The Impact of Un/Ethical Corporate Conduct on Consumers' Ethical Perceptions - a Multidimensional Framework

Katja H. Brunk, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
Christian Bluemelhuber, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
Based on 20 long interviews (McCracken 1988) with general consumers, this qualitative research demonstrates that the impact of various kinds of un/ethical business practices of a given company on consumers’ perceived ethicality (CPE) is asymmetrical. The resulting taxonomy identifies three distinct dimensions of varying direction and impact on CPE: (1) Monovalent ethical dissatisfiers which have a negative effect; (2) Bivalent ethical dis/satisfiers that either favorably or unfavorably influence ethical perceptions, commensurate with a company’s efforts; and (3) Monovalent ethical satisfiers, capable of generating a positive impact. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications for managers and academics.
[ to cite ]:
Katja H. Brunk and Christian Bluemelhuber (2010) ,"The Impact of Un/Ethical Corporate Conduct on Consumers' Ethical Perceptions - a Multidimensional Framework", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 368-373 .