Critically divided? How marketing educators perceive undergraduate programmes in the UK

A. Tregear, Mary Brennan, S. Dobson, S. Kuznesof

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – “Theory versus practice” and “rigour versus relevance” debates have long been a feature of the discipline of marketing, not least within the sub-field of marketing education, where authors have increasingly called for the adoption of more critical approaches as a means to enhance undergraduate degrees. To date, however, little is actually known about how undergraduate programmes are perceived by those who deliver them. The aim of this research is to investigate educators' views of the primary purpose of undergraduate degrees, and their perceptions and experiences of critical approaches.

Design/methodology/approach – A series of 23 exploratory interviews was conducted, followed by a national survey of UK marketing educators. For the main phase of data analysis, multivariate techniques were employed.

Findings – Respondents generally agreed that intellectual rigour is a priority in marketing education. However, significant differences in opinion were identified on the extent to which degrees actually provide this, the extent to which students should be treated as customers, and whether curricula should be driven by industry. In terms of critical approaches, the majority of staff rated such approaches as important to undergraduate programmes, and most had introduced at least one type in their own teaching. There were no significant differences in ratings and experiences of critical approaches between those respondents who emphasised industry relevance in marketing education and the rest.

Originality/value – The divergence of views revealed by the research raises important questions about how marketing is currently positioned to different stakeholders, and how the discipline may evolve in future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-86
Number of pages21
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Issue number1/2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Critical thinking
  • Education
  • Marketing
  • Marketing theory


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