The purpose of this paper is to show that Wroe Alderson's contributions to marketing thought earn him recognition as the “Father of Modern Marketing.”
An extensive review of writings by and about Alderson, a thorough examination of the history of marketing thought literature, and the personal remembrances of one of the authors, are drawn upon to organize Alderson's numerous contributions to the marketing literature into a small number of categories. Such an organization is expected to provide a big picture overview of Alderson's significant impact on marketing thought.
Alderson's contributions to the marketing discipline can be organized into three broad categories, which collectively produced a tectonic shift in academic thinking about marketing: from distribution (macro) to marketing management (micro); from economics to the behavioral sciences; and from description and classification to explanation and theory building. These epic transformations have become so embedded in the marketing literature that they are now taken for granted, but they are so significant they represent a paradigm shift in marketing thought. Because of this legacy, the authors argue Wroe Alderson has earned the honorific title: “Father of Modern Marketing.”
This work provides an historical context to understand the origins of modern marketing thought by recognizing the most dynamic marketing thinker of the last half‐century.
This paper organizes the many and varied contributions of Wroe Alderson into broad categories in a context that is useful for researchers studying the history of marketing thought. The organization of Alderson's contributions also provides an historical foundation for scholars working on a general theory of marketing.
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