• Investigating Ethical Decision Making in Marketing Research: An Exploratory Study Towards the Interaction of Different Moral Agents in Marketing Research

      Fukukawa, Kyoko; Reynolds, Nina L.; Bimpli, Iva
      The premise of this study is the in-depth exploration and investigation of the nature of Ethical Decision Making (EDM) in marketing research. More specifically, this research is concerned with exploring the understanding and the holistic conceptualisation of Ethical Decision Making (EDM) through the investigation of different moral agents in marketing research in the United Kingdom. In particular, marketing research researchers’ (MR researchers) and marketing research respondents’ (MR respondents) ethical judgements and behavioural intentions have been investigated based on two marketing research techniques that generate ethical issues; neuromarketing [NM] and autoethnography [AE], Despite the examination of the two aforementioned moral agents, at the heart of this thesis has been the investigation of MR researchers’ (un)willingness to adopt or practice (i.e. behavioural intentions) these marketing research techniques. This study employed a qualitative design and was initiated on descriptive behavioural ethics, in order to investigate MR researchers’ behavioural intentions, while it has a nonnative purpose towards norm generation in the field. Thus, the Theory of Planned Behaviour’ and the ‘General Theory of Marketing Ethics’ (i.e. H-V model) were applied for the initial theoretical considerations of this thesis. By utilising descriptive and nonnative ethical accounts, this study has found that Ethical Decision Making (EDM) in marketing research is grounded in a social contract ethics foundation of a multidimensional structural functionalistic premise. Within this ethical setting the MR researcher is considering the MR respondent’s decision making processes with regards to norm generation, governed by social consensus, social proof and conformity. This results from a multidimensional interdependent social interaction of the two moral agents. Finally, this thesis concludes that Ethical Decision Making (EDM) in marketing research is not conceptualised in a linear progressive manner, but it consists of numerous constructs that fit with each other in a rather loosely coupled modular manner depicting a rather complex and dynamic system of multilayered factors and multi-dimensional constructs.