and their own future development road due to some inevitable factors.
In a word, there is a crisis in ethical aspect facing brands. In the first place, the basis of branded communication is challenged in the honesty agenda. In the second place, some brands may lack enough concern on the sustainability agenda especially on the environmental protection for the welfare of the future generation. And the green ethics and precautionary principle utilized by Brenkert (2008 cited in Thompson. 2009) suggest that marketers had better not to produce the products which may have bad influence on the environment.
2.2.2 Examples in maintain sustainability
And from the marketers’ points, there are important issues for them to take care. The first one is to continuously increase the transparency of their brands’ practices on social and environmental aspects to show their integrity in business. The second one is the maintaining of sustainability themes such as recycling strategy to further prove their integrity in business. There are many examples of companies in practising the integrity behaviors.
For example, Wal-Mart launched the ‘Sustainable Product Index’ and a more transparent supply chain to the public as the means to maintain its integrity in business. Marks and Spencer in UK launched the ‘Plan A’ to pursue the sustainable practices in product research and environmental considerations. McDonald’s launched a ‘health happy’ campaign to show its concern on the sustainable development in children’s health after it faced some doubts on children’s health development. And more, ABInBev UK also launched the campaign of advertisements to show it is responsible in sustainable development especially the great concern on environment.
Figure 1.0 Ladder of Integrity
Source: Thompson, M.J. 2009, Integrity in marketing: Chinese and European perspectives, Journal of International Business Ethics, Vol. 2, No. 2,
Generally speaking, the concern on sustainability is pursued by many marketers nowadays which are often supported by organizations such as NGO. The Rainforest Alliance for example is such a kind of NGO in examining and verifying sustainability in farming practices with the assistance of the Ladder of integrity in figure 1.0, which win many supports in the society such as the support from Nestle, which has been engaging in the sustainable development of its products.
2.3 Cultivating the practice of integrity by markets
As the importance of integrity agenda for marketers in business, marketers should raise their awareness on this issue. They had better have the understanding that integrity is the moral consideration and principles between owners of the brands and their agents, marketers and consumers via the interactions in the business. And the decision making related to the moral issues are often affected by these participants in business such as marketers, brand managers, moral agents and so on.
The recommendations for business participants such as the marketers may be in the moral decision making aspects more, which requires the development in the ethical and sustainable dimension for brands. In the first place, marketers had better practise their business in a more ethical way concerning with the ethical rights and responsibility to the society. In the second place, the transparency should also be considered in their decision making process which requires the focus and emphasis in the moral character and motives.
In brief, integrity in the dimension of marketing often has two aspects including the reflection before the practising and engagement in others’ practice to do the right things.
3.1 Evaluation these rationales and opinions mentioned to support integrity
As the journal said, the Chinese understandings on integrity on the Confucian principles, which even further indicated that an individual’s integrity should be or may be reflected in the integrity of his or her country or organization. In China, the word integrity often defined as the Chinese word Chengxi, which are emphasized so much to advocate the importance of government officers or organizations’ management level in preventing the serious social phenomenon corruption. As the importance of Chengxi namely integrity in Chinese society, the three elements such as honesty, credibility or trustworthiness and moral principles are appreciated and respected by Chinese people since the ancient time.
This kind of point above in this journal is approved by many researchers on China society that Clements and Jonathan (2008) gave us many important issue on Confucian principle that it put the morality, integrity, justice and sincerity for both the government and individual in the first place which was respected and shared by many other doctrines in Chinese history including Legalism, Taoism and so on and even enjoys a good reputation in the world. And in the philosophy of Confucius, these principles, the integrity for example indicated the importance of strong family loyalty, respects for elders and conscience for a person. This kind of principle of integrity from Confucius also gave us the lesson that the superiority of personal exemplification in business world, which is a wildly recognized ethics for Chinese people to implement and run their business nowadays (Dawson & Raymond 1982).
Today, many Chinese entrepreneurs have learned from these golden principles from Confucian, so the integrity often works as the beacon to light up their business advance. The Chinese national home appliance producer, Haier Group has put integrity in its global business at a large extent. for example, its leader even ordered to destroy all of these refrigerators with quality problems to maintain the integrity in the business, although it made this organization a big economy loss. (People’s Daily 2001; Ciulla 2003)
Besides the above rationales and theories, in the business practices area of Chinese organizations, there are also many focuses laid on the Chengxi – integrity perspectives. The notorious poisonous milk powder accident made most of the Chinese national dairy producers in the teeth of the storm and paid the price. The two Chinese dairy producers Sanyuan and Sanlu, had practised opposite business practices. In the former one, Sanyuan had strong ethical culture in its organization. While the latter one, Sanlu had practised many unethical business practices especially the notorious melamine accident. And the consequence of such accident also made the two kinds of organizations have two different destinies. In the end, Sanyuan had bought Sanlu in Chinese dairy market. In short, this journal used the story to tell us the importance of integrity in Chinese society and the great attention of Chinese consumers on the integrity of organizations, which is due to the historical influences from Confucian principles.
As the Chinese, we have to admit the misbehaviors of many dairy producers in the melamine accident. In the meantime, we also want the whole world to realize the reality that our Chinese people do take care of the integrity and Chengxi in our organizations. Besides the above melamine accident, there are also many stories which indicate the importance of integrity for organizations are emphasized by our society. For example, Xinhua news of China agency announced the Hogwash oil event in Chinese hotpot industry was a serious and common phenomenon. And this kind of behaviors really violate the integrity essence in Chinese culture which not only received tough punishment but also reconfirm the whole world that Chinese people and the society think highly of the integrity that any one or any organization who offend or violate this kind of virtue may not only be blame by the whole Chinese society but also receive tough punishment both from the ethical and legal aspects. (Juan 2011)
All in all, the rationales and examples offered by both the journal and other researchers prove the importance of integrity for a society and a business and disclosed the emphasis of Chinese society on integrity as well.
3.2 Evaluations integrity as the mainstreaming in marketing practice
The journals also discussed the position of integrity perspective in the marketing practices which even become the mainstreaming in the market places. One of the agenda from integrity perspective- the sustainability agenda is the main focus of this journal in this part. It especially stressed the significance of sustainability for brands.
In the first place, it admitted the challenges faced by brands in two aspects such as the honesty of branded communication and suitability issue on environmental protect for the commonweal of future generation. These theories including green ethics and precautionary principles were used by this journal to assist marketers to cope with the challenges via adopting the sustainability.
In the next place, according to Stewart (2002), precautionary principles indicate that if any action or rule may have a risk in bringing harms to the public or to the environment, this kind of action or rule is regarded as harmful. And these principles have two kinds of concerns. One of the concerns may be the same as this journal mentioned that marketers are required by the precautionary principles to avoid producing products which may have bad influences on the environment. It states briefly that there is a social obligation for marketers to prevent the society from the exposure to harm such as the environmental pollution and so on. And in so legal systems, such as the European Union law, it points out the emphasis of the precautionary principle which is treated as a statutory requirement for business (Recuerda 2006). The other concerns of the precautionary principles mentioned by according to Stewart (2002) may disclose the incompleteness of the view of this journal on the understanding and application of precautionary principles. In this journal, it emphasized the negative views of precautionary principles towards behaviors made by business towards the public and environment. It ignored the other kind of view that there is an exception that in some urgent situation that it is allowable for policy markers or marketer to implement some decisions that this kind of decision making was the best choice under such circumstance.
In addition the above theories mentioned to support the mainstream position of sustainability I marketing practices, many real examples were introduced in this journal to further approve the position of suitability agenda. Wal- Mart’s sustainable product index program, Mark and Spencer’s plan A, McDonald’s healthy happy campaign, Rainforest’s enforcement and Nestlé’s practices, and so on all told us the mainstreaming position of sustainability agenda in the marketing practices for companies in the world. And in short, these examples of companies’ practices on the sustainability agenda were all aimed to indicate the significant place.
In fact, the mainstreaming position of sustainability agenda is approved by other researchers as well. For example, Hong (2010) stated the emphasis of sustainability issue in the world cosmetic industry, in which L’Oreal group is a good example. In L’Oreal group, the continuing focus on the product safety enables this company has been investing a lot on the product research and development aspect to ensure the quality and safety of the products for the society. And in the product safety area, the environmental friendly business practices are emphasized by L’Oreal group a lot (L’Oréal 2009). Roughly speaking, as the cosmetic giant in the world, L’Oreal group put the sustainability issue in the first place as well.
In brief, both this journal and other researchers’ opinion on the mainstreaming position of the sustainability agenda are approved and emphasized.
3.3 Evaluations the offered cultivating measures on integrity
Via the presenting the position and importance of integrity and suitability agenda for business, this journal also mentioned some tips and recommendations for markets or business to cultivate. At first, this journal showed the integrity as a moral consideration made by brand owners, via their interaction with marketers, consumers and agents. Secondly, the moral decision making was also emphasized by the journal to develop the ethics and sustainable dimension for brands. Based on the two aspects, the quality of character of organization leaders was highlighted, which has a large influence on the moral decision making of an organization.
From this point, many researchers pointed out the significant position of leaders for an organization as well. because of the importance of an ethical organization and the integrity as well as sustainability for an organization to maintain its image and market share nowadays, more and more leaders in the business organizations and even some non profit organizations wake up to aware the social obligations and ethics (Dirks & Ferrin 2002;Velasquez 2011).
Besides the emphasis of leaders in the moral decision making for the organization the same as the journal’s opinion, Butterfield, Treviño and Weaver (2000) investigate deeper in the influences of the benefits of the ethical leadership for an organization, which is also recommended by us for this journal to take into consideration. At first, in the customers’ point of view, the leaders to implement ethical behaviors in the organization may help this organization to gain more competitive advantage. Because more and more customers began to take care the level of demonstration in responsibility and ethical practices of marketers and products suppliers. Those who fail to do so may face the bad situation of losing market share, shrinking popularity, reducing profits and so on.
Secondly, the quality of an ethical leader can help his or her organization to attract and retain talents better. As we all know, the best talents may prefer to work with a trustworthy and responsible employer rather than the unethical one (Avolio & Gardner2005). Thirdly, ethical leaders are helpful to attract more investors for the business. There are fewer and fewer people are willing to invest their money to organizations which are in the shortage of integrity and responsibility. Because these unethical behaviors may result in a performance decline of the business, that’s why the concern of the organizations’ integrity practices are considered a lot by investors.
And then, the quality of an ethical leader is important for the organization to build and maintain its reputation as well. Although firms or organizations may invest a lot to build its organizational image and reputation for decades and even hundreds of years, only one scandal may destroy the whole. If an organization is led by the ethical leader, the chance to behave unethically may be less. And then it may be far less involved in scandals and disasters (Cullen, Parboteeah, & Victor, 2003).
In short, the cultivating of the practice of integrity in marketers of this journal reminded business marketers the importance of ethical leadership for the successful of their business. This kind of idea is supported by many researchers such as Dirks and Ferrin (2002). More concerns with the benefits of ethical leadership towards the business and marketers are also suggested to this journal, because the full understanding of the reason to emphasize the ethical leadership can help the organizations to better practices the integrity issues and really value the importance of ethical leadership (Cullen, Parboteeah, & Victor, 2003).
From the analysis of this journal in the dimension of the integrity in marketing: Chinese and European perspectives, we find the following.
In the first place, some these findings in the journal are consistent with the practices of industries and organizations. At first, the origin of integrity mentioned by this journal indicated its origin in Chinese perspective stemmed from the traditional virtue from China, especially these principles in Confucius such as the honesty, credibility, moral principles and so on. This origin of integrity in China is supported by many researchers such as Dawson and Raymond (1982), Ciulla (2003) and Juan( 2011) and so on depending on their research on the virtue essence of Chinese society and the sage – Confucius.
And then, these examples come up with by this journal such as the melamine accident was used to prove the importance and high awareness of integrity in the Chinese perspective. To further support this issue, many researchers also gave us other example to strengthen this opinion mentioned by this journal such as the example of Hogwash oil event in China.
Furthermore, the journal recommended to use green ethics and precautionary principles to guild the business practices of markets and brands, which was supported by companies’ examples such as Wal- Mart’s sustainable product index program, Mark and Spencer’s plan A, McDonald’s plan and so on. This opinion was proved by Hong (2010) and L’Oreal group (2009) in the cosmetics industry practices.
At last, the further cultivating of this journal in recommending the ethical leadership for companies also won the support of Dirks & Ferrin (2002) in companies’ business practices.
In the second place, many perspectives of this journal may be seemed as improper or incomplete either. For example, when talking about the function of precautionary principles to guide business practices, this journal was seemed to lack the concern with the other aspect of this principle when business facing urgent situation that some urgent measures may be permitted to used to cope the emergency which may be not ethical enough. This was proved by Stewart (2002). And in the meantime, in cultivating of the practice of integrity in marketers, we recommend this journal to take the benefit of ethical leaderships into account which may be helpful for companies to have a better understanding of the integrity issue in the ethical practices advised by Butterfield, Treviño and Weaver (2000), Avolio and Gardner (2005) Cullen, Protean, and Victor (2003) and Ferrin (2002).
5.0 Learning outcomes
From the analysis of this journal on the area of integrity, sustainability agenda in the marketing, I have got a lot.
At first, the knowledge on the origin of integrity has been broadened, especially its Chinese origin. As the Chinese, it is necessary and useful for us to have a good knowledge on the golden principle from these sages such as Confucius. So with the investigation of the area explored by this journal, I developed a good understanding and knowledge on the integrity issue from the traditional Chinese aspect – the Confucian aspect.
Secondly, these examples given by the journal such as Wal- Mart, Mark and Spencer’s plan A, McDonald’s, ABInBev UK and so on had enlightened our wisdom on how to properly handle these ethical issues in the business, which can guide my future career in a more ethical way.
Moreover, with the deep discussion on the importance and benefit of an ethical leader, we can better evaluate and pay more attention on the ethical behaviors as a business leader, which may not only guide our future career but also help us to better manage our future business if we become the leaders for a business.
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