Professor Michael Arthur John Saren

Professor Michael Arthur John Saren

Department of Marketing
Visiting Professor of Marketing

Contact details

Room 151, University House
Birmingham Business School
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham
B15 2TT

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.


  • PhD Management University of Bath
  • BA Economics Heriot-Watt University


As well as a visiting professor at Birmingham, Michael Saren also holds a professorship of marketing at Leicester University, where he was head of the marketing division 2004-2014. He previously held chairs in marketing at Stirling University where he was head of department of marketing and at Strathclyde as well as an honorary professorship at St Andrews University.  He was a member of Academic Senate of the Chartered Institute of Marketing 2004-10 and awarded an Honorary Fellowship and Lifetime Membership of the UK Academy of Marketing in July 2007   He was also a   special advisor to the UK-wide Research Assessment Exercise in 2001 on relationship marketing and consumer theory and twice elected and served as UK representative on the executive committee of the European Academy of Marketing, 2003-9. In  addition to supervising and examining  numerous PhDs, in  recent  years Professor Saren  has been an  external assessor for chairs in marketing at the universities of Surrey, East Anglia, Loughborough, Exeter, NUI Galway, Royal  Holloway,  Queen Mary, University of London,  Birmingham, Open University, Nottingham, Warwick, and Stockholm University.

His research interests originated in the area of the Marketing and Management of Technology. In   recent   years however, he has become more interested in the Development of Marketing Theory, particularly regarding marketing knowledge, consumer culture and issues of marketing responsibility.  In order to promote the theoretical aspects of the discipline, he was one of the founding editors in 2000 of the  journal Marketing Theory (Sage Publications) and co-editor of Rethinking Marketing (1999, Sage) and author of Marketing Graffiti (2006, 2017, Routledge). He publishes in journals such as International Journal of Research in Marketing, International Marketing Review, Consumption, Markets & Culture, Service Industries Journal, and Advances in Consumer Research, Journal of Macromarketing, Journal of Management Studies, Annals of Tourism Research, European Journal of Marketing and the British Journal of Management. He was the winner along with Norah Campbell and Aidan O’Driscoll of the Robert S Fisk Best Conference Paper Award at the 2012 Macromarketing Conference, Frei University of Berlin. 

Doctoral research

PhD title
PhD in Management, University of Bath:  ‘Characteristics  of the Innovating Firm’


Shortly after joining the University Professor Saren set up and leads the Responsible Marketing group in December 2017 which brings together the research activities of 12 staff members in one of four research groups in the department of Marketing. The objective is for the Birmingham research group to lead the academic development of knowledge of the subject, to contribute to the learning curriculum, and to become closely involved with those outside the university interested in improving marketing practices.  Members of the group already contribute to seminars and conferences on responsible marketing topics and engaged with practitioners, businesses and third sector organizations.  This topic fits closely with the formation of Lloyd’s Centre for Responsible Business at Birmingham and also builds r department members’ existing research links with the UK Academy of Marketing, Chartered Institute of Marketing, the American Marketing Association and European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management. There are several internal and external events and invited speakers planned and the group is submitting a collective book proposal to leading business publishers as well as working on a number of research grant applications by members of the group on responsible business topics.


Selected Publications: Books, Chapters and Monographs

Saren, M (2018) Marketing Graffiti 2nd edn: The Writing on the Wall, Routledge, Oxford 

Baker, M and Saren M (eds) (2016) Marketing Theory: A Student Text 3rd edn, Sage Publications, London

Saren M (2015) ‘Consumers and Marketing’ in Beech N and Gilmore C (Eds) Organising Music: Theory, Practice, Performance, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 114-126

Earley A and Saren M (2015) ‘Theorizing the Politics and Ethics of Marketing’ in Pullen, A., and Rhodes, C. (Eds) The Routledge Companion to Ethics, Politics and Organizations, Routledge: London (forthcoming)

Saren, M (2013) ‘Christian Grönroos: Architect of Truth’ in Ballantyne, D (Ed) Thought Leaders in Marketing: The Contribution of Christian Grönroos. Sage Publications, London: 21-30

Stewart, D and Saren, M (2014) The Marketing Pathfinder: Key Concepts and Cases for Marketing Strategy and Decision Making.   Wiley, Chichester

Medlin C and Saren M (2012) ‘Interaction: Coherence for a Future’ in Business to Business Marketing,  Glynn and Woodside (eds)  Advances in Business Marketing & Purchasing Vol 18, Emerald Books, Bingley UK: 175-192

Saren M (2011)  ‘Critical Underpinnings of Marketing Theory ’ in The Sage Handbook of Social Marketing, Hastings G (ed) Sage Publications, London: 95-106

Ellis, N, J Fitchett, M Higgins, G Jack, M Lim, M Saren and M Tadajewski (2011) Marketing: A Critical Textbook, Sage Publications, London

Maclaran P, Saren M, Stern, B and Tadajewski M (2010) The Sage Handbook of Marketing Theory, Sage Publications, London

Baker, M and Saren M (2010) Marketing Theory: A Student Text, Sage Publications, London

Saren M (2007) ‘The Obscure Subject of Consumer Identity’ in Exploring Identity; Concepts and Methods, Pullen A, Beech N and Sims D,  (eds), Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke: pp11-25

Saren M,  Maclaran P, Goulding, Elliot, Catterell and Shanker (2007) Critical Marketing: Defining the Field, Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford

Maclaran P, Saren M and Tadajewski M (2007)  Marketing Theory, Volumes I, II & III, Sage Library in Marketing Series, Sage Publications, London, 2007

Brodie R, Saren M and J Pels (2006) ‘From Goods- toward Service Centered Marketing: Dangerous Dichotomy or an Emerging Dominant Logic?’ in The Service Dominant Logic of Marketing: Dialog, Debate and Directions, R F. Lusch, and Stephen L. Vargo, (eds) M.E. Sharpe, Armonk, NY

Selected Publications: Refereed Journal Articles

Goulding, C, Saren, M and Pressey, A (2018) 'Presence' and 'Absence' in Themed Heritage  Annals of Tourism Research (forthcoming)


Goworek, H, Land, C Burt, G, Zundel, M, Saren, M, Parker, M and Lambe, B (2018) Scaling Sustainability: Regulation and Resilience in Managerial Responses to Climate Change. British Journal of Management 29(2) 209-219

Dey BL, Balmer JMT, Pandit A, Saren M and Binsardi B (2017) A quadripartite approach to analysing young British South Asian adults’ dual cultural identity. Journal of Marketing Management 33(7-8):221-238

Kisali, H, Kavaratis, M, Saren M (2017) Rethinking Destination Image Formation. International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research 10(1): 70-80

Goulding C and Saren M (2016) Transformation, Transcendence and Temporality in Theatrical Consumption, Journal of Business Research 69(1) (ABS3)

Saren, M (2015) Buy Buy Miss American Pie: The Day the Consumer Died. Marketing Theory Vol 15 (4) 565-569 (ABS3)

Tinson J, Saren M, Roth B (2015) Exploring the Role of Dark Tourism in the Creation of National Identity of Young Americans. Journal of Marketing Management, Vol 31 (7-8): 856-880

Patsiaouras, G, Fitchett J, Saren, M (2014) Boris Artzybasheff and the Art of Anthropomorphic Marketing in Early American Consumer Culture. Journal of Marketing Management, Vol 30 (1/2): 117-137

Patsiaouras, G, M. Saren, J. A. Fitchett (2014) The Marketplace of Life? An Exploratory Study of the Commercialization of Water Resources through the Lens of Macromarketing. Journal of Macromarketing 35(1):23-35

Goulding C, Saren M, Lindridge A (2013) Reading the Body at von Hagan’s Bodyworlds, Annals of Tourism Research, 306-330

Campbell N,  O'Driscoll A, Saren M (2013) Reconceptualising Resources: A Critique of Service-Dominant Logic, Journal of Macromarketing, Vol 33 (3) 1-16

Lal Dey, B., Binsardi B, Prendergast R ,Saren M (2013) A Qualitative Enquiry into the Appropriation of Mobile Telephony at the Bottom of the Pyramid,  International Marketing Review, Vol 30 (4),  297-322

Biele-Missel, B and Saren M (2012) ‘Atmospheres of Seduction: A Critique of Aesthetic Marketing Practices, Journal of Macromarketing, Vol 32 (2) 168-180

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

Brodie R, Saren M and Pels J (2011) ‘Middle Range Theory and Contemporary Marketing Practice’ Marketing Theory Vol 10 (4) 2-14

Beech, N, I Kajzer-Mitchell, M Saren and C Oswick (2011) ‘Barriers to Change and Identity Work’ Journal of Change Management Vol. 11 (3): 289-304

Campbell, N, and Saren M (2011) The Primitive, Technology and Horror: A Posthuman Biology, Ephemera

Saren, M. (2011), ‘Identifying the impact of IT on marketing”, Emerald Management First. Available at: 

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, Vol 4 (1): 28-34

Goulding, C and Saren, M (2010) ‘Immersion, Emergence and Reflexivity: Grounded theory and aesthetic consumption’ International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research, vol 4 (1): 70 - 82

Campbell, N, O’Driscoll A and Saren M (2010), ‘The Posthuman: The End and the Beginning of the Human,’ Journal of Consumer Behaviour, vol 9: 86-101

Goulding, C and Saren, M (2009) 'Performing Identity: an analysis of gender expressions at the Whitby Goth festival', Consumption Markets & Culture, vol 12 (1): 27-46

Tadajewski, M. and Saren, M (2009) ‘Rethinking the Emergence of Relationship Marketing', Journal of Macromarketing, vol 29 (2): 193-206.

Pels, J, Moller K, and Saren M (2009) ‘Do We Really Understand Business Marketing?’ Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, vol 24 (5/6): 322-336 

Saren M (2009) ‘Modes of Engagement for Critical Marketing: Oppositional, Revivalist and Therapeutic’ Journal of Marketing Management, 2009 vol 25 (7/8): 843-848

Plakoyannaki, E, Saren M and Tzokas N (2008) ‘How Critical is Employee Orientation for Customer Relationship Management? Evidence from a Case Study’, Journal of Management Studies, Volume 45 (2): 268-293 

Kajzer-Mitchell I and Saren (2008) 'The Living Product: Using the Creative Nature of Metaphors for Sustainable Marketing', Business Strategy and the Environment, Vol 17: 398-410.

Saren M (2008) ‘Sympathy for the Devil: A Review of Social Marketing.’  European Journal of Marketing, vol 42, (9): 1133-1134

Campbell, N, O’Driscoll A and Saren M (2008),  ‘Marketing the Primitive, Technology and Horror’  European Advances in Consumer Research vol 8: 1-8