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D1 Ethical customer relations

A) Goal of the indicator

In customer relations, aspirations and reality often diverge considerably. The customer who stands at the centre of a company’s efforts is not treated like a “king,” but rather like a cow to be milked (cash cow) (in the sales process) or as a procedure which must be performed (in complaints or project management). Besides, there is a wide spectrum of advertising measures increasingly aimed at manipulation and perpetuation of buying incentives rather than purposefulness and sustainability.

Sales and marketing are necessary if you are to find customers for your products and services. Without such activities, there would be little or no turnover. Thus, the question is not whether, but rather how, to go about it. The suggestions made in this manual intend to provide orientation on what an ethical approach could look like. Purposeful and sustainable products and services in particular (cf. E1) should be sold as frequently as possible and hence, it is important for Common-Good companies to be effective in this respect too.

This indicator does not only involve sales, however; it encompasses the entire dimension of customer relations. Customers are to be viewed as equal partners, contact at eye level is to be maintained and efforts should focus on the customer’s welfare and optimal satisfaction of his or her needs during all phases of the customer relationship – if need be, contrary to one’s own business interests.

This indicator pre-supposes extensive exploration of this issue and it allows a certain degree of latitude for individual approaches. It is fundamental to have one’s own concept, one’s own ethical premises in dealing with customers, and these premises should provide answers to the following questions:

  • What are our values / principles regarding customer relations?
  • How do we live these values / principles during the various sales phases (product development / marketing and sales / after-sales service)?
  • How purposeful are our products / services? Do they fulfil essential needs and serve humankind / the planet or do they offer a form of substitutional satisfaction? (E1)
  • How transparent are we in regard to our products / services?
  • What quality and life span do our products / services have? (D3)
  • How fair is our pricing? (D2)

As these questions clearly indicate, not all aspects of ethical customer relations are treated in D1; some overlapping with other indicators in the Matrix occurs. The aspects of quality and life span are treated in D3, socially compatible gradation of prices in D4 and purposefulness / societal effect in E1.

The indicator “Ethical customer relations” can be sub-divided as follows:

  • Measures as a whole / institutionalization / overall concept / principles
  • Product transparency, fair pricing and ethical selection of customers
  • Customer co-determination / market research / joint product development
  • Quality of service

This division is an attempt to illuminate the various aspects of the indicator and facilitate clear evaluation. In practice, these areas are closely related, however, and cannot always be considered in isolation.

B) Prompt questions

The key questions were already formulated above; now we want to attempt to consider them in a more differentiated way:

Measures as a whole

  • What are our values / principles regarding customer relations?
  • What is our basic concept of ethical customer relations? How do we attempt to anchor this in our company through structures / processes / regarding the attitudes of our employees?
  • How do we live these values / principles in the various phases of the sales process (product development / marketing and sales / after-sales service)?

Product transparency, fair pricing and ethical selection of customers

  • How transparent are we in regard to our products / services?
  • Which information on products / services lack transparency and why?
  • How do we calculate our prices and which aspects of our pricing policies can we make transparent?
  • What is a fair price for our products, taking adequate consideration of allocation to reserve assets / investments and our overall portfolio into account? How would customers / competitors judge our prices if all the figures were disclosed?
  • Who are potentially unethical customers? How can we recognize them and exclude them from use of our products / services (non-cooperation)?

Customer co-determination / market research / joint product development

  • How do we involve our customers in product development?
  • Which concrete forms of co-determination are available to our customers?
  • In what ways can we improve our products / services through cooperation with our customers? What potential is there and how can it be utilized concretely?

Quality of service

  • What is our service concept? What are our values in regard to this?
  • How do we ensure optimal quality of service for our customers?
  • How do we bind customers long-term and promote referral marketing?

C) Evaluation table


First Steps
(1–10% )

(11–30 %)

(31–60 %)

(61–100 %)

Total extent of ethical customer relations measures (ethical marketing + sales)


Relevance: high

Overall concept for ethical customer relations and self-obligation on part of management

Overall concept implemented at least 50%


Clear measures taken to change structures, processes and mindset of employees


Salary independent of sales figures

Overall concept implemented up to 75%


Extensive measures taken to change structures, processes and mindset of employees

Overall concept implemented 100% and structurally anchored


All employees live (according to) the mindset of ethical customer relations 

Product transparency[1], fair pricing and ethical selection of customers


Relevance: low

Concept for improvement of product transparency / fair pricing + ethical selection of customers

Product transparency lies above sectoral average


Transparent price calculation


Ethical evaluation of all customers

Product transparency lies far above sectoral average


Appropriate prices in cross-sectoral comparison


Exclusion of some unethical customers

+ (electronic) link to Common Good Report


Exclusion of all unethical customers 

Extent of customer co-determination / joint product development  / market research


Relevance: moderate

Initial measures towards setting up board of advisors + pilot projects


Joint product development

Board of advisors in place, transparency of results + up to 25% of products jointly developed

Board of advisors in place; up to 50% implementation of recommendations + up to 50% joint product development

Board of advisors in place; up to 75% implementation; meetings at least once monthly + up to 75% joint product development

Service management


Relevance: moderate

Overall concept for service management + test phase, at least hotline

Complaints office in place; simple complaints process

+ comprehensive service measures

+ sanction measures in cases of complaints + transparent reporting


[1] This entails data on ingredients, toxins, hazards and instructions for use in accordance with the highest available standards

D) Special aspects regarding the evaluation

Company-specific aspects

This table does not distinguish whether products or services are involved, whether the customer is an end consumer or a commercial customer or whether the enterprise in question is a small company or a multi-national corporation.

Thus the various aspects must be applied concretely in terms of quotation, company size and target group. Should any criteria not apply, they should simply be eliminated from the evaluation.

In principle, referral marketing and advertising via a legally irreproachable homepage are viewed as exemplary as long as this is done without any commission payments (no multi-level marketing). Any unsolicited customer contact or measures which fail to comply with legal regulations are to be viewed as unethical and can lead to a deduction of percentage points for the sub-indicator in question.

Customer advisory councils apply primarily for companies which sell products to end consumers, whereas joint product development can play a significant role even for very small companies (and this is usually the case).

In cases where over 75 % of the products are developed jointly, referral marketing and homepage advertising are employed extensively along with information events, but there is practically no use of print media. Then very small companies can come very close to the “exemplary” level.

In the case of many cooperatives, customers – as members – have co-determination rights. This can be positively evaluated under the sub-indicator “Customer co-determination / joint product development / market research.”

Differentiation from / connection to other indicators

In a wider sense of the word, ethical customer relations comprise more aspects than the ones which can be included in this indicator; some of these were mentioned above:

  • Quality and life span of products (D3)
  • Fair pricing and transparency on the market, i.e., offers which lend themselves to easy comparison (D2)
  • Purposefulness and societal effect (E1)

Other aspects are:

  • Cooperative marketing – cooperation with competitors – transparency vis-a-vis competitors (D2)
  • Social pricing policies and barrier-free access to products/services (D4)

The value Transparency and co-determination has also been allocated to D1 because D5 concentrates on cooperation in the sense of achieving better sectoral standards.

This is treated as Transparency/co-determination in reference to the customer as a contact group. In D2, Transparency/co-determination is treated in regard to other enterprises/competition. Other stakeholders are considered in the context of other indicators: Suppliers (A1), Financiers (B1), Employees (C5), Other contact groups (E5).

E) Definitions + Background

Ethical customer relations

The concept “ethical customer relations” should be used comprehensively to designate all measures taken in contacts with customers and serve as an umbrella term for this indicator. The concept is new and not widespread.

Ethical customer relations comprise the entire sales process including marketing, sales and service management, which is to say, contact with the customer during the entire product life cycle.

Actual customer benefit has priority over sales, i.e., as a supplier I only sell something to my customer if he or she really needs it, my product really brings added value for him/her and it meets the customer’s needs best.

As a supplier I do not kindle any “unnecessary” desires on the part of the customer, I refrain from using teasers and I call attention to better or more suitable products of competitors if this is called for.

Long-term customer relations and optimal fulfilment of the customer’s needs have priority. I inform my customers of the advantages and disadvantages of what I have to offer and guarantee extensive service.

In the long run, this will bring more success than any other measure.

The following three tables give an overview which helps to differentiate between ethical and unethical customer relations. Please replace “Marketing” with “Customer relations” in your mind.

Philip Kotler differentiates three different forms of marketing:[2]


Marketing 1.0 
Product-oriented marketing

Marketing 2.0. 
Consumer-oriented marketing

Marketing 3.0
Value-oriented marketing


Sell products

Satisfy and bind the consumer

Improve the world

Driving forces

Industrial Revolution

Information technology

New Wave technology

How the company views the market

Mass buyers with physical needs

Smart consumers with heart and mind

The whole human being with head, heart and human spirit

Central marketing concept

Product development



Marketing policy of the company

Product specification

Positioning of company and products

Mission, vision and values of the company

Value proposition


Functional und emotional

Functional, emotional and spiritual

Interaction with consumer

One-to-many transaction (mass processing)

One-to-one relationship (individual care)

Many-to-many cooperation (from the masses for the masses)


An example for “improving the world” as a marketing goal could be activities in the organic foods sector which help raise ecological awareness of consumers through their approach and products.

Thomas Maak/Peter Ulrich distinguish between manipulative and ethical marketing:[3]


Manipulative marketing

Ethical marketing

Basic understanding

Exertion of influence through (almost) all means

Legitimate and purposeful satisfaction of needs

Image of humankind

Instrumentalistic: “dupable” consumer

Humanely oriented: “responsible citizen”

Marketing instruments


Means of generating turnover

Means of satisfying needs


Profit maximization

Adequate differentiation








“Turnover at all costs”

“Is it purposeful?”


Another overview developed by Maak and Ulrich describes values/virtues and their concrete significance for marketing:[4]




Significance for the market (for ex.)


Respectful dealings with others as human beings and responsible citizens; respect for beliefs, origin, skin colour and gender

  • No discriminating advertising or such which could encroach on cultural or religious sensibilities
  • No sexist advertising
  • No sales of deficient or unsafe products


Consciously encounter the wishes, needs and cares of others

  • Address the real needs of customers
  • Address the needs of customers in their respective cultural context
  • Refrain from selling expensive products or offering customers small loans who are debt-ridden or in danger of becoming so

Honesty / transparency

Say what you mean and mean what you say

Openness in regard to your own opinions, your own products and their origin

  • Traceability of origin and specifics of products
  • Convey correct and comprehensive information to the customers including such which could be disadvantageous (for ex. side effects of pharmaceuticals)
  • No “KidNabbing”
  • No misleading of consumers


Act on the basis of freedom, equality and justice (free from prejudice or preferential treatment)

  • No taking advantage of consumers
  • Ensure value for money
  • Fair prices, for ex. between different national markets


Take responsibility for one’s own actions (and non-action) vis-a-vis those affected (or possibly affected)

  • Grasp marketing responsibility as an integral component of entrepreneurial integrity
  • Actions guided by principles
  • Responsibility for products and services vis-a-vis customers must have priority


Ethical marketing and ethical sales (paths to the customer)

It is impossible to separate and differentiate the two concepts clearly. Marketing tends to be the more comprehensive concept, which comprises the overall strategy, supplementary measures and product development, whereas sales usually designates all direct customer contact. The two concepts are combined in the concept “Ethical customer relations.”



  • Print advertising materials such as flyers, information brochures, postcards, business cards, image brochures, mailings etc.
  • Online media such as websites, blogs, online portals, newsletters (with easy unsubscribe function)
  • PR measures such as articles in professional journals, editorial articles, image campaigns, press conferences
  • Referral marketing – “mouth-to-mouth (word to mouth)propaganda”



  • Print materials which are mailed / emails (if legally permissible)
  • Personal contact through scheduled sales calls, network events, trade fairs
  • Initiation of telephone contact in B2B area (if legally permissible)
  • Cost-free information events with added value for customers


All legally prohibited advertising measures are to be viewed as unethical. There is also a gray area of “intrusive” forms which tend to harass customers, and which they find it difficult to evade. These are unethical too. They include, for ex.:


  • Approaching people on the street
  • Unannounced sales calls / house calls
  • Advertising on the radio / television or in print media


In Sao Paulo, Brazil, a referendum held in 2007 prohibited advertising in public places. For us this is an interesting, positive example![5]

Product transparency, fair prices and ethical selection of customers/ awareness-raising vis-a-vis customers

We wish to have comprehensive product transparency with clear designation of all ingredients and declaration of all essential information concerning pricing and calculations. This makes it easy to determine whether products have a “fair” price. Of course, product transparency also applies to services to the extent that it can be provided.

It is not easy to determine what a fair price is. The first steps are to ensure transparency regarding costs, make a critical self-estimate, draw a cross-sectoral comparison and have an estimate made by a consumer advisory council / consumer protection agency.

Ethical selection of customers calls for taking a close look at one’s own customers and the further use which one’s products/services will be put to. This will certainly not be necessary for all products/services. Nevertheless, we want to ensure that this aspect is considered within the company’s sphere of responsibility. Selections of customers made in the B2B area, i.e. other companies, are particularly relevant in this respect.

A positive example is the supplier boycott of the organic supermarket chain Basic, which was launched when Lidl became a major shareholder in this corporation.[6]

Joint product development, market research and customer co-determination

These aspects can be sub-divided as follows:

  • Joint product development
  • Market research
  • Customer co-determination

Joint product development = Co-creation / presumption / Lead User

Co-Creation, prosumption and the Lead User model[7] describe close collaboration between companies and (certain) customers. In joint processes, products and services are designed, tested and improved. The customers engage actively and contribute to innovations, identifying with the company and its products to a heightened degree as a result. Moreover, this generates mouth-to-mouth propaganda, which constitutes a very economical and sustainable type of advertising. The borders between the supplier and the customer becomes somewhat blurred.

Market research

This constitutes the entirety of all measures which help a company find out about its customers’ needs and the purchasing behaviour of its target groups. From an ethical perspective, market research primarily fulfils the goal of optimizing satisfaction of needs.

Market research is utilized to find out how markets react, what customers need and how they can be influenced. This provides the foundation for marketing measures.

From an ethical perspective, market research should aim to optimize the needs of the customer and reduce manipulative elements to the point that the customer is able to make his or her own decisions through the transparency created in this way.

Attempts to eliminate manipulation altogether are useless – to do so, one would have to forego advertising completely.

When handling customer data, they should be protected to the highest possible degree; measures taken to ensure this should at least comply with legal data protection criteria.

Customer co-determination

Wolfgang G. Weber and the international research network OPEN[8] cite the following degrees of employee co-determination, which can also be applied to the aspect of customer co-determination:[9]

  1. No participation
  2. Information
  3. Consultation
  4. Co-participation
  5. Co-determination, co-decisions
  6. Self-determination


To date, I know of no instrument which covers the entire field of customer democracy / customer advisory councils. Nevertheless, individual measures exist for achieving various types of participation:

  • Customer advisory councils, which are consulted or which must give their approval for all / certain entrepreneurial decisions (veto right);
  • Customer delegates who are members of various bodies and actively participate and engage in decision-making processes (majority votes, consensus decisions);
  • Public election of council / delegates via internet; those entitled to vote are long-year customers who have been customers at least half as long as the term of office;
  • Customer representatives as part of a stakeholder dialogue in which management makes consensus decisions together with the stakeholders and such decisions are acted on in the company;
  • Public board meetings attended by customer delegates and/or opportunities for raising questions / having a say on the part of customers in the audience.


Service management

This comprises all customer care measures taken after a product has been sold or a service has been provided. Depending on the offer, this can include the following points:

  • Good accessibility
  • Individual attention to wishes and needs
  • Competent and service-oriented manner of dealing with complaints
  • Order processing is performed as agreed upon during the sales process
  • Delivery periods are adhered to
  • Quality is delivered as promised
  • Careful treatment of customer data
  • In the event of delays or problems, the customer is informed quickly and actively
  • Disputes are ideally resolved in a dialogue; should this prove impossible, via a mediation process and only as a last resort in court
  • Respectful manner of communicating throughout the duration of the contact

F) Means for facilitating implementation

Quick help:

  • Analyse the status quo (Which forms of marketing do we use? Which prove successful? Evaluation according to ethical considerations)
  • Determine target state (vision / goal)
  • Strategy for reaching target state – clear measures + monitoring


For implementation of ethical marketing, Maak and Ulrich recommend exploring and reflecting on guiding ethical questions, dialogue forums with stakeholders held on a regular basis (cf. E5: Societal co-determination) and the formulation of a “Code of Marketing Ethics.”


According to them, guiding questions and tests for marketing decisions are:[10]



Guiding questions

Compliance Test

Does the intended marketing activity violate legal standards, for ex. consumer rights, or corporate behaviour policy guidelines (in particular Code of Marketing Ethics; see below)?

Consequences Test

Could the action or product endanger stakeholders in any way? Could moral sensibilities of stakeholders be encroached upon or could the action or product have discriminatory effects?

Obligation Test

Could the action or product violate special (moral) obligations which we have vis-a-vis our customers or stakeholders (for ex. in regard to side effects of medicaments or harmlessness of toys)?

Equity Test

Does the manufacture or use of the product result in inequitable distribution of burdens or violate the rights of stakeholders (for ex. wage equity in the supply chain, the right to an intact environment, information rights)?

Common Decency Test

Could our action or product violate principles of proper conduct (for ex. good faith, good will, honesty)?

Virtue Test

Does our intended action comply with elementary marketing virtues (respect, honesty, candidness, responsibility etc.) and conform to our own values?

Integrity Test

Do our intentions endanger our integrity by being “divorced” from the principles of our business ethics?


In addition to these guiding questions for self-reflection, dialogue forums with participation of stakeholders and NPOs as well as the formulation, implementation and sanctioning of a general Code of Marketing Ethics are measures named. As an example the Code of Ethics of the American Marketing Association[11] is cited. The authors also point out that this should actually be put into practice and sanctioned, in keeping with the maxim ‘talk alone is cheap.’

In principle, a separate project or an organizational development process can be developed for each of these issues; in doing so, it can prove helpful to seek out and engage available experts.

The advantage of pioneers is that they can set standards and serve as models in business. The disadvantage is that making progress in this area calls for a lot of perseverance and a tolerance for making mistakes.

G) Good Practices

Customer orientation

Zappos and Southwest Airlines are both companies which stand out by virtue of their very positive customer orientation. Both examples come from the USA. They should actually be scrutinized critically. After all, the airline industry produces large quantities of CO2 and online shoe mail order firms are nothing more than conventional trading enterprises with some negative elements [12]

We continue to look for positive examples from the German-speaking European region and welcome any valuable information.


Zappos is a shoe mail order firm in the USA which was bought up by Amazon last year. Legally speaking, it has maintained a high degree of independence, however. Zappos puts its main focus on excellent customer service and has installed the following measures / guiding principles:

1) Make customer service a main priority for the entire enterprise, not only for your department. This attitude towards customer service must come from above.

2) Make “wow” a word used daily in your enterprise.

3) Empower/encourage your customer service representatives and trust them. Trust that they will offer great service because they really will.

4) It is okay to lose customers who are never satisfied or abuse your employees.

5) Do not monitor call times, do not force your employees to push additional products and do not use any scripts.

6) Do not hide your cost-free hotline. This sends a message – not only to your customers but also to your employees.

7) View every call as an investment in customer satisfaction, not as a cost factor which should be minimized as much as possible.

8.) Let the entire enterprise celebrate good service. Tell everyone in the company about wow-experiences.

9) Hire people who are already passionately committed to good customer service.

10) Offer everyone great service: customers, employees and suppliers.[13] 

Related resources

Tony Hsieh: Delivering happiness, 2010

Internet platform on this book:

Article on Zappos and related links: zappos-fun-and-family-2/

 Southwest Airlines (SWA)

I want to quote the SWA mission statement here:

“The mission of Southwest Airlines: the mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit.

To Our Employees: We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth. Creativity and innovation are encouraged for improving the effectiveness of Southwest Airlines. Above all, Employees will be provided the same concern, respect, and caring attitude within the organization that they are expected to share externally with every Southwest Customer.)”[14]

In some publications[15], repeated reference is made to the lived customer service of SWA; apparently words are matched by deeds in this respect. In the book Nuts!, this customer service is described in greater detail. Many Youtube videos give you an impression of it too, like the flight attendant rap.

If SWA conducted a Common Good Balance Sheet evaluation, it would certainly only receive a few points for the value Ecology, but  in comparison to other airlines it would rate better in regard to other values. For this reason, this example is not ideal but there is hardly any enterprise which currently succeeds in getting high ratings in all value categories.

Related resources

Freiberg, Kevin & Jackie: Nuts! Southwest Airlines Crazy recipe for Business and personal success, Bard Press, 1996

Small case study on SWA:

Books on SWA:

SWA flight attendant rap:


Customer co-determination

Apart from SMUD, we currently know of no such comprehensive opportunities for co-determination with the exception of CSA/community-supported agriculture. We are looking for inspirations and examples of good practices here as well.

In the German-speaking world, isolated experiences have been made with customer advisory councils, but these only have limited transparency and minimal effects on decisions made by the companies in question. Needless to say, cooperative business and co-determination of customers who are members of cooperatives are to be evaluated positively.


SMUD (Sacramento Municipal Utility District, is a local energy supplier in Sacramento/California with approx. 600,000 customers and 2,000 employees which focuses increasingly on renewable energies.

SMUD involves customers from the region in key decision-making processes. These customers elect the board, and the company gives customers diverse opportunities for having a say through workshops and feedback. Board meetings are held publicly on a bi-weekly basis.[16]

“As a customer-owned, not only profit-oriented utility, SMUD seeks to conduct business in an open, public process and encourages all customers to attend workshops or submit feedback in writing.” [17]

Hence, customer satisfaction is very high: “For each of the last eight years, SMUD has received the highest customer satisfaction ratings for any utility in the state of California on the survey conducted by J.D. Power and Associates. And in 2010, SMUD received the second-highest score in the nation for commercial customer satisfaction.” [18]


Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA)

“Community-supported agriculture […] entails a group of consumers coming together and cooperating with a partner-agriculturist. The consumers give a purchase guarantee (for 6 months or one year) for the production of the farming enterprise and in return, they gain insight into and exert influence on its production (usually bio-dynamic or some other form of organic production). In some cases, the consumers grant the farming enterprise low-interest loans to enable it to create new farming facilities or convert to ecological production. Such partnerships support local production and food supply.”[19]

In such cases, roles are blurred because customers can be investors, financiers, owners or even employees.

There are a large number of different models and possibilities for exerting influence, ranging from employment on farms (Ochsenherz) to mere customer status, with involvement being limited to vegetable box subscriptions.

Examples + related resources

Ochsenherz in Vienna,

Overview on CSA enterprises in Germany:

H) Bibliography/Articles/Links

  • Arnold, Chris: [Ethical Marketing, 2009] Ethical Marketing and the new consumer. Marketing in a new ethical community, John Wiley & Sons, 2009 [ordered]
  • Code of Ethics of the American Marketing Association,
  • Dietl, Claudia [Sales, 2010] Ethisch handeln – Erfolgreich verkaufen. Mit Mut zu neuen Verkaufsstrategien, Hamburg: Acabus, 2010
  • DIN ISO 10002:2004 “Quality management – Customer satisfaction. Guidelines for Complaints Handling in Organizations”
  • Gutman, Paul: Good economy at
  • Hippel, Eric von: Democratizing innovation, MIT [WU TB… lead-user model]
  • Kernstock-Redl, Helga/Florian Schultheiss, Florian/Stühlinger, Eva: Ethisches Marketing, Springer 2012
  • Kotler, Philip/Kartajaya, Hermawan/Setiwan, Iwan: [Dimension, 2010] Die neue Dimension des Marketings. Vom Kunden zum Menschen, Frankfurt a.M./New York: Campus Verlag, 2010 [own publication]
  • Maak, Thomas/Ulrich, Peter: [Unternehmensführung, 2007] Integre Unternehmensführung. Ethisches Orientierungswissen für die Wirtschaftspraxis, Stuttgart: Schäffer Poeschel, 2007 [own publication]
  • Morgen, Sharon Drew: [Integrity, 1999] Selling with integrity. Reinventing sales through collaboration, respect, and serving, New York: Berkley books, 1999 [own publication]
  • Murphy, P.E./Laczzniak, G.R.: Marketing Ethics. Cases and Readings, 2006
  • Prahalad, C.K.: [Zukunft, 2003] Die Zukunft des Wettbewerbs. Einzigartige Werte mit dem Kunden gemeinsam schaffen, Vienna: Linde, 2003 [own publication]
  • Ramaswamy, Venkat: [Co-Creation, 2010] The Power of Co-Creation: Build It with Them to Boost Growth, Productivity, and Profits, NY ( Free Press, 2010 [own publication]
  • Rupprecht, Susanne/Parlow, Georg: Ethisches Marketing. Nachhaltige Strategien für Klein- und Mikro-Unternehmen, VIenna: Festland-Verlag, 2008. [mostly suitable for sole proprietorships and very small companies]
  • Strauss, Bernd/Seidel, Wolfgang: Beschwerdemanagement. Unzufriedene Kunden als profitable Zielgruppe, 4th, completely revised edition, Munich: Hanser, 2007 [UL]
  • Tapscott, Don – Interview in brand eins,
  • Extensive article on customer advisory councils at,
  • Various forms of customer dialogue,
  • Willingham, Ron: [Integrity, 2003] Integrity selling for the 21st century. How to sell the way people want to buy, Currency/Doubleday, 2003


Editors: Claudia Dietl, and  Christian Rüther, 

[1] This entails information on ingredients, toxins, hazards and instructions for use in accordance with highest available standards

[2] Kotler, Philip/Kartajaya, Haermanawan/Setiwan, Iwan: Dimension, 2010, pg.24.

[3] Maak, Thomas/Ulrich, Peter: Unternehmensführung, 2007, pg. 288.

[4] Maak, Thomas/Ulrich, Peter: Unternehmensführung, 2007, pg. 290 (somewhat condensed).

[5] Cf. article in Wirtschaftswoche and on a private blog with related links

[6] Cf. article in Die Welt:

[7] Cf. chap. 5 “Die Prosumenten” in Tapscot, Don/William, Anthony D: Wikinomics, pp. 123–148; for lead users cf. Eric van Hippel: Democratizing innovation, and Wikipedia articles on this topic.

[8] Organizational Participation in Europe Network (OPEN).

[9] Cf. Weber, Wolfgang: Demokratie, 1994, pg. 272; Wegge, Jürgen: Motivation, 2010, pg. 159.

[10] Maak, Thomas/Ulrich, Peter: Unternehmensführung, 2007, pp. 300/01 – these questions could be addressed for many ethical decisions made by companies. These guiding questions are also raised in the context of other criteria in the Common Good Matrix; one good example is how various areas are connected from an ethical perspective.

[11] Go to:

[12] Cf. problems concerning temporary workers at Amazon in Germany; cf. ARD: Ausgeliefert, Leiharbeiter bei Amazon at

[13]  Tony Hsieh: Delivering happiness, 2010, pg. 147.

[14] (downloaded on 10/08/2011[15] Cf. Niels Pfläging/Förster & Kreuz and in particular Freiberg, Kevin & Jackie: Nuts! Southwest Airlines Crazy recipe for business and personal success, Bard Press, 1996

[16] (downloaded on 25/05/2011)

[17] (downloaded on 25/05/2011

[18] (downloaded on 24/05/2011)

[19] Direct quote from Wikipedia: