Managerial and Public Attitudes Toward Ethics in Marketing Research

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7 Scopus citations


This research updates and significantly extends Akaah and Riordon's (J Market Res 26:112-120, 1989) evaluation of ethical perceptions of marketing research misconduct among marketing research professionals. In addition to examining changes in perceptions toward key marketing research practices over time, we assess professionals' judgments on the ethicality, importance, and occurrence of a variety of new marketing research ethics situations in both online and offline contexts. In a second study, we assess ethical judgments of the public at large using a representative sample of US consumers-key stakeholders ignored in prior research on unethical marketing research practices. Generally speaking, disapproval of unethical research conduct has grown across the board in the last 20 years for both managers and marketing researchers. The same misconduct elicits a stronger disapproval in the online environment compared to the offline environment. Compared to marketing researchers, managers tend to think that unethical research conduct occurs more frequently. Those who conduct marketing research or use its findings (i. e., marketing researchers and managers) are less tolerant of unethical research conduct than the general public.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-481
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments The authors would like to gratefully acknowledge the financial support provided by the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Administration at UMD. The authors would also like to thank Dr. Jean Jacobsen for her assistance in editing this manuscript.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Ethical judgments
  • Ethics
  • Managers
  • Marketing research
  • Misconduct
  • Professionals
  • Researchers


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