Marketing and compromising for sustainability: green chemistry, regulation and competing orders of worth in the North Atlantic

Finch, J. , Geiger, S. and Harkness, R. (2017) Marketing and compromising for sustainability: green chemistry, regulation and competing orders of worth in the North Atlantic. Marketing Theory, 17(1), pp. 71-93. (doi: 10.1177/1470593116657924)

119819.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.



The purpose of our paper is to propose that compromising is a constitutive characteristic of those marketing systems that entail matters of public interest or concern. In such markets, actors design compromises as they encounter criticisms of and contending justifications for the market’s products, as these refer to price, efficiency in production and use, regulatory compliance, or ecological sustainability. Tests and justifications are vital in order to determine what is valuable and by which measure. As a theory framework, the economic sociology of conventions (Boltanski and Thévenot, 2006) provides a basis for assessing these contests, compromises and justifications over the issue of worth in a marketing context. Through an ethnographic study of the regulated activities of chemicals service companies supporting the upstream petroleum industry, we assess how actors evaluate and justify the market’s products and services in this environmentally sensitive setting by means of tests drawing from different orders of worth: the green, the industrial and the market order. Our contributions show that by artful and pragmatic compromising around exchanges, actors in marketing systems can balance several conflicting orders of worth over the question of worth without needing to converge on an overriding institutional logic.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Finch, Professor John
Authors: Finch, J., Geiger, S., and Harkness, R.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:Marketing Theory
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1741-301X
Published Online:31 July 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Authors
First Published:First published in Marketing Theory 17(1): 71-93
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record

Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
621421Sorting Goods from BadsJohn FinchLeverhulme Trust (LEVERHULME)F/00 273/NBUS - MANAGEMENT