Insights from ecology: An ecotone perspective of marketing

Gerard P PRENDERGAST, Pierre Berthon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Defining marketing's role within today's organization is often difficult and frustrating. The literature is equivocal: there is no universally accepted definition of marketing, no consensus on where the boundaries of the marketing function should lie, and no single theory of marketing [Carson, D. and McCartan-Quinn, D. (1994) Non-practice of theoretically based marketing in small business - issues arising and their implications. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice Fall, 24-32]. Historically, marketing has had a functional responsibility. Many authors now argue that marketing is moving away from being a function and towards being an organizational culture or belief - a value system or philosophy that permeates all functions and levels within the organization. The problem, however, is that no model exists to facilitate our understanding of marketing in transition. To solve this problem this article turns to ecology, in particular the concept of ecotone. An ecotone is a zone of transition between two ecosystems. In this paper we argue that ecotones offer an insightful metaphor to explore marketing in transition. Specifically, understanding the form and management of ecotones can offer insights into the form and management of marketing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-232
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Management Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2000

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Strategy and Management


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