For the purpose of equipping researchers in marketing with a more sophisticated method to measure alienation in a marketing context, the authors have constructed and initially tested an alienation from the marketplace index. Alienation is defined in terms of Melvin Seeman's (1959) five basic variants of alienation: powerlessness, meaninglessness, normlessness, social isolation, and self-estrangement. After pretesting, two questions per variant of alienation remained as the operational measures of alienation from the marketplace. These questions focused specifically on marketing phenomenon. Test-retest reliability was tested with 35 paired observations. Validity was checked with survey data from 140 households. In terms of face or content validity, the questions met the criterion of “looking as if” they should indicate the corresponding dimensions of alienation. Correlations between the marketplace alienation items and a measure of general alienation established concurrent validity.
The authors propose that the use of the marketplace alienation index in studies involving those who are affected by our country's business climate may prove useful. For example, one would hypothesize that increasing alienation from the marketplace would be associated with support of consumerist goals, or even of additional government legislation to control problems that the individual feels is uncontrollable by him because of the bigness and indifference of modern day enterprise.