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Ethical perspectives on e-commerce: an empirical investigation

Gajendra Sharma (Department of Marketing Management, Liaoning Technical University, Huludao, China)
Wang Lijuan (Department of Marketing Management, Liaoning Technical University, Huludao, China)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 29 July 2014




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the various factors that influence consumer trust and privacy on e-commerce system and identify different ethical factors that affect consumer perceptions toward e-commerce adoption.


The theoretical background used in this study was critical theory on trust in e-commerce. Online survey from Second Life users was conducted to study ethical issues in e-commerce and their influencing factors.


The results were focussed on significance of e-commerce ethics on consumer purchase and its influence on online marketing. The ethical performance of the e-commerce web site will facilitate an increase in trust, which in turn enhances customer commitment and loyalty.

Research limitations/implications

The survey data in this study has some common method bias. The possibility of the existence of the common method bias cannot be completely eliminated. Security and privacy are the two major aspects that drive online businesses which lead online consumers to develop trust on the digital environment.

Practical implications

The findings on e-commerce ethical research will be useful for current management practice such as making business policies and strategies and sharing information to managers and organization leaders.


With the introduction of internet and e-commerce a large of companies has been performing their business transactions through electronic network. Increasing communication technologies has bought speedy changes in online business transactions. E-commerce networks are playing a pivotal role in online business and consumers are more concerned on ethical issues of e-commerce including security, privacy and trust.



The authors would like to thank National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), fund number: 71202117 for providing support of this study. The authors would like to express gratitude to the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions that greatly enhanced the manuscript quality. Many thanks to the editor of Internet Research for editing support.


Sharma, G. and Lijuan, W. (2014), "Ethical perspectives on e-commerce: an empirical investigation", Internet Research, Vol. 24 No. 4, pp. 414-435.



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