The myth of the ethical consumer – do ethics matter in purchase behaviour?

Marylyn Carrigan, Ahmad Attalla

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1020 Citations (Scopus)


Marketing ethics and social responsibility are inherently controversial, and years of research continue to present conflicts and challenges for marketers on the value of a socially responsible approach to marketing activities. This article examines whether or not consumers care about ethical behaviour, and investigates the effect of good and bad ethical conduct on consumer purchase behaviour. Through focus group discussions it becomes clear that although we are more sophisticated as consumers today, this does not necessarily translate into behaviour which favours ethical companies and punishes unethical firms. The article concludes by some thoughts on how marketers might encourage consumers to engage in positive purchase behaviour in favour of ethical marketing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)560-578
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Consumer Marketing
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2001


  • Consumer behaviour
  • Ethics
  • Marketing
  • Social responsibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing


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