Journal of Business Ethics 76 (2):147-154 (2007)

There has been an intellectual debate at least since the 1960s in business ethics on the role of the media in relation to consumer choice driven by either habits or rationality. If consumers are totally rational, then the global media and global corporations provide just information and knowledge. If consumers are influenced by habit then large corporations and global media can greatly influence consumer choice and create problems of self-control (Ainslie, 1992, Pico Economics: The Strategic Interaction of Successive Motivational States Within the Person, Cambridge University press, Cambridge). In this article, we provide a synthesis and integrated approach to this continuing debate. We provide a more institutional approach to consumer choice based on social conventions, rather than just on individual habits and lapses in self-control.
Keywords habits  rationality  social conventions  self-control  self-restraint  global media
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-006-9263-6
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