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An empirical assessment of the relationship between character/ethics education and consumer behavior at the tweens segment: the case of Egypt

Noha El‐Bassiouny (Lecturer in Marketing at the German University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt)
Ahmed Taher (Adjunct Professor of Marketing at the American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt)
Ehab Abou‐Aish (Associate Professor of Marketing, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt)

Young Consumers

ISSN: 1747-3616

Article publication date: 14 June 2011




The current study seeks to focus on highlighting the extent of changes in consumer behavior by character/ethics education. The research is designed as a pioneer empirical study, sampling Egypt as an example of a growing consumer market as well as an illustration of the relevance of character education programs for inducing changes in consumption patterns. The central aim of the work is to contribute to the body of knowledge of marketing science and marketing ethics with respect to strategic issues like targeting new and growing consumer segments. The practical relevance of the chosen research problem is increasing as character/ethics education (as a trend) itself is increasing, thus possibly influencing the behavior and consumption patterns of children as current and potential buyers of goods and services in the market. In addition, the research proposes character education as a potential solution to growing concerns about childhood consumerism.


The research utilized a mixed research methodology, where qualitative research was first used to develop the model, which was tested using a quantitative approach through a post‐test only control group design. Four variables were tested, namely consumption style, opinion leadership, humanitarianism, and ethnocentrism. The best‐known scales in the consumer research literature were compiled and modified to form the instrument for this research.


The results showed an overall significant difference between the consumer behavior of the test and control groups.

Research limitations/implications

The present empirical study focused on the effect of character education programs on tweens in Egypt. Future research should extend into testing other forms of character development such as social‐emotional learning, positive psychology, and Montessori education. Cross‐cultural research is also recommended in this largely under‐represented area.

Practical implications

Character education is a growing trend. Marketers can benefit from this research, as they are more able to assess the consumption behavior of a growing market segment. Government officials and public policy makers can also make use of the research in their decisions related to implementing character education programs.

Social implications

Humanitarianism was an obvious dimension of character education effects. The present research indicates that children exposed to character education are likely to exhibit ethical consumption on the consumer level as well as a greater inclination toward corporate social responsibility (CSR) on the managerial level. On the other hand, marketers can utilize the present research results to take note of their societal contributions and achieve balance in the societal marketing triad through assessing the long‐term effects of their actions on consumers, especially young consumers.


The research is ground‐breaking in its assessment of the overlaps between character education and consumer behavior. The research is important for parents, educators, marketers, and policy makers.



El‐Bassiouny, N., Taher, A. and Abou‐Aish, E. (2011), "An empirical assessment of the relationship between character/ethics education and consumer behavior at the tweens segment: the case of Egypt", Young Consumers, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 159-170.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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