Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 140, Issue 1, pp 161–173 | Cite as

Consumer Response to Unethical Corporate Behavior: A Re-Examination and Extension of the Moral Decoupling Model

  • Kristina Haberstroh
  • Ulrich R. OrthEmail author
  • Stefan Hoffmann
  • Berit Brunk


This research replicates Bhattacharjee et al. (J Consum Res 39(4):1167–1184, 2013) moral decoupling model and extends the original along the dimensions of theory, method, and context. Adopting a branding perspective and focusing on the corporate domain rather than the public figures investigated by Bhattacharjee and colleagues, this research examines the proposition that consumers dissociate judgments of morality from judgments of performance to justify purchasing from companies deemed to act immorally. The original study is further extended by applying the model in a different cultural context and employing a more realistic stimulus to establish external and ecological validity. The results of the replication generally support the original findings, in particular, under conditions of higher product involvement, a theoretical extension.


Firm ethics Germany Moral decoupling Product involvement Replication Retail 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristina Haberstroh
    • 1
  • Ulrich R. Orth
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  • Stefan Hoffmann
    • 2
  • Berit Brunk
    • 1
  1. 1.A&F Marketing – Consumer PsychologyChristian-Albrechts-Universität KielKielGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Business Administration, MarketingChristian-Albrechts-Universität KielKielGermany
  3. 3.School of BusinessUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  4. 4.University of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia

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