Does Consumer Unethical Behavior Relate to Birthplace? Evidence from China

Journal of Business Ethics 113 (3):475-488 (2013)

This study explores the relationship between individual birthplace [rural birthplace (RB) and urban birthplace (UB)] and consumer unethical behavior (CUB). As a result, CUB is verified to closely relate to individual birthplace, and those new urban residents with RB are found to behave more ethically than the patrimonial urban residents with UB in CUB4 (“no harm/no foul”). This study also finds that the differentiation of CUB between two categories of consumers is correlated with the personal moral ideology or Machiavellianism (MA) functioning with varying degree, which idealism ideology is a main variable impacting on the unethical behaviors of the members born in the rural subculture while MA for those in the urban one. Additionally, the “no harm/no foul” (CUB4) and the “actively benefiting from a questionable action” (CUB3) in the list of CUBs are found to be more efficient in discriminating the two groups than the other two kinds, the “passively benefiting at the expense of others” (CUB2) and the “actively benefiting from an illegal activity” (CUB1). The results shed light on the roles of individual birthplace in influencing CUB and contribute to a better understanding on the effects of subculture on CUB
Keywords Birthplace  Consumer ethics  Consumer unethical behaviors  Ethical differentiation  Subculture  Urban–rural dual market of China
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-012-1317-3
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