The Marketing Firm
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The Marketing Firm

Economic Psychology of Corporate Behaviour

Kevin J. Vella and Gordon Foxall

This book provides an expert analysis of the theory of the marketing firm by drawing upon operant psychology, economic theory and marketing to argue that all firms exist in order to market. The authors explore the nature of bilateral interdependence and suggest a framework to analyse the collaborative and competitive mutually reinforcing relationships within which the firm acts.
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Chapter 7: Conclusions

Kevin J. Vella and Gordon Foxall


EMPIRICAL EVALUATION AND GENERAL RESEARCH DIRECTIONS The study sought to evaluate the explanatory power of the theory of the marketing firm. The results of the case study suggest strong empirical support to the central propositions of the theory, confirming its potential as a rival theory of the firm despite being embryonic. The application of operant psychology together with economic and applied disciplines provided a robust framework within which to generate an understanding of firm behaviour. The usefulness of the three-term contingency was augmented through the introduction of motivating operations (MO) and the use of the four-term contingency as a framework MO:SD:R→Sr/p (Fagerstrøm et al. 2010). Although the concept requires further study within the context of firm behaviour, it emerged as instrumental in explaining why firms emitted certain behaviour and shows analytical and predictive promise. The analysis demonstrates how both price and non-price marketing mix variables were combined to operate at various levels, thereby confirming the importance of considering both demand elasticity and plasticity in an analysis of firm behaviour. Scope and reinforcer management were not mutually exclusive strategies; rather they were used in combination and at various levels of the channel, down- and side-stream, simultaneously encouraging approach, deterring avoidance, punishing escape, imposing barriers and punishing/ deterring encroachment to reveal a complex tapestry of firm behaviour. The evidence runs counter to Foxall’s (1997a, 1999a) suggestion that managing behaviour scope is a short-term behaviour modification strategy while reinforcement management is a longer-term approach. Both were equally viable in...

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