Moral Philosophy, Materialism, and Consumer Ethics: An Exploratory Study in Indonesia [Book Review]

Journal of Business Ethics 94 (2):193 - 210 (2010)
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Abstract

Although the ethical judgment of consumers in the United States and other industrialized countries has received considerable attention, consumer ethics in Asian-market settings have seldom been explored. The purchase and making of counterfeit products are considered common, but disreputable, attributes of Southeast Asian consumers. According to the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Indonesia ranks third among the leading countries of counterfeit items in Asia. Retail revenue losses attributed to counterfeiting amounted to US $183 million in 2004. Therefore, elucidating the ethical perspectives of Indonesian consumers is an effective means of clarifying an important cultural influence on consumer behavior. This exploratory study of 230 Indonesians has many meaningful findings. First, certain personal attitudes apparently affect the ethical judgments of Indonesian consumers. Second, Indonesian consumers who exhibited high ethical concern over actively benefiting from illegal actions had high levels of materialism and idealism, as well as low levels of relativism. Third, materialism, idealism, and relativism significantly influenced whether benefits were created from actively engaging in some questionable activities (DELEGAL). Analytical results indicated that Indonesians with high materialism and relativism were more likely to engage in actions that were questionable but legal. Finally, consumer ethics were compared by applying demographic variables such as gender, age, education, religion, and occupation, indicating that all variables significantly varied except for religion

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