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Relationship marketing and a new economy: it’s time for de‐programming

Evert Gummesson (Professor, School of Business, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 1 December 2002



Some economic conditions change gradually and sometimes sudden discontinuities occur whereas other conditions remain stable for decades, even centuries. In this sense there is always a new economy in the making. The author claims that marketing theory lags behind and that marketing as it is taught and researched today is a relic of the 1960s, patched up with decorations such as services, relationships and e‐business. Academe is hiding behind an allegedly scientific front of deductive and reductionistic customer surveys, applying increasingly sophisticated statistical techniques that process data of decreasing quality. Generation of marketing theory requires more of inductive and systemic case study research allowing us to confront the complexity, ambiguity and dynamism of the real world with more common sense and less ritual. We need to keep developing marketing theory to avoid turning education into brainwashing. New marketing theory should focus on the value of the total offering; a balance between production‐centric and customer‐centric aspects; and should recognize relationships, networks and interaction as core variables.



Gummesson, E. (2002), "Relationship marketing and a new economy: it’s time for de‐programming", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 16 No. 7, pp. 585-589.




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