Measuring unethical consumer behavior across four countries

Journal of Business Ethics 88 (2):395 - 412 (2009)
The huge amounts spent on store security and crime prevention worldwide, not only costs international businesses, but also amounts to a hidden tax on those law-binding consumers who bear higher prices. Most previous research has focused on shoplifting and ignored many other ways in which consumers cheat businesses. Using a hybrid of both qualitative research and survey approaches in four countries, an index of 37 activities was developed to examine consumers’ unethical activities across UK, US, France, and Austria. The findings indicate that around three quarters of consumers in all four countries can be classified as heavy offenders for these minor cheats. The paper argues that government agencies, marketers, and retailers should adopt more pro-active preventative approaches, rather than reactive loss limitation measures to combat unethical behavior.
Keywords consumers  international  misbehavior  unethical  latent class analysis
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