Abstract: Historiography in Marketing: Its Growth, Structure of Inquiry, and Disciplinary Status

Terrence H. Witkowski and D. G. Brian Jones


In this essay, we approach historiography in marketing from two perspectives: first, as a body of literature and second, as a specific model of research methods and narrative writing employed by marketing scholars. The marketing discipline emerged in the early twentieth century, strongly influenced by German historical economics. Marketing academics have published historical studies in marketing journals since the 1930s; during the past twenty-five years, associational activities have greatly stimulated the growth of the literature, although it remains less developed than history subfields in accountancy, management, business, and economics. Authors publishing historical studies in mainstream marketing journals have sometimes had to adapt to structures of intellectual inquiry that favor explicit literature reviews, data borrowing, multiple types of primary sources, and transparency in research methods. We conclude that marketing historiography is a legitimate discipline in its own right and discuss future challenges.

BEH On-Line Paper