The myth of the ethical consumer – do ethics matter in purchase behaviour?

Marylyn Carrigan (Lecturer, University of Birmingham, Department of Commerce, Birmingham, UK)
Ahmad Attalla (Graduate, University of Birmingham, Department of Commerce, Birmingham, UK)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Publication date: 1 December 2001

Abstract

Marketing ethics and social responsibility are inherently controversial, and years of research continue to present conflicts and challenges for marketers on the value of a socially responsible approach to marketing activities. This article examines whether or not consumers care about ethical behaviour, and investigates the effect of good and bad ethical conduct on consumer purchase behaviour. Through focus group discussions it becomes clear that although we are more sophisticated as consumers today, this does not necessarily translate into behaviour which favours ethical companies and punishes unethical firms. The article concludes by some thoughts on how marketers might encourage consumers to engage in positive purchase behaviour in favour of ethical marketing.

Keywords

Citation

Carrigan, M. and Attalla, A. (2001), "The myth of the ethical consumer – do ethics matter in purchase behaviour?", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 18 No. 7, pp. 560-578. https://doi.org/10.1108/07363760110410263

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Publisher

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MCB UP Ltd

Copyright © 2001, MCB UP Limited

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