Journal of Historical Research in Marketing

ISSN: 1755-750X

Publication date: 26 October 2010


Jones, B. and Shapiro, S. (2010), "Editorial", Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, Vol. 2 No. 4. https://doi.org/10.1108/jhrm.2010.41202daa.001

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Article Type: Editorial From: Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, Volume 2, Issue 4

This issue completes the second year of publication for the Journal of Historical Research in Marketing (JHRM). Looking back on the first two years, JHRM has published high quality, original historical research dealing with retailing, relationship marketing, market research, advertising, consumerism, segmentation, historical methodology, and the history of marketing thought. The latter included several biographical works. The first two volumes included three special issues, one honoring the contributions to historical research in marketing by Stanley C. Hollander, and two excellent collections on retailing history, one focused on North American retailing and the other most recent issue on retailing in the UK.

Looking ahead, in February we will publish a special issue honoring the contributions to marketing thought by one of the most prolific marketing historians of the past half century – Donald F. Dixon. The upcoming May issue of JHRM will include articles about the history of Coca-Cola’s brand protection efforts, technology and the evolution of selling roles, and an article describing the “life grid” as a methodology for historical research in marketing. That May issue will also include an Explorations & Insights (E&I) section with essays on the histories of three series of important academic meetings: the American Marketing Association’s Doctoral Consortium, the Macromarketing Conference, and the Marketing Theory Seminar. The latter is a fascinating, previously unpublished account originally presented by Edmund McGarry at the 1965 Theory Seminar.

Much of the research published in JHRM during these first two years is drawn from papers presented at three important conferences: the Conference on Historical Analysis and Research in Marketing (CHARM), the Business History Conference, and the meetings of the Center for the History of Retailing and Distribution (CHORD). We are working to build our relationship with those three organizations and to provide an opportunity for publishing research originating with those conferences. In 2011, the CHARM conference will be held in New York, May 19-22. The Business History Conference is being held in St Louis, Missouri, March 31 to April 2. Several CHORD workshops will be held throughout 2011 at the University of Wolverhampton. Links to information about all these meetings can be found at the CHARM web site – www.charmassociation.org/

In this issue

This issue features research on product strategy history and on the history of marketing thought, the latter beginning with the lead article by Terrence Witkowski and including the commentaries in the E&I section about teaching the history of marketing thought. Witkowski describes the maturation of the marketing discipline during the early 1930s by critically examining marketing scholarship of that era. His detailed historical analysis of two founding academic periodicals is supplemented with an investigation into the professional biographies and associational activities of leading marketing academicians of the 1930s. Thomas Powers and Jocelyn Steward describe Alfred P. Sloan’s brilliant product policy introduced at General Motors (GM) in 1921 and how the evolution of that strategy led to GM’s decline and eventual bankruptcy in 2009. There is an interesting irony in the authors’ comparison of GM’s more recent strategy with competitors who have successfully imitated the Sloan strategy. Janice Denegri-Knott and Mark Tadajewski contribute a wonderfully detailed critical history of MP3 technology to demonstrate how its status as the digital music format of choice had nothing to do with music or with associated industries and that its configuration as a commercial consumer product was unintended.

Explorations & Insights

JHRM has a two-fold mission. We hope it will become recognized as the premier academic outlet for journal material exploring either the history of marketing thought or the history of marketing practice. At the same time, however, we hope that JHRM will also encourage the teaching of marketing history in business degree programs, whether it be at the Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctoral level. Unfortunately, there are currently far fewer courses, or even course modules, on the history of marketing thought/practice than there ought to be. However, such courses do exist and from time to time the E&I section of JHRM will familiarize readers with these offerings.

The pedagogical focus of this E&I is on the role of history in the teaching of marketing thought as demonstrated in three contemporary course offerings. The first of the courses in question is offered at the Doctoral level by Shelby Hunt of Texas Tech University, indisputably a world leader, many would say “the” world leader, in the marketing thought/marketing theory area. Dr Hunt’s article pays particular attention to the many uses of history in teaching marketing theory.

Unfortunately, very few course offerings similar to Hunt’s are to be found at the Doctoral level and even fewer at the Master’s level. However, in her E&I commentary, Christine Domegan of the National University of Ireland describes both the current role of marketing history in her Master’s level Marketing Theory seminar and how that role has changed as the course evolved.

Lastly, Ben Wooliscroft and Rob Lawson, both of the University of Otago, New Zealand, discuss in some detail the historical dimension of their Marketing Theory course, a course taught to a mix of students ranging from fourth year Honors BBA candidates to those pursuing a Doctorate in Marketing. They focus on how students respond to a course very different, both in content and in intent, from every other marketing course they had studied.

JHRM readers should find these three articles both interesting in their own right and especially useful in providing examples of readings and exercises they might wish to incorporate into their own course offerings. Individuals interested in this topic can also look forward to the next issue of JHRM, one focusing on the academic contributions and intellectual legacy of Donald F. Dixon.

Brian Jones, Stanley Shapiro