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Un/ethical Company and Brand Perceptions: Conceptualising and Operationalising Consumer Meanings

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  • Katja Brunk

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Abstract

Based on three empirical studies, this research sets out to conceptualise and subsequently operationalise the construct of consumer perceived ethicality (CPE) of a company or brand. Study 1 investigates consumer meanings of the term ethical and reveals that, contrary to philosophical scholars’ exclusively consequentialist or nonconsequentialist positions, consumers’ ethical judgments are a function of both these evaluation principles, illustrating that not any one scholarly definition of ethics alone is capable of capturing the content domain. The resulting conceptualisation identifies six key themes explicating the construct. Building upon these findings, studies 2 and 3 were conducted to operationalise CPE. Such operationalisation is an essential prerequisite for future explorations and theory development given the absence of a suitable tool to capture and quantify the strength and direction of CPE. The key focus was on developing a valid and reliable multi-item measurement tool that is practical, parsimonious and easy to administer. The scale’s general applicability allows deployment in academic and business contexts as well as different research areas and doing thus facilitates the much-needed theory building in this new research area. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Business Ethics.

Volume (Year): 111 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 551-565

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Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:111:y:2012:i:4:p:551-565

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100281

Related research

Keywords: Corporate ethics; Consumer meanings; Corporate social responsibility (CSR); Consumer perceived ethicality (CPE); Brand perceptions; Construct conceptualisation; Scale development;

References

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  1. Shea, Linda J., 2010. "Using consumer perceived ethicality as a guideline for corporate social responsibility strategy: A commentary essay," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 263-264, March.
  2. Roberts, James A., 1996. "Will the real socially responsible consumer please step forward?," Business Horizons, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 79-83.
  3. Brunk, Katja H., 2010. "Exploring origins of ethical company/brand perceptions -- A consumer perspective of corporate ethics," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 255-262, March.
  4. Clement, Ronald W., 2006. "Just how unethical is American business?," Business Horizons, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 313-327.
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  8. Muncy, James A. & Vitell, Scott J., 1992. "Consumer ethics: An investigation of the ethical beliefs of the final consumer," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 297-311, June.
  9. Cohn, Deborah Y., 2010. "Commentary essay on "exploring origins of ethical company/brand perceptions -- A consumer perspective of corporate ethics"," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 63(12), pages 1267-1268, December.
  10. Lee Cronbach, 1951. "Coefficient alpha and the internal structure of tests," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 297-334, September.
  11. Michael Bendixen & Russell Abratt, 2007. "Corporate Identity, Ethics and Reputation in Supplier–Buyer Relationships," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, Springer, vol. 76(1), pages 69-82, November.
  12. Brunk, Katja H. & Blümelhuber, Christian, 2011. "One strike and you're out: Qualitative insights into the formation of consumers' ethical company or brand perceptions," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 134-141, February.
  13. Huber, Frank & Vollhardt, Kai & Matthes, Isabel & Vogel, Johannes, 2010. "Brand misconduct: Consequences on consumer-brand relationships," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 63(11), pages 1113-1120, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Jatinder Singh & Oriol Iglesias & Joan Batista-Foguet, 2012. "Does Having an Ethical Brand Matter? The Influence of Consumer Perceived Ethicality on Trust, Affect and Loyalty," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, Springer, vol. 111(4), pages 541-549, December.

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