Responsible Marketing Research Group

The Responsible Marketing Research Group at Birmingham Business School aims to lead the academic development of knowledge of the subject, to contribute to the learning curriculum and reach out to those interested in improving marketing practices and standards. 

The topic is very broad and covers many different subjects and methods of research. Research by members of our team covers areas of employee attitudes to responsibility, managerial and B2B ethics, responsible marketing and technology, consumer responsibility, marketing sustainability, base of the pyramid (BoP) marketing, market access and diversity, corporate social responsibility (CSR), marketing’s contribution to social and environmental elements of the ‘triple bottom line’ and responsible marketing education.

We have close connections with many research organizations including Lloyd’s Centre for Responsible Business, UK Academy of Marketing, Chartered Institute of Marketing, American Marketing Association and European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management. Members of the group have been awarded major research grants from the British Academy, ESRC, EPSRC, EU Socrates and Marie-Curie programmes. Members of the group have organized or contributed to seminars and conferences on responsible marketing topics and engage with business and governments organizations. Others are active in print, broadcast and social media giving expert opinions on current issues. 

Current research projects by members of the group examine stakeholder theory and stakeholder value, ethical consumerism and sustainable consumption, strategic drivers of corporate social responsibility, deception in marketing, marketing ethics, food marketing and healthy eating, consumer confusion, social marketing and behaviour change interventions, consumers’ knowledge of CSR policies and actions, unethical practices in advertising. Collective activities by the group include organising research workshops, public seminars, grant applications, and writing an edited book which defines and scopes the field of responsible marketing. 

If you are interested in finding out more, please get in touch with the Group Coordinator, Prof Michael Saren. If you are considering studying for a PhD in these research areas or related topics please contact our PhD Pathway Director, Dr Finola Kerrigan (


Responsible Consumer Behaviour 

Szmigin, I. and Gee, Veronica (2017) ‘Mystification and Obfuscation in portion sizes in UK food products’ Journal of Business Research. (available online 

Leek, S., Szmigin I. and Baker E., (2015) Consumer Confusion and Front Of Pack (FOP) Nutritional Labels. Journal of Customer Behaviour, 14, 1, 49-61.

Smith, C N,Goldstein D G and Johnson EJ (2013) “Choice Without Awareness: Ethical and Policy Implications of Defaults” Journal of Public Policy & Marketing 32 (2), 2013, 159-172.

He, Hongwei and Harris LC (2014), “Moral Disengagement of Consumer Revenge to Service Failure: Moral Identity, Moral Awareness, and Anger”, Annals of Tourism Research, 45, pp. 132-151.

Forbes, S., Robertson, K., & Lawson, R. (2013). Source Gender of health information: Does it matter? European Advances in Consumer Research. 10, 104-110.

Harris, L C. and Daunt, K (2013), “Managing Customer Misbehavior: Challenges and Strategies”, Journal of Services Marketing, 27, 4, pp. 281-293.

Szmigin, I and O’Loughlin, D. (2010) Students and the Consumer Credit Market: Towards a Social Policy Agenda, Social Policy and Administration, 44, 5, 598-619. 

Marketing Access and Diversity

Harris L C. and Ogbonna E, “Ethnic Gatekeeping on the Shopfloor: A Study of Bases, Motives and Approaches”, Work, Employment and Society (forthcoming).

Harris L C. and OgbonnaE (2013), “Employee Negative Word-of-Mouth: A Study of Front-Line Workers”, Employee Relations, 35, 1, pp. 39-60

Medlin C and Saren M.  (2013) ‘Interaction Asymmetry Implications for Relationship Marketing’ 21st International Colloquium on Relationship Marketing, Grand Ecole Rennes, France September 2013

Saren M and Goulding C (2013) ‘Tribal Marketing: Controlling or Controlled by Consumers?’ 8th Interpretative Consumer Research Workshop, Brussels, March 2013

Szmigin, I., Carrigan, M. and O’Loughlin, D. (2007) Integrating Ethical Brands into our Consumption Lives, Journal of Brand Management ,14, (5) 396-409

Responsible Business Education

Smith, C N and Ronnegard D (2014) “Shareholder Primacy, Corporate Social Responsibility and the Role of Business Schools” Journal of Business Ethics(online first: DOI: 10.1007/s10551-014-2427-x

Saren M (2010) Business schools and economic crisis: we are all critical now: but critique of what, for whom? International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy, 4 (1): 28-34

Smith, C N and Lenssen G (2009) Mainstreaming Corporate Responsibility Chichester: Wiley

Marketing Responsibility and Technology

Manika, D., Gregory-Smith, D. & Antonetti, P. (2017) – “Pride in health-related technological interventions: A double-edged sword”, Psychology & Marketing, 34, 410–427, special issue “Technological Impacts on Market Attitudes and Behaviors”. DOI: 10.1002/mar.20997

Saren M (2016) ‘Deus ex Machina: Exploring the Ethics of NewTechnology in Marketing’ paper presentation at the41st Macromarketing Conference, 12-15 July 2016 Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Saren M (2011) Marketing Empowerment and Exclusion in the Information Age. Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 29 (1)1: 39-48

Marketing Sustainability and the Environment

Smith, C N and Lenssen G Managing the Sustainable Enterprise  Springer (forthcoming).

Gregory-Smith, D., Manika, D., & Liu, P. (2017). “Green intentions under the blue flag: Exploring differences in EU consumers’ willingness to pay more for green products”, Business Ethics: A European Review. DOI: 10.1111/beer.12151

Gregory-Smith, D., Manika, D., Wells, V. & Veitch, T. (2017) – “Examining the effect of an environmental social marketing intervention among university employees”. Journal: Studies in Higher Education. DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2017.1309647

Gregory-Smith, D., Wells, V., Manika, D. & Mcleroy, D. (2017) – “An environmental social marketing intervention in cultural heritage tourism: A realist evaluation”, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 25(7), 1042-1059, special issue “Marketing Issues in Sustainable Tourism”. 

Carrigan, M., Lazell, J., Bosangit, C., & Magrizos, S. (2017). Burgers for tourists who give a damn! Driving disruptive social change upstream and downstream in the tourist food supply chain. Journal of Sustainable Tourism.

Members of the Responsible Marketing Research Group

Group Lead

Professor Michael Saren

Visiting Professor of Marketing


Professor Saren has published articles in many academic management journals in the UK, Europe, Australia and the USA. He has a recent textbook introducing the theory and practice marketing as a cultural as well as an economic activity entitled ‘Marketing Graffiti’ (Routledge, 2018). In recent years his research has focused on the Development of Marketing Theory, particularly marketing knowledge, consumer culture and marketing responsibility. In recognition of his contribution to the field in 2007 he was awardedan Honorary Fellowship and Lifetime Membership of the UK Academy of Marketing.

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Jo Bates 

Lecturer in Marketing

Jo Bates is a Lecturer in the Department of Marketing and is responsible for the development of materials for UK and overseas programmes (both UG and PG) in the Business School.

As well as delivering marketing modules within the school, Jo works closely with the ‘Educational Enterprise Dubai Team’ to develop on-line learning resources (including support materials) and ensure that there is appropriate academic input and representation for all programmes delivered in Dubai, where teaching will begin in September 2018. 

Jo Bates

Dr. Sarah Forbes 

Lecturer in Marketing

Telephone: +44 (0)121 414 3456

Sarah’s research interests are focused in the area of Social Marketing and specifically the efforts related to physical activity and alcohol consumption. For example, Sarah has researched topics ranging from how an individual is classified as sufficiently active to help with the identification of receptive insufficiently active individuals, to a students’ ability to recall units of alcohol consumption. Each research project Sarah pursues is driven to understand more about how to inform and aid an individual’s voluntary behaviour change. 

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Sarah Forbes

Professor Lloyd Harris

Professor of Marketing

Telephone: +44 (0)121 415 5382

Professor Lloyd C. Harris is a Professor of Marketing and Head of the Department of Marketing at Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham. Previously, he was Head of Marketing and Professor of Marketing at Warwick Business School and the Sir Julian Hodge Chair in Strategic Marketing at Cardiff Business School. He holds both a Ph.D. from Cardiff University and a D.Sc. from Warwick University.

Research results have been disseminated via a range of marketing, strategy, H.R.M. and general management journals. He has published widely in these fields and has published over one hundred pieces.

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Lloyd C Harris

Dr. Finola Kerrigan 

Reader in Marketing and Consumption

Telephone: +44 (0)121 414 5658

Finola joined the Business School from King’s College London in September 2013. Finola's research is in the field of marketing, specifically marketing within the arts and cultural industries. To date this research has focused on production and consumption issues in film and the visual arts, topics related to social media and branding. Finola is also interested in the social role of the arts and subsequently organised an ESRC funded seminar on Social Arts Marketing as part of the 'Rethinking Arts Marketing' Seminar series. 

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Dr. Sheena Leek

Senior Lecturer in Marketing

Telephone: +44 (0)121 414 6226

Sheena joined the Birmingham Business School from the University of Cardiff in September 2004. In the area of business to business marketing she is interested in the role of information technology on communication within business relationships, the role of social capital in initiating relationships and branding. Within consumer behaviour her research interests include consumer confusion in high tech areas such as the mobile phone industry and convenience and healthy eating.

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Sheena Leek

Dr. Solon Magrizos 

Lecturer in Marketing

Telephone: +44 (0)121 414 8329

Dr Solon Magrizos is a Lecturer in Marketing at the University of Birmingham. Prior to this post, he was a post-doctorate researcher in the Centre for Business in Society of Coventry University and he also holds a PhD from Athens University of Economics and Business.

His main research interests surround issues related to ethical companies and ethical consumers. Specifically, he is interested in broader issues around Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) implementation and its link to the firms’ business benefits, with a focus on SMEs and Social Enterprises. He also researches the perceptions and reactions of consumers to firms’ CSR initiatives.

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Solon Magrizos

Professor Craig Smith 

Visiting Professor


Craig is a Visiting Professor in the Department of Marketing. He is the INSEAD Chair in Ethics and Social Responsibility at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France. Previously he was on the faculties of the London Business School, Georgetown University and Harvard Business School.

His current research projects examine stakeholder theory and stakeholder value, ethical consumerism and sustainable consumption, strategic drivers of corporate social responsibility, deception in marketing, marketing ethics.

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Craig N Smith

Professor Isabelle Szmigin  

Deputy Dean of Birmingham Business School, Director of Research and Knowledge Transfer, Professor of Marketing

Telephone: +44 (0)121 415 7357
Twitter: @IsabelleSzmigin

Isabelle Szmigin has published in a wide range of academic journals including Sociology, Psychology and Marketing, The European Journal of Marketing, and the Journal of Business Research. She is on the editorial advisory board of the International Marketing Review, and the editorial board of the European Journal of Marketing and the Journal of Advertising Research. 

Her research interests lie in the area of conceptualising consumer behaviour and understanding the social and policy issues concerned with consumption. Isabelle has held ESRC and British Academy Grants and is currently Principle Investigator on a European Foundation for Alcohol Research examining Lifestyle, social media and alcohol consumption. She is also Co-Investigator on an Alcohol Research UK Grant looking at Alcohol marketing to young people via social media and its implication for advertising codes of practice

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Isabelle Szmigin

If you require any further information on the group or would like to find out more about our research interests please email the group lead, Professor Michael Saren.

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