The Myth Of The Ethical Consumer Article Review Example
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Business ethics and social responsibility are contentious in marketing. It continues to present challenges for marketers on the ethical business conduct approach to marketing activities (Brenkert, 2008). This paper critically evaluates the Myth of Ethical Consumer behavior article to examine consumers’ approach towards products of companies that have unethical behavior.
In the article, the qualitative method used does not provide sufficient information on ethical marketing. The scope of consumers who gave feedback is small. The use of focus group eases the process of getting feedback from the consumers. However, it is ineffective because some group members influence the contribution of other members. The paper could use a comprehensive methodology that offers a wider scope of consumers. Feedback from a small group of consumers cannot support conclusions about ethical purchase behavior.
Since the paper argues that companies such as Nike practice unethical behavior by exploiting workers in developing emerging markets, the survey should have focused on consumers from those markets. This paper differs with the authors of the article in the conduct of Nike Company. The authors agree that though the wages paid by Nike to its workers in the developing countries are low, based on the living standards in those countries the wage is okay. In most developing countries, majority of the people, including the employed, spend nearly all their income on basic needs. A company cannot rely on the living standard of a country in order to exploit its workers. If a worker cannot afford a drive or a good housing, low pay cannot be justifiable by whichever measure. The authors also state that Nike’s workers in developing countries would otherwise be unemployed if it were not for the company. This might be true but taking advantage of a desperate unemployed person in a developing country is a high degree of socially unethical.
Business ethics and social responsibility do not affect buying patterns. Most consumers only establish the quality of the product offered in the market and do not consider the businesses’ history (Ferrell, Fraedrich & Ferrell, 2005). The article fails to recognize this as a big problem but assumes it as normal. British consumers appear only to care for themselves only and purchase products from businesses that exploit other people in emerging economies. It has been a position held for long by the Western countries to uphold ethical behavior and social responsibility by businesses. This should be not only implemented by the government, but also by the responsible citizens (Audi, 2009).
The British marketers to a bigger percentage take care of the ethical behavior of the products that they market. For example, advertisements for smoking cigarettes and its effects on the smoker’s health. They also maintain ethics in marketing poor quality or defective products. In comparison, the Chinese businesses and their marketers can market anything irrespective of how much defective the product is. This unethical conduct does not get the weight it requires in the article. Unlike in Britain, in China business ethics is not a key aspect that the Chinese government is keen on implementing (Dennis, Hung-Gay & Steven, 1999). Chinese businesses knowingly market defective commodities within or outside China. This exposes the consumers of their products vulnerable to poor quality products. The authors do not mention the impact that this unethical behavior can cause to the consumers and the business in the long run.
The qualitative method used by the authors does not provide comprehensive report on business ethical conduct and consumers purchases. The research should focus on a larger and widespread group rather than a small group and reach many people living in places where there are more claims of exploitation. Business ethics and social responsibility are important elements to a business in a competitive market. Though many people only consider their direct involvement with businesses, it is good also to look at the businesses conduct. For instance, a business that exploits its workers in the developing countries is unethical. It is not the fault of people in poor countries for having high levels of unemployment which makes the workers cling to the job no matter how poorly it pays. Such a business should be forced to act ethically by everyone, even in countries where it acts ethically. The article does not give ways on how unethical businesses can be made to act responsibly.
Audi, R. (2009). Business ethics and ethical business. New York, Oxford University Press.
Brenkert, G. G. (2008). Marketing ethics. Malden, MA, Blackwell Pub.
Carrigan, M., & Attalla, A. (2001). The myth of the ethical consumer do ethics matter in purchase behaviour? Journal of Consumer Marketing. 18, 560-578.
Carrington, M. J., Neville, B. A., & Whitwell, G. J. (2010). Why Ethical Consumers Don’t Walk Their Talk: Towards a Framework for Understanding the Gap Between the Ethical Purchase Intentions and Actual Buying Behavior of Ethically Minded Consumers. Journal of Business Ethics. 97, 139-158.
Dennis A. Pitta, Hung-Gay Fung, & Steven Isberg. (1999). Ethical issues across cultures: managing the differing perspectives of China and the USA. Journal of Consumer Marketing. 16.
Ferrell, O. C., Fraedrich, J., & Ferrell, L. (2005). Business ethics: ethical decision making and cases. Boston, Houghton Mifflin Co.
Grewal, D., & Levy, M. (2010). Marketing. Boston, McGraw-Hill Irwin.
Kerin, R. A. (2006). Marketing. New York, McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
Lamb, C. W., Hair, J. F., & Mcdaniel, C. D. (2006). Marketing. Mason, Ohio, Thomson/South-Western.
Murphy, P. E. (2005). Ethical marketing. Upper Saddle River, N.J., Pearson Prentice Hall.
Pride, W. M., & Ferrell, O. C. (2008). Marketing. Boston, Houghton Mifflin Co.
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