Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility in Marketing Communications

Journal Articles

The first three articles have been provided open access. Some links require journal subscription access which may be available through your university.

Bush, V.D., Korthage Smith, R. and Bush, A.J. (2013), Ethical dilemmas and emergent values encountered by working college students: implications for marketing educators, Journal of Marketing Education, Vol. 35, No. 23, pp.107–118.

This article is about entry-level, frontline employee positions and ethical dilemmas as opposed to the upper-level manager and CEO level positions with respect to ethics education and training. Its aim is to contribute to an area where there is a paucity of research, especially since many college students work while studying. The article considers ethical decision-making models and corporate ethical values. This piece of qualitative research concludes that working college students are faced with a plethora of ethical dilemmas even before they graduate and that they seek guidance from their managers and co-workers rather than within their academic context. The article therefore reveals a pedagogic opportunity in terms of programme development in order to bridge this divide.


Campelo, A., Aitken, R. and Gnoth, J. (2011), Visual rhetoric and ethics in marketing of destinations, Journal of Travel Research, Vol. 50, No.1, pp. 3–14.

This article is about the visual rhetoric of advertising within destination marketing and branding. The study is naturally concerned with the ways in which advertising creates and reinforces meaning, especially in terms of people and place representation. The context is New Zealand (the 100% New Zealand campaign) and the purpose is to discuss the ethics involved in this kind of representation, which also involves communities and culture. The authors call for a theory of visual rhetoric that is concerned with ideological and ethical rather than simply systemic and operational issues.


Donoho, C., Heinze, T. and Kondo, C. (2012), Gender differences in personal selling ethics evaluations: Do they exist and what does their existence mean for teaching sales ethics?, Journal of Marketing Education, Vol. 34, No.1, pp. 55–66.

This article is about the divergence between men and women when facing ethical sales dilemmas. The study measures the impact of idealism and relativism on sales ethics evaluations of both men and women and suggests that it is women who see sales scenarios as less ethical than men. These findings have meaning for sales educators with respect to moral idealism which can, if necessary, be supplemented by the use of cognitive moral development frameworks. 


Golding, K.M. (2009), Fair trade’s dual aspect: the communications challenge of fair trade marketing, Journal of Macromarketing, Vol. 29, No. 2, pp.160–171.

This article is about communications strategies and sustainable consumption in the context of whether this can be achieved within the existing social paradigm or whether a new paradigm is needed. The article involves the Divine Chocolate Company and its campaign that transcended the polarisation of radical and pragmatic visions of Fairtrade whereby the synergism achieved and what this might mean for other sustainable consumption contexts.


Kendrick, A., Fullerton, J A. and Kim, Y.J. (2013), Social responsibility in advertising: a marketing communications student perspective, Journal of Marketing Education, Vol. 35, No. 2, pp.141–154.

This article is about the role advertising has played in promoting social responsibility but also about social responsibility in advertising. In this study marketing students were asked for their take on corporate social responsibility. The authors suggest that the respondents have ‘message myopia’ with many other ethical and social responsibility issues being neglected and that there is a role for educators in this area of activity.