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“Dark Side of Marketing Relationships: Criminal Price-Fixing Cartels by Marketing Managers”

  • Date: Friday, April 20, 2018
  • Time: 2:30 PM - 4:00 PM
  • Venue: N203
  • Location: UCD Smurfit School

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Marketing subject area would like to invite you to a research seminar titled: “Dark Side of Marketing Relationships: Criminal Price-Fixing Cartels by Marketing Managers”  by Markus Vanharanta, AssistantProfessor of Marketing, here at UCD. The seminar will take place this Friday (20th of April) at N203 between 14:30 and 16:00. Below please find the abstract of the research presentation as well as presenter’s short bio.


“Dark Side of Marketing Relationships: Criminal Price-Fixing Cartels by Marketing Managers”

Markus Vanharanta

Assistant Professor, UCD 


In this study investigating illegal price-fixing cartels, we contribute to our understanding of the dark side of marketing management. Marketing managers working in a boundary-spanning role between organizations are often implicated in price-fixing investigations, as pricing is a core marketing mix activity. Overall, illicit price-fixing influences global sales by $17 trillion, making it too important to ignore in marketing literature.

In this study we outline a typology of network structures used in price-fixing conspiracies, highlighting key tensions in B2B price-fixing relationships. “Shadow networks” are akin to normal managerial endeavors, such as joint ventures, allowing for high levels of managerial efficiency, while making the cartel conspiracies vulnerable to detection and criminal persecution.  In contrast, “dark networks” adopt bilateral modes of network structure, while minimizing managerial bureaucracy and electronic footprints. Dark networks thus resemble the modus operandi used by criminal organizations and terrorist groups, emphasizing secrecy over managerial efficiency. This study allows us to build a deeper understanding of collusive network forms and related inter-firm interaction for an industrial marketing audience. 

About Markus Vanharanta

Born in Finland, Markus spent many of his formative years in Japan, Hong Kong, the US and the UK.  He has embraced an anthropological life-style, preferring to live in foreign cultural settings in Asia. Prior to joining UCD marketing faculty in Asia, Markus held a faculty position in Lancaster University.  In addition, Markus has been a Visiting Professor in City University (Hong Kong), Manchester University (Singapore), Shenzhen University (PRC), BML Munjal University (India), and a Senior Fellow in the Foundation for Management Education (UK).  His research interests include the “dark side” of marketing, nature of marketing expertise, intuitive decision-making, and realist philosophy of science. He is an active member of the Industrial Marketing and Purchasing (IMP) Group in Asia.  Markus Vanharanta has published over 20 peer-reviewed manuscripts, much of in Industrial Marketing Management (IMM), investigating Shell Oil, Reebok, ASDA-Wal-Mart, Metso Minerals, Mekitec, Oulu City Food Safety Cluster, Merc Engineering, e.ville.com, Otter Controls and Polar Electronics.

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