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Managerial and Public Attitudes Toward Ethics in Marketing Research


  • Praveen Aggarwal


  • Rajiv Vaidyanathan


  • Stephen Castleberry



This research updates and significantly extends Akaah and Riordon’s (J Market Res 26:112–120, 1989 ) evaluation of ethical perceptions of marketing research misconduct among marketing research professionals. In addition to examining changes in perceptions toward key marketing research practices over time, we assess professionals’ judgments on the ethicality, importance, and occurrence of a variety of new marketing research ethics situations in both online and offline contexts. In a second study, we assess ethical judgments of the public at large using a representative sample of US consumers—key stakeholders ignored in prior research on unethical marketing research practices. Generally speaking, disapproval of unethical research conduct has grown across the board in the last 20 years for both managers and marketing researchers. The same misconduct elicits a stronger disapproval in the online environment compared to the offline environment. Compared to marketing researchers, managers tend to think that unethical research conduct occurs more frequently. Those who conduct marketing research or use its findings (i.e., marketing researchers and managers) are less tolerant of unethical research conduct than the general public. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Praveen Aggarwal & Rajiv Vaidyanathan & Stephen Castleberry, 2012. "Managerial and Public Attitudes Toward Ethics in Marketing Research," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 109(4), pages 463-481, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:109:y:2012:i:4:p:463-481
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-011-1140-2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Agle, Bradley R. & Donaldson, Thomas & Freeman, R. Edward & Jensen, Michael C. & Mitchell, Ronald K. & Wood, Donna J., 2008. "Dialogue: Toward Superior Stakeholder Theory," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(02), pages 153-190, April.
    2. Joseph McKinney & Tisha Emerson & Mitchell Neubert, 2010. "The Effects of Ethical Codes on Ethical Perceptions of Actions Toward Stakeholders," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 97(4), pages 505-516, December.
    3. Nabil Ibrahim & John Angelidis & Igor Tomic, 2009. "Managers’ Attitudes Toward Codes of Ethics: Are There Gender Differences?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 90(3), pages 343-353, December.
    4. Muel Kaptein & Mark Schwartz, 2008. "The Effectiveness of Business Codes: A Critical Examination of Existing Studies and the Development of an Integrated Research Model," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 77(2), pages 111-127, January.
    5. Muel Kaptein, 2011. "Toward Effective Codes: Testing the Relationship with Unethical Behavior," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 99(2), pages 233-251, March.
    6. Richard Bernardi & Michael Melton & Scott Roberts & David Bean, 2008. "Fostering Ethics Research: An Analysis of the Accounting, Finance and Marketing Disciplines," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 82(1), pages 157-170, September.
    7. Skinner, Steven J. & Dubinsky, Alan J. & Ferrell, O. C., 1988. "Organizational dimensions of marketing-research ethics," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 209-223, May.
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