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The Relationship between Consumers’ Unethical Behavior and Customer Loyalty in a Retail Environment

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  • P. VAN KENHOVE

    ()

  • K. DE WULF
  • S. STEENHAUT

    ()

Abstract

This paper investigates the relationship between two outcomes of relationship marketing – affective commitment and behavioral loyalty – and consumers’ unethical behavior. The main objective of the study is to assess whether affective commitment and behavioral loyalty to a store translate into more ethical behavior towards that store, controlling for the variables of age, gender, and ethical beliefs. The study does not rely on a single measurement tool, but is based on ten months' panel data and three different mail surveys targeted at 359 Belgian households. The results provide support for our hypothesis that affective commitment is indeed negatively correlated with consumers’ unethical behavior. The same conclusion could not be drawn for the relationship between behavioral loyalty and consumers’ unethical behavior. No significant relationship was detected, not even in situations where affective commitment was high. The results hold major implications for retailing practice.

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File URL: http://www.feb.ugent.be/nl/Ondz/wp/Papers/wp_03_167.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration in its series Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium with number 03/167.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rug:rugwps:03/167

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References

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  1. Strutton, David & Vitell, Scott J. & Pelton, Lou E., 1994. "How consumers may justify inappropriate behavior in market settings: An application on the techniques of neutralization," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 253-260, July.
  2. Geyskens, I. & Steenkamp, J.E.B.M. & Scheer, L.K. & Kumar, N., 1996. "The effects of trust and interdependence on relationship commitment: A trans-Atlantic study," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-117462, Tilburg University.
  3. Fournier, Susan, 1998. " Consumers and Their Brands: Developing Relationship Theory in Consumer Research," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(4), pages 343-73, March.
  4. Arnold, Stephen J. & Handelman, Jay & Tigert, Douglas J., 1996. "Organizational legitimacy and retail store patronage," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 229-239, March.
  5. Chonko, Lawrence B. & Hunt, Shelby D., 1985. "Ethics and marketing management: An empirical examination," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 339-359, August.
  6. Dekimpe, M.G. & Steenkamp, J. & Mellens, M. & Vanden Abeele, P., 1997. "Decline and variability in brand loyalty," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-358795, Tilburg University.
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Cited by:
  1. Sarah Steenhaut & Patrick Kenhove, 2006. "The Mediating Role of Anticipated Guilt in Consumers’ Ethical Decision-Making," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 69(3), pages 269-288, December.
  2. S. Steenhaut & P. Van Kenhove, 2006. "The Mediating Role of Anticipated Guilt in Consumers’ Ethical Decision-Making," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 06/370, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  3. Tine Bock & Iris Vermeir & Patrick Kenhove, 2013. "“What’s the Harm in Being Unethical? These Strangers are Rich Anyway!” Exploring Underlying Factors of Double Standards," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 112(2), pages 225-240, January.
  4. BaoChun Zhao & ShanShan Xu, 2013. "Does Consumer Unethical Behavior Relate to Birthplace? Evidence from China," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 113(3), pages 475-488, March.
  5. repec:eme:srjpps:v:6:y:2010:i:2:p:393-404 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Zhiqiang Liu & Fue Zeng & Chenting Su, 2009. "Does Relationship Quality Matter in Consumer Ethical Decision Making? Evidence from China," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 88(3), pages 483-496, October.
  7. D. Van Den Poel, 2003. "Predicting Mail-Order Repeat Buying: Which Variables Matter?," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 03/191, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.

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