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Revisiting Drucker's theory: Has consumerism led to the overuse of marketing?

Mirella Yani‐de‐Soriano (Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)
Stephanie Slater (Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)

Journal of Management History

ISSN: 1751-1348

Article publication date: 25 September 2009




This paper sets out to review the business history of consumerism and to ask whether over‐consumption is leading to an unacceptable level of inappropriate social behavior that is detrimental to both society and business.


The paper reviews Peter Drucker's writings on management and explores the meaning of consumerism and how it could have led to the over‐use of marketing. The paper discusses how the word “consumerism” has evolved and brings attention to the role of the internet in consumerism. It explains why poor knowledge management strategies are presenting a new set of challenges for business. Finally, it discusses the reasons why the balance of power between businesses and consumers needs to revert to a status of equilibrium.


The paper contends that the growth of consumerism has led to the over‐use of marketing and it explains why, in twenty‐first century marketing, social responsibility should be extended to a wider group of stakeholders that includes government, businesses and consumers.

Practical implications

The “consumer is king” concept has implications for management because of the emphasis businesses have placed on their customers. The paper asks managers to review their knowledge management systems and processes. Electronic document management systems (EDMS) and business process management systems (BPMS) will protect corporations from some of the cybercrime examples discussed here.


The research reviews Drucker's work on knowledge management and asks why management continues to fail to implement appropriate knowledge‐based systems for protecting their business.



Yani‐de‐Soriano, M. and Slater, S. (2009), "Revisiting Drucker's theory: Has consumerism led to the overuse of marketing?", Journal of Management History, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 452-466.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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