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Title: Selection by consequences and the marketing firm
Author: Vella, Kevin James
ISNI:       0000 0004 5368 168X
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2015
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The research operationalizes the Darwinian meta-principle Selection by Consequences to conduct an empirical investigation. The project originates from a concern to understand the distal reasons why many of the marketing practices adopted by Wall’s appear to have persisted relatively unchanged for several decades and to have consistently conferred advantage to allow this manufacturer to dominate the UK ice cream market since before WWII. Central to Selection by Consequences is the claim that socio-cultural practices evolve through a process similar to biological natural selection and analogous to operant conditioning. The aim of the research is to assess and evaluate the empirical validity of this latter claim. A review of the literature suggests three pressing obstacles immediately barring the project, namely, relative incompleteness of the natural selection-operant conditioning analogy, methodological issues when applying operant principles (uncovered scientifically within experimental laboratories) to frame corporate market practices in the real world, and, insufficiency of these principles to account for the idiosyncrasies of the economic behaviour of organisations. The Marketing Firm provides the theoretical underpinning of this research because it begins to tackle the latter problems. After addressing these issues, the research interprets qualitative evidence narrating a 1979 investigation into the strategic practices of Wall’s conducted by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission. The inquiry is designed as a qualitative longitudinal case study. Generally, the evidence upholds the operant conditioning characterisation. However, several theoretical elaborations and empirically grounded refinements must be taken into account. Future research is directed towards further clarification and testing the analogy to destruction. As its primary original contribution, the research generates the first empirical study wherein Selection by Consequences is operationalized to produce an operant account of the evolutionary selection of marketing practices. The study also contributes by suggesting means to demonstrate, albeit qualitatively, processes typically identified through experimental methods and quantitative data.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: H Social Sciences (General)