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Positivism and Christian Approaches

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Case for Discussion

Grimes Corporation (GC) is a large conglomerate that owns both the FoodTime grocery store chain and Primo TV, a regional cable station. For several year product bar coding has enabled FoodTime to target mail advertisements to customers based on their purchases.
GC now wants to take technology a step further. It proposes to target FoodTime customers through Primo TV ads. These ads would be tailored to each household based on its FoodTime purchases and other information GC is able to obtain. Advertisers who want to sell their products or services would be charged for this service. For example, if a customer buys lots of diet food and GC discovers through other sources that the customer belongs to a weight-loss club, select companies would be sold airtime to market their chocolate and pizza products directly into the home between 8:00 and 10:00 p.m. Or if the customer belongs to Alcoholics Anonymous, beer and wine manufacturers might want to purchase airtime to show their ads. Customers are unaware of this marketing tactic. Presume that no law yet prevents GC from pursuing this marketing strategy.

1. How would positivism analyze this case?
2. How would an integrated Christian approach analyze this case?
3. What are your personal feelings about this marketing practice?

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Solution Preview

1. How would positivism analyze this case?

Positivism refers to a philosophical system that holds that every justifiable scientific assertion should be observed and verified. In other words scientific facts should be based strictly on that which existed. The positivist' goal was focused on explanation and prediction; and thus emphasized casual inferences. The objective of positivism was to explain how elements of reality through science could uncover casual laws that explained how things functioned. However, according to Hunt (1991), many misconceptions were held regarding positivism. Therefore, any research guided by positivism would necessarily avoid the search for real causes, because Positivism rejected causality as they viewed causal laws as that which could not be observed, and metaphysical phenomena that violated the Humean concept. For Hume, a positivist, if a scientist observed a phenomenon that occurs regularly; it had nothing to do with causes; but assumes a relationship existed between the phenomenon and regularity (p. 34).

In the field of marketing, and in society, reification, or concepts of reality extends to western society associated with capitalism. As Hunt (1991) explains, the Western society and science assume that societal institutions have an existence that is separate from the people that produce the societies Transformed to marketing strategies, the belief is held that societal institutions have a causal power to determine how humans behave,
On this basis market characteristics, such as competition, competitor consumer behavior, product buying or buying behavior can be observed. Thus, a positivist' influence can be stated to be associated with marketing practices or research.

2. How would an integrated Christian approach analyze this case?

A Christian philosophy is ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses positivist and Christian approaches to marketplace and advertising strategies