There is an unavoidable asymmetry and tension, almost paradoxical, between a company and its market.
Companies thrive insofar as they can respond effectively to the wishes, needs and preferences of customers. So orientation to customers and to markets lie at the heart of commercial success. Yet customers and markets have no responsibility and little concern for the success or even survival of any particular business. So companies must first look after themselves.
The commercial paradox, balancing «concern for the company» with «concern for the market», emerges from the ethical tension between and approaches to ethical choice.
► In politics, the ethical tension is individualism v collectivism
► In personal choice, the ethical tension is self v society
► In cooperation, the ethical tension is participant v organized group
In the present setting, a company needs markets they can enter, while customers need markets to give them choices amongst products from different companies. From the company's perspective, markets can be regarded as «an open and poorly defined community of companies» + «actual and potential customers» .
When we examined the nature of choices made at each of the Stages, it was rapidly apparent that L1-L4 are all in slightly different styles, and L5-L7 are all in slightly different styles .
L1: sustain in the market.
L2: constrains in the market
L3: differentiates in the market.
L4: integrates in the market.
L5: Putting customer-relationships first sustains the market available to the company.
L6: Radical innovation constrains the market available to the company.
L7: Recognizing market potentials differentiates the market available to the company.
Because a market is a social good for both companies and customers, the community (via its government) should ensure the existence of laws (e.g. of contract, fair dealing, &c.) and regulatory authorities to protect market integrity.
Originally posted: July 2009