It is likely that deception in commerce has been evident since the growth of trading and the development of marketplaces in early history. But from the mid 20th century the tools and practices of marketing provided commentators new moral targets, in the dubious advertising and selling practices of modern corporations. But what is the morality of the process whereby consumers actively participate in deceiving themselves — in order, for example, to purchase and enjoy something they want but which they manifestly do not need? The term ‘seduction’ was applied to this type of deceptive transaction by Deighton and Grayson in a landmark paper in 1995. Yet despite the influence the work has had on the study of business ethics there has been surprisingly little testing of the concept. This paper seeks to address the imbalance between the conceptual development of the seduction concept and its empirical bases. Based on depth interviews describing recent purchasing decisions, subjects talked through their experiences and the impact they felt that marketing had on their behaviour. The research found evidence in several of the interviews of self‐deception and what has been described as seductive practice, and goes on to suggest an agenda for further study.
Chadderton, C. and Croft, R. (2006), "Who is kidding whom? A study of complicity, seduction and deception in the marketplace", Social Responsibility Journal, Vol. 2 No. 2, pp. 207-215. https://doi.org/10.1108/eb059274Download as .RIS
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