Sustainability marketing. The need for a realistic whole systems approach
Sustainability marketing addresses market-related issues that threaten quality of life. While its major research strands belong to the same research domain, its theoretically fragmented approach hinders the field’s ability to successfully address the systemic nature of sustainability issues. To help remedy this situation, this paper positions critical realism as a metatheoretical framework to integrate, bridge and extend the sustainability marketing field. It argues critical realism’s ontological approach can reconcile the field’s fragmented approach as well as generate systemic insights into the multiscalar, interdependent, emergent and non-linear issues caused by marketing systems. As such, this realist contribution provides an inclusive metatheoretical foundation to deliver a more realistic whole systems approach. This would enable sustainable marketing to generate systemic theories of change to both understand and potentially emancipate society from its unsustainable trajectories.
Citation:Thomas, N.J.R. (2018) Sustainability marketing. The need for a realistic whole systems approach. Journal of Marketing Management, 34 (17-18), pp. 1530-1556