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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

Suggested Citation

  • Katja Brunk, 2012. "Un/ethical Company and Brand Perceptions: Conceptualising and Operationalising Consumer Meanings," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 111(4), pages 551-565, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:111:y:2012:i:4:p:551-565
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-012-1339-x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Spiggle, Susan, 1994. " Analysis and Interpretation of Qualitative Data in Consumer Research," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(3), pages 491-503, December.
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    10. 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.
    11. 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.
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    Cited by:

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    3. Mbaye Fall Diallo & Christine Lambey-Checchin, 2017. "Consumers’ Perceptions of Retail Business Ethics and Loyalty to the Retailer: The Moderating Role of Social Discount Practices," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 141(3), pages 435-449, March.
    4. Antonetti, Paolo & Anesa, Mattia, 2017. "Consumer reactions to corporate tax strategies: The role of political ideology," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 1-10.
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    6. repec:kap:jbuset:v:148:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s10551-015-2985-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:kap:jbuset:v:144:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10551-015-2855-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Bianca Grohmann & H. Bodur, 2015. "Brand Social Responsibility: Conceptualization, Measurement, and Outcomes," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 131(2), pages 375-399, October.
    9. Sudbury-Riley, Lynn & Kohlbacher, Florian, 2016. "Ethically minded consumer behavior: Scale review, development, and validation," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(8), pages 2697-2710.
    10. Karaosmanoglu, Elif & Altinigne, Nesenur & Isiksal, Didem Gamze, 2016. "CSR motivation and customer extra-role behavior: Moderation of ethical corporate identity," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(10), pages 4161-4167.
    11. Tom Laer, 2014. "The Means to Justify the End: Combating Cyber Harassment in Social Media," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 123(1), pages 85-98, August.
    12. 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, vol. 111(4), pages 541-549, December.

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