Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 361–373 | Cite as

Unpacking the Ethical Product

  • Andrew Crane
Article

Abstract

Acknowledging the increasing attention in the literature devoted to the incorporation of ethical considerations into consumers' purchase decisions, this paper explores the notion of an ethical product. It is argued that ethical issues have long been involved in consumers' product evaluations, but that there has been little academic investigation of ethics in terms of product concepts and theories. Ethics are thus examined in the context of the augmented product concept, and two dimensions of ethical augmentation are identified: direction and content. These dimensions are set out and discussed at some length, and then they are used to construct an ethical product matrix. It is shown how this could be used to provide structure and coherence to examinations of the perceived ethics of any given product offering. The implications of the analysis offered in the paper are discussed, and a number of limitations of the ethical product notion are identified. Finally some conclusions and directions for future research are suggested.

ethical augmentation ethical branding ethical consumption ethical product marketing product concepts 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Aldag, R. J. and K. M. Bartol: 1978, ‘Empirical Studies of Corporate Social Performance and Policy: A Survey of Problems and Results’, in L. E. Preston (ed.), Research in Corporate Social Performance and Policy, vol. 1 (JAI Press, Greenwich, Connecticut).Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, W. T. and W. H. Cunningham: 1972, ‘The Socially Conscious Consumer’, Journal of Marketing 36(3), 23–31.Google Scholar
  3. Andreasen, A. R.: 1996, ‘Profits for Nonprofits: Find a Corporate Partner’, Harvard Business Review (Nov-Dec), 47–59.Google Scholar
  4. Ashley, W. J.: 1912, ‘Preface’, in E. Cadbury (ed.), Experiments in Industrial Organization (Longman Green, London).Google Scholar
  5. Aupperle, K., A. Carroll and J. Hatfield: 1985, ‘An Empirical Examination of the Relationship Between Corporate Social Responsibility and Profitability’, Academy of Management Journal 28(2), 446–463.Google Scholar
  6. Bonner, A.: 1961, British Co-operation (Co-operative Union Ltd., Stockport).Google Scholar
  7. Brown, T. J. and P. A. Dacin: 1997, ‘The Company and the Product: Corporate Associations and Consumer Responses’, Journal of Marketing 61(1) (January), 68–84.Google Scholar
  8. BT: 1996, Putting Corporate Ethics on the Agenda (British Telecommunications plc, London).Google Scholar
  9. Burke, L. and J. M. Logsdon: 1996, ‘How Corporate Social Responsibility Pays Off’, Long Range Planning 29(4), 495–502.Google Scholar
  10. Cooper, G.: 1998, ‘Women Consumers “More Ethical Than Men”’, The Independent (Jan 12), 2.Google Scholar
  11. Corzine, R.: 1995, ‘Business and the Environment: Shell and That Sinking Feeling’, The Financial Times (July 5), 14.Google Scholar
  12. Crane, A.: 1997, ‘The Dynamics of Marketing Ethical Products: A Cultural Perspective’, Journal of Marketing Management 13(6), 561–577.Google Scholar
  13. Crane, A. and C. T. Ennew: 1995, ‘Marketing Ethics and the Ethics of Marketing: The Case of Environmentally Friendly Products’, Proceedings of the 1995 Annual Marketing Education Group Conference: Making Marketing Work 1, 184–193.Google Scholar
  14. CWS: 1995, Responsible Retailing (CWS Ltd., Manchester).Google Scholar
  15. Dooley, R. S. and L. D. Lerner: 1994, ‘Pollution, Profits, and Stakeholders: The Constraining Effect of Economic Performance on CEO Concern with Stakeholder Expectations’, Journal of Business Ethics 13, 701–711.Google Scholar
  16. Drumwright, M.: 1994, ‘Socially Responsible Organizational Buying: Environmental Concern as a Noneconomic Buying Criterion’, Journal of Marketing 58(3) (July), 1–19.Google Scholar
  17. Edwards, N.: 1997, ‘Here Today, Green Tomorrow’, Supply Management (Dec 11), 24–26.Google Scholar
  18. Fisk, G.: 1973, ‘Criteria for a Theory of Responsible Consumption’, Journal of Marketing 37(2) (April), 24–31.Google Scholar
  19. Fox, N.: 1996, ‘M&S Cracks Down on Suppliers After Attack’, The Times (Jan 21), 2/1.Google Scholar
  20. Gibb, F., T. Jones and P. Foster: 1998, ‘M&S Wins Swift Victory Over TV Child Labour Slur’, The Times (March 4), 3.Google Scholar
  21. Gray, R. H., R. Kouhy and S. Lavers: 1995, ‘Corporate Social and Environmental Reporting: A Review of the Literature and a Longitudinal Study of U.K. Disclosure’, Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal 8(2), 46–77.Google Scholar
  22. Harvey, B.: 1995, ‘Ethical Banking: The Case of the Co-operative Bank’, Journal of Business Ethics 14(12), 1005–1013.Google Scholar
  23. Iyer, E., B. Banerjee and C. Gulas: 1994, ‘An Exposé on Green Television Ads’, Advances in Consumer Research, vol. 21 (Association for Consumer Research, Chicago).Google Scholar
  24. Kangun, N. and M. J. Polonsky: 1995, ‘Regulation of Environmental Marketing Claims: A Comparative Perspective’, International Journal of Advertising 14(1), 1–24.Google Scholar
  25. Kinnear, T. C., J. R. Taylor and S. A. Ahmed: 1974, ‘Ecologically Concerned Consumers: Who Are They?’, Journal of Marketing 38(2) (April), 20–24.Google Scholar
  26. Kitson, A.: 1996, ‘Taking the Pulse: Ethics and the British Co-operative Bank’, Journal of Business Ethics 15(9), 1021–1031.Google Scholar
  27. Kotler, P., G. Armstrong, J. Saunders and V. Wong: 1999, Principles of Marketing (2/e European) (Prentice-Hall, Hemel Hempstead).Google Scholar
  28. Levitt, T.: 1980, ‘Marketing Success Through Differentiation-Of Anything’, Harvard Business Review (Jan-Feb), 83–91.Google Scholar
  29. Lill, D., C. Gross and R. Peterson: 1986, ‘The Inclusion of Social Responsibility Themes by Magazine Advertisers: A Longitudinal Study’, Journal of Advertising 15(2), 35–41.Google Scholar
  30. Martin, J.: 1985, ‘Can Organizational Culture Be Managed?’, in P. J. Frost, L. F. Moore, M. R. Louis, C. Lundberg and J. Martin (eds.), Organizational Culture (Sage Publications, Newbury Park, CA).Google Scholar
  31. McGuire, J. B., A. Sundgren and T. Schneeweis: 1988, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility and Firm Financial Performance’, Academy of Management Journal 31(4), 854–872.Google Scholar
  32. Mintzberg, H.: 1983, ‘The Case For Corporate Social Responsibility’, Journal of Business Strategy 4(2), 3–15.Google Scholar
  33. Mitchell, A.: 1997, ‘The Power of Ethical Branding’, Marketing Week (May 22), 26–27.Google Scholar
  34. National Consumer Council: 1996, Green Claims: A Consumer Investigation into Marketing Claims About the Environment (National Consumer Council, London).Google Scholar
  35. Nord, W. R.: 1985, ‘Can Organizational Culture Be Managed? A Synthesis’, in P. J. Frost, L. F. Moore, M. R. Louis, C. Lundberg and J. Martin (eds.), Organizational Culture (Sage, Newbury Park, CA).Google Scholar
  36. Ogbonna, E.: 1992, ‘Managing Organizational Culture: Fantasy or Reality?’, Human Resource Management Journal 3(2), 42–54.Google Scholar
  37. Owen, C. L. and R. F. Scherer: 1993, ‘Social Responsibility and Market Share’, Review of Business 15(1), 11–16.Google Scholar
  38. Patten, D. M.: 1992, ‘Intra-Industry Environmental Disclosures in Response to the Alaskan Oil Spill: A Note on Legitimacy Theory’, Accounting, Organizations and Society 17(5), 471–476.Google Scholar
  39. Peattie, K.: 1992, Green Marketing (Pitman, London).Google Scholar
  40. Post, J. E.: 1985, ‘Assessing the Nestle Boycott: Corporate Accountability and Human Rights’, California Management Review (Winter), 113–131.Google Scholar
  41. Preece, S., C. Fleisher and J. Toccacelli: 1995, ‘Building a Reputation Along the Value Chain at Levi Strauss’, Long Range Planning 28(6), 88–98.Google Scholar
  42. Prothero, A.: 1990, ‘Green Consumerism and the Societal Marketing Concept: Marketing Strategies for the 1990 s’, Journal of Marketing Management 6(2), 87–103.Google Scholar
  43. Rogers, D.: 1998, ‘Ethical Tactics Arouse Public Doubt’, Marketing (Aug. 6), 12–13.Google Scholar
  44. Sagoff, M.: 1986, ‘At the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, or Why Political Questions Are Not All Economic’, in D. VanDeVeer and C. Pierce (eds.), People, Penguins, And Plastic Trees: Basic Issues in Environmental Ethics (Wadsworth, Belmont).Google Scholar
  45. Schlegelmilch, B. B., G. Bohlen and A. Diamantopoulos: 1996, ‘The Link Between Green Purchasing Decisions and Measures of Environmental Consciousness’, European Journal of Marketing 30(5), 35–55.Google Scholar
  46. Shrum, L. J., J. A. McCarty and T. M. Lowrey: 1995, ‘Buyer Characteristics of the Green Consumer and their Implications for Advertising Strategy’, Journal of Advertising 24(2), 71–82.Google Scholar
  47. Smith, N. C.: 1990, Morality and the Market: Consumer Pressure for Corporate Accountability (Routledge, London).Google Scholar
  48. Smith, N. C.: 1995, ‘Marketing Ethics for the Ethics Era’, Sloan Management Review 36(4), 85–97.Google Scholar
  49. Strong, C.: 1996, ‘Features Contributing to the Growth of Ethical Consumerism-A Preliminary Investigation’, Marketing Intelligence & Planning 14(5), 5–13.Google Scholar
  50. Summers, D.: 1995, ‘Shell Shocked But Recovering’, The Financial Times (Aug 17), 7.Google Scholar
  51. Varadarajan, P. R. and A. Menon: 1988, ‘Cause-Related Marketing: A Coalignment of Marketing Strategy and Corporate Philanthropy’, Journal of Marketing 52(3) (July), 58–74.Google Scholar
  52. Vidal, J.: 1997, McLibel: Burger Culture on Trial (Macmillan, London).Google Scholar
  53. Waller, M.: 1999, ‘Fair Way to Heaven (Divine Chocs, That Is)’, The Times (Jan 30), 26.Google Scholar
  54. Wong, V., W. Turner and P. Stoneman: 1996, ‘Marketing Strategies and Market Prospects for Environmentally-Friendly Consumer Products’, British Journal of Management 7(3), 263–281.Google Scholar
  55. Zadek, S.: 1998, ‘Balancing Performance, Ethics and Accountability’, Journal of Business Ethics 17, 1421–1441.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew Crane
    • 1
  1. 1.Cardiff Business SchoolCardiff UniversityCardiffU.K.

Personalised recommendations