The international search for ethics norms : which consumer behaviors do consumers consider (un)acceptable?
Neale, Larry & Fullerton, Sam (2010) The international search for ethics norms : which consumer behaviors do consumers consider (un)acceptable? Journal of Services Marketing, 24(6), pp. 476-486.
Purpose: Businesses cannot rely on their customers to always do the right thing. To help researchers and service providers better understand the dark (and light) side of customer behavior, this study aims to aggregate and investigate perceptions of consumer ethics from young consumers on five continents. The study seeks to present a profile of consumer behavioral norms, how ethical inclinations have evolved over time, and country differences. ----------
Design/methodology/approach: Data were collected from ten countries across five continents between 1997 and 2007. A self-administered questionnaire containing 14 consumer scenarios asked respondents to rate acceptability of questionable consumer actions. ----------
Findings: Overall, consumers found four of the 14 questionable consumer actions acceptable. Illegal activities were mostly viewed as unethical, while some legal actions that were against company policy were viewed less harshly. Differences across continents emerged, with Europeans being the least critical, while Asians and Africans shared duties as most critical of consumer actions. Over time, consumers have become less tolerant of questionable behaviors. ----------
Practical implications: Service providers should use the findings of this study to better understand the service customer. Knowing what customers in general believe is ethical or unethical can help service designers focus on the aspects of the technology or design most vulnerable to customer deviance. ----------
Multinationals already know they must adapt their business practices to the market in which they are operating, but they must also adapt their expectations as to the behavior of the corresponding consumer base.
Originality/value: This investigation into consumer ethics helps businesses understand what their customer base believes is the right thing in their role as customer. This is a large-scale study of consumer ethics including 3,739 respondents on five continents offering an evolving view of the ethical inclinations of young consumers.
Impact and interest:
Citation counts are sourced monthly from and citation databases.
These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.
Citations counts from theindexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.
Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.
|Item Type:||Journal Article|
|Keywords:||Consumer behaviour, Culture, Services marketing, Ethics|
|Subjects:||Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > MARKETING (150500) > Marketing Communications (150502)|
|Divisions:||Current > Schools > School of Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations|
|Copyright Owner:||Copyright 2010 Emerald Publishing|
|Deposited On:||26 Jan 2011 22:35|
|Last Modified:||29 Feb 2012 14:21|
Repository Staff Only: item control page