The Impacts of Ethical Ideology, Materialism, and Selected Demographics on Consumer Ethics: An Empirical Study in China

Ethics and Behavior 22 (4):315 - 331 (2012)
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This study attempts to investigate the relationships among the ethical beliefs of Chinese consumers and orientations based on attitudinal attributes: materialism and moral philosophies (idealism and relativism). In addition, this study examines Chinese consumers' ethical beliefs in relation to five selected demographic characteristics (gender, age, religion, family income and education). Based on this exploratory study of 284 Chinese consumers, the following statistically significant findings were discovered. First, Chinese consumers regard that a passively benefiting activity is more ethical, but actively benefiting from an illegal or a questionable activity is unacceptable. Second, the two dimensions of passively benefiting and no harm/no foul can be used to distinguish the consumers who endorse higher levels of idealism or relativism. Third, Chinese consumers with a high level of materialism are more likely to actively benefit from illegal and questionable activities, and the passively benefiting actions. Finally, the more ethical Chinese consumers seem to be younger, be religious, and have a lower family income



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