• Neutralization techniques as a moderating mechanism: ethically questionable behavior in the Romanian consumer context

      Fukukawa, Kyoko; Zaharie, M-M.; Romonti-Maniu, A-I. (2019-02)
      Based on an empirical investigation in the context of Romania, this paper identifies a moderating role of neutralization techniques within ethically questionable consumer behavior. The quantitative study is based upon a synthesized model of Theory of Planned Behavior incorporating the factor of perceived unfairness and neutralization techniques. Significantly, neutralization techniques are shown to have a negative, but definite impact on the action to behave unethically. This leads to their consideration as a process of thinking, rather than as static judgement. As such, neutralization techniques are conceptually distinctive to the other factors. The paper analyses the results specific to the Romanian context, but noting implications for an understanding of the morality of markets with similar historical, political and economic conditions. Overall, the findings offer a more nuanced reading of consumer behavior. The paper places moral flexibility in terms of a specific cultural context, but also reveals how neutralization techniques can moderate ethically questionable behaviors beyond matters of self-interest, which in turn has implications for how companies can consider their responsibilities in relation to their customers.