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The Effect of Consumer Perceptions of the Ethics of Retailers on Purchase Behavior and Word-of-Mouth: The Moderating Role of Ethical Beliefs

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  • Millissa F. Y. Cheung

    (Hong Kong Shue Yan University)

  • W. M. To

    (Macao Polytechnic Institute)

Abstract

This paper explores how consumers perceive retailer ethics. Based on a review of the marketing and consumer research literature, we conceptualize consumer perceptions of the ethics of retailers (CPER) as a multidimensional construct and propose that its effects on consumer purchase behavior and word-of-mouth communication are more salient when consumers have strong rather than weak ethical beliefs. The model was validated using a random sample of 399 respondents in a collectivist society. The results of structural equation modeling confirmed that CPER is a second-order construct comprising product fairness, price fairness, non-deception, fair trade, and green products. CPER positively predicted consumer purchase behavior and word-of-mouth communication. Moreover, ethical beliefs moderated the positive relationship between CPER and the word-of-mouth communication of consumers with strong ethical beliefs but did not moderate the relationship between CPER and purchase behavior. The implications of the findings are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Millissa F. Y. Cheung & W. M. To, 2021. "The Effect of Consumer Perceptions of the Ethics of Retailers on Purchase Behavior and Word-of-Mouth: The Moderating Role of Ethical Beliefs," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 171(4), pages 771-788, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:171:y:2021:i:4:d:10.1007_s10551-020-04431-6
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-020-04431-6
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    2. Niu, Ben & Mvondo, Gustave Florentin Nkoulou, 2024. "I Am ChatGPT, the ultimate AI Chatbot! Investigating the determinants of users' loyalty and ethical usage concerns of ChatGPT," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 76(C).
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    5. Li, Zhaotong & Wu, Min & Teo, Chee-Chong & Yuen, Kum Fai, 2024. "An investigation of consumer switching intention on the use of automated courier station from a signaling perspective," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 78(C).
    6. Landisoa Rabeson & Corina Paraschiv & Laurent Bertrandias & Régis Chenavaz, 2022. "Couple Ethical Purchase Behavior and Joint Decision Making: Understanding the Interaction Process and the Dynamics of Influence," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(13), pages 1-19, July.
    7. Mainardes, Emerson Wagner & Coutinho, Ananda Raquel Silva & Alves, Helena Maria Batista, 2023. "The influence of the ethics of E-retailers on online customer experience and customer satisfaction," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 70(C).
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