Towards "reconstructing" marketing: An empirical investigation of industrial buyer-salesman relationships.

  • Annie Pye

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


At heart, the research is a micro-level study of buyer-salesman relationships although this is neither where it started nor ended. It began as "an examination of sales aid leasing and it's implications for the marketing of industrial goods" and ended as a "reconstruction" of marketing through an analysis of buying and selling as social relationships. Much of the direction and impetus of the research was generated by a critical stance adopted towards the marketing research literature and its methodological assumptions. Together with early explorations of the practices of marketing and leasing, this led to the foundations of a field study which sought to understand what it is which characterises buying and selling. It was an intensive empirical investigation of an industrial salesteam and their buyers, as they engaged in the social activity called 'marketing', which for some is 'selling' and for others, 'buying'. From this basis, the thesis sought to recreate a vivid understanding of what took place between a number of industrial buyers and salesmen in the context of their daily work. Out of a wealth of qualitative data, an analytical framework developed in which social relationships, identities and negotiation were central conceptual themes, together with the underlying notion of social irony. In terms of marketing research, the project contributes a new frame: a new perspective by which to understand industrial buying and selling. It also provides an important conceptual framework within which pre-existent marketing concepts can be relocated. The depth of empirical detail ensures that the conceptualisations developed closely parallel the practice of marketing. In addition, this leads to some important questions of practical relevance raised through this thesis. The notion of a "reconstruction" of marketing poses a range of challenges to future researchers.
Date of Award1984
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath

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