When the Commons call “Enough”, Does Marketing Have an Answer?

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Macromarketing, 2017, 37, (3), pp. 268-285
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How we use, or do not use our natural resources is a question that has been debated for millennia. Still an answer remains out of reach. It is a complex issue that often involves a social dilemma known as “the tragedy of the commons”. Many common pool resources, from fish stocks, to forests, to natural tourism destinations have an associated marketing system that may place pressure on the resource. If poorly managed, the resources sustainable future is questionable. This paper explains how commons and strategic action field theory can enhance a macromarketing analysis of marketing systems that involve a common pool resource (CPR) pointing to potential responses and solutions. The unique challenges faced are discussed, particularly in the interdependent areas of: property rights, power and equitable distribution. The findings from an empirical application confirm that CPRs destabilise a marketing system. Solutions may be found in the way the issue is negotiated, how the rules are structured and the perspective from which the issue is considered.
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