The Role of Ethics in Consumer Purchasing Behavior

Consumption Behavior
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Anneke Zwart
Student (University), Netherlands

The Role of Ethics in Consumer Purchasing Behavior

During the past decades, consumers have become more and more aware of ethics: consumer rights and product requirements. This has both changed consumer’s expectations of marketers as well as their buying behavior. The attitude towards more ethical products and services is more positive than those products that are less ethical. Actually, unethical behavior is often punished, because people believe that organizations are responsible for not harming the society / environment.

However, the fact that unethical behavior is punished often leads to the wrong thought that this automatically implies that ethical behavior is rewarded. Although attitudes are more positive towards ethical products, ethical behavior is not automatically rewarded by consumers according to Carrigan and Atalla (2001). People do believe that organizations are responsible for not harming the society/environment, but they do not automatically believe that these organizations are responsible for helping others. Thus, ethically minded people avoid purchasing unethical products, but this does not imply that they persistently buy the very ethical products. There is a difference between punishing unethical behavior and rewarding ethical behavior

What do you think about this interesting phenomenon?
Source: Carrigan, M. and A. Atalla (2001) “The Myth of The Ethical Consumer – Do Ethics Matter in Purchase Behavior?” Journal of Consumer Marketing Vol. 18 Iss. 7 pp. 560-577

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