European Journal of Marketing
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide an ethical foundation for relationship marketing using a virtue ethics approach.
Design/methodology/approach – The approach is a conceptual one providing a background on relationship marketing from both American and European perspectives. Earlier studies published in EJM on relationship marketing are featured in a table.
Findings – The proposed ethical relationship marketing approach has three stages (establishing, sustaining and reinforcing) that are paired with specific virtues (trust, commitment and diligence). These and other facilitating virtues are shown in a figure.
Research limitations/implications – The model and its components have yet to be tested empirically. Some strategies for undertaking such research are discussed.
Practical implications – Several European and American companies that currently practice ethical relationship marketing are discussed.
Originality/value – Although relationship marketing has been studied for a number of years by many scholars, the ethical basis of it has not been thoroughly examined in any previous work.