Lamont, L.M. and Friedman, K. "Meeting the Challenges to Undergraduate
Marketing Education", Journal of Marketing Education, 19:3, Fall 1997, 17-30.
Reviewed by Art Madsen, M.Ed.
This journal article is an international collaboration researched and written by a professor of management in Virginia and another, specializing in leadership and strategic design, at the Norwegian School of Management in Oslo. It could be considered an "omnibus" article since it touches on all major sub-divisions and emphases found within the discipline of Marketing Education. Their topics cover new, innovative thinking in learning theory, technological advances, the internationalization of business, curriculum adjustments, the inclusion of new trends in marketing, and even how to encourage change within the teaching faculty.
A rapid glance at Lamont and Friedman's contribution to the field indicates that the authors have approached their subject in a theoretical and conceptual manner without compiling statistics or relying on identifiable, empirical data. Their reference section is impressive and includes 58 sources drawn from European and North American professional journals. Not a single Asian or Third World source seems to be cited, indicating, in all probability, that contemporary thinking in the field of Marketing Education is centered in the major academic centers of the "western world."
Careful analysis of the cited article reveals that, because the dynamics of global marketing are fluctuating, the authors stress the need to re-adapt marketing curriculum at the undergraduate level to accommodate these changes and to meet the increasingly demanding requirements of employers. The article highlights, in its opening paragraphs, the powerful forces which are leading to the absolute necessity to reform marketing education, and thus sets the foundation for the suggestions and observations to follow.
Almost as fundamental as a see-saw, the article notes that student learning patterns must change and, insofar as faculty is concerned, their teaching methods, lesson content and instructional approaches must also be adapted to new demands in 'marketing beyond the classroom'. The ever-changing employment market must be understood, as must the shifting characteristics of competition. With the globalization of product availability via the Internet and other technologies, revolutionary new approaches in the marketing classrooms of U.S. and European Universities must be implemented. Personal fulfillment in student careers later on, and overall success, based on the realities of marketing, should be the primary targets or goals of new curriculum materials, the article points out.
It would be safe to assert that this article's authors do not merely discuss the abstract parameters of "change", however. They refer to the learning theories put forward by Kolb (1994) and mention the experiential models offered by other noted academics in marketing, such as Cunningham and Ronchetto (1995, 1992). They describe identifiable content strategies that must be inserted into existing curricula, such as classroom discussion of multi-media tools, and go on to explain how to "track purchase behavior" among consumers, a concept that can be included in instructional materials.
Further, the article addresses the resurgence of decentralization of business, in general, and describes how this phenomenon will necessitate a re-prioritizing of subject matter at the undergraduate level. Under a major heading, the authors speak of a "new focus" in marketing and emphasize the colossal impact which the cyber-world will have on promotion of products, and indirectly, therefore, on marketing education strategies. There will be an amalgamation of cultures, they note, and products will simply fuse into a global arena. Students need to be told how all of this will affect their career options and study patterns.
As might be expected in an article coming from Virginia and Norway, the authors devote a tremendous amount of space to the global aspects of business and extrapolate what they've observed 'outside of education' into the field of education itself. They speak in terms of unifying and standardizing a new curriculum for marketing students throughout (we infer) the western world. In this article, it seems to the reader that 'everything that needs to be said is said': foreign languages, sociology, trade paradigms. All of this and more must be assimilated by tomorrow's marketers and businessmen.
Faculty must serve as dynamic leaders and become "champions" of new developments affecting their curricula and course syllabi. Professors, the authors conclude, need to strategize and brainstorm a "vision" or a single thematic direction and then devote their energies toward pursuing it, especially if it's something new, innovative and useful to the constantly changing business and marketing environment.
Without a doubt, although the authors fail to provide substantive data on change within the fields of marketing and marketing education, they certainly sweep across the entire horizon of these two fields in this all-encompassing article and suggest a few directions which marketing educators would be well advised to take.