Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 15, Issue 7, pp 805–814 | Cite as

Consumer ethics: An assessment of individual behavior in the market place

  • Sam Fullerton
  • Kathleen B. Kerch
  • H. Robert Dodge


A national sample of 362 respondents assessed the ethical predisposition of the American marketplace by calculating a consumer ethics index. The results indicate that the population is quite intolerant of perceived ethical abuses. The situations where consumers are ambivalent tend to be those where the seller suffers little or no economic harm from the consumer's action. Younger, more educated, and higher income consumers appear more accepting of these transgressions. The results provided the basis for developing a four-group taxonomy of consumers which retailers should find insightful in assessing potential consumer actions in a variety of situations.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sam Fullerton
    • 1
  • Kathleen B. Kerch
    • 1
  • H. Robert Dodge
    • 1
  1. 1.Eastern Michigan UniversityYpsilantiUSA

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