More extensive relevant references available upon request. Alexander, Lois (1983), "Proposed Legislation to Improve Statistical and Research Access to Federal Regulations," in Solutions to Ethical and Legal Problems in Social Research, eds. Chihling Liu, Lancaster University, UK, Philip M. Fernbach, University of Colorado, USA
Marketing research has experienced a resurgence with the widespread use of the internet and the popularity of social networking. One of the most serious ethical considerations involved in market research is invasion of privacy. Do the potential research benefits outweigh risks to the respondent and researcher? The marketing researcher facilitates the flow of … It is beyond the scope of any single paper to generate prescriptions for the ethical dilemmas now facing consumer researchers. The physical proximity of the respondent-researcher relationship changes as well. Whether or not researchers choose to reveal their purpose depends upon the research topic, design, and the observed population. He reports being in "a moral fix" (p. 275). Studying social worker/client relations, Johnson (1975) found that establishing trust was one of the most difficult parts of a field project. It appears that promising the youths confidentiality, "primed" them to become suspicious that the information would not remain confidential. Research ethics is a vast subject, and in this article, we will give you the basics of it. It is very important to have ethics in marketing research because everyone involved from the clients and the public to the respondents and the researchers all have rights and obligations. Ethical Issues in Marketing Research 1. MRA requires its members to review and commit to the Code as part of their membership application and annual membership renewal. Likewise, deceptive research in a laboratory situation is common in consumer research. This article will outline some of the common ethical and legal issues in marketing. Alexander, Lois (1983), "Proposed Legislation to Improve Statistical and Research Access to Federal Regulations," in Solutions to Ethical and Legal Problems in Social Research, eds. Van Maanen's (1983) field work on police activities, for example, resulted in court subpoena requesting his field notes. (1964), "Some Aspects of Ethics in Marketing Research," Journal of Marketing Research, 1 (2), 26-31. An extreme example was a group of Viet Nam era U.S. Army deserters given political asylum in Sweden. Ethical decisions are essentially value judgements which researchers must face according to their own standards. Hirschman, Elizabeth C. (1992), "The Consciousness of Addiction: Toward a General Theory of Compulsive Consumption," Journal of Consumer Research, 19 (September), 155-179. While empirical researchers are always careful to publish 'p' values establishing the "significance" of their results, ethical considerations should be of equal importance. While it might be tempting for a researcher to pose as an addict or even to capitalize on an addiction to gain access to a group, using information gained from restricted organizations is, at best, ethically questionable. Hirschman (1993) provides an interesting perspective on this notion in a study examining feminism. HISTORICAL CONTEXT OF ETHICAL ISSUES IN MARKETING. Assuming and maintaining respondent confidentiality on even sensitive topics is fairly straightforward; withholding illegal information is an entirely different matter. Membership in ACR is relatively inexpensive, but brings significant benefits to its members. Consumer research often includes pretesting to insure valid results; it is often equally feasible to pretest ethical concerns (Berscheid, Baron, Dermer, and Libman 1973). Robert M. Emerson, Prospect Heights, IL: Waneland Press, 269-287. First, it is important that consumer researchers address ethical issues within the discipline before outsiders-such as the government, or university administrations-address them (Twedt 1963). Robert F. Boruch and Joe S. Cecil, New York, NY: Academic Press, 273-292. Had the case not been dropped before going to court, Van Maanen was to face contempt of court charges. Ethical Issues in Marketing Research - Free download as Word Doc (.doc / .docx), PDF File (.pdf), Text File (.txt) or read online for free. The services of our members provide decision makers with essential information with which to make intellig… Just as the "caveat emptor" philosophy in the early days of marketing has been replaced with consumer rights, the focus of ethical research concerns has changed. For example, ethnographic reports (e.g., Wallendorf and Arnould 1991), in-depth interviews (e.g., Schouten 1991), and field research (e.g., Belk, Wallendorf and Sherry 1989)-all well established research methods in other disciplines-have been used to explore new content areas in consumer research. Ethical Considerations of Marketing Research . Chicago, IL: Aldine. Kelman rightly noted that for many persons in this age group, sexual identity is a sensitive issue; self-doubts raised by this experiment could cause lingering effects on the participants in spite of adequate debriefing. O'Guinn, Thomas C. and Ronald J. Faber (1989), "Compulsive Buying: A Phenomenological Exploration," Journal of Consumer Research, 16 (September), 147-157. In this example, the research topic changes the level of intimacy between the consumer researcher and respondent(s). Rather, deception by way of not revealing all details about one's self is an accepted part of human relations. Ethical practices in marketing research will create effective answers for your organization’s questions and build trust and credibility with your employees, clients, and stakeholders. Further example of this type of ethical dilemma includes the infamous "Milgram Studies" of the early sixties (e.g., Milgram 1963) involving subjects who thought they had administered electrical shocks to the point of "killing" confederates posing as subjects. Making false, exaggerated, or unverified claims. Rather, by posing as a "watch queen," he was able to become part of the group and publish new insights into homosexual behavior. In this article, we identify resources for ethical decision … . Sagrin (1973), on the other hand, challenged researchers to respect the rights of people who do not wish to be researched. Tybout, Alice M. and Gerald Zaltman (1974), "Ethics in Marketing Research: Their Practical Relevance," Journal of Marketing Research, 11 (November), 357-368. For example, individuals don't necessarily "bare their souls" to casual acquaintances. Ethical issues in research is a topic worth discovering because it helps a person conducting a study to do their job in a quality way. As a result, … Under anonymous data collection procedures, assuring confidentiality is assumed because the researcher is unaware of respondent identity. Advances in Consumer Research Volume 21, 1994 Pages 392-396 ETHICAL CONCERNS IN MARKETING RESEARCH Jane Sojka, Washington State University Eric R. Spangenberg, Washington State University ABSTRACT - Although ethical issues in the discipline of marketing have been previously addressed , the expanding domain of the field of consumer research mandates that ethical issues be re-examined. Should MRA’s Standards and Ethics Committee (SEC) be made aware of circumst… Researchers who allow their own prejudices to skew their work tend to contribute to the perpetuation of stereotypes in advertising, the development of destructive social constructs and the enabling of unjust profiting from poverty. Hirschman, Elizabeth C. (1993) "Ideology in Consumer Research, 1980 and 1990: A Marxist and Feminist Critique," Journal of Consumer Research, 19 (March), 537-555. For example, Reamer (1979), in a study of juvenile status offenders (youths who have committed offenses that would not be considered crimes if committed by adults, such as running away from home), found that assuring subjects of confidentiality resulted in fewer responses to information about sensitive topics. Whether or not researchers choose to reveal their purpose depends upon the research topic, design, and the observed population. Indeed this program of research served as an impetus for psychologists to confront many of the ethical issues now before consumer researchers. If a researcher is engaging in research that might uncover such information, alerting his/her department chair prior to the probability is advisable. . In studying how experimental subjects view their responsibility in a research project, Epstein, Suedfeld and Silverstein (1973) found that a higher percentage of subjects who had never participated in an experiment were more concerned about honesty. Finally, our paper presents ethical guidelines for researchers to consider when designing research. Mike Rothschild, Provo, UT: Association for Consumer Research. Just as the marketing concept revolves around the customer, so too should consumer research focus on the welfare of the respondent. However, the changing context of current consumer research raises new implications for both of these issues. Anticipate Potential Ethical Conflicts Prior to Beginning the Research. Further example of this type of ethical dilemma includes the infamous "Milgram Studies" of the early sixties (e.g., Milgram 1963) involving subjects who thought they had administered electrical shocks to the point of "killing" confederates posing as subjects. Claire Renzetti and Raymond M. Lee, Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 249-266. Knerr (1982) suggests researchers take the following precautions to minimize the threat of legal action: (1) desensitize the research through design and statistical techniques rendering the data useless to legal authorities, or (2) store the data with a researcher residing outside the U.S. : Social Science, Privacy and Ethics. Perhaps if the researcher in the opening scenario had considered the issues raised above, he/she would not be wondering what to do now. Indeed, initial concern about marketing ethics and the reputation of the marketing discipline were probably valid. Market researchers must adhere to high ethical standards at all times: … As a result, consumer researchers have actively begun examining social issues such as drug addiction (Hirschman 1992), illicit drug consumption (Rose, Bearden and Teel 1992), homeless people (Hill 1992), and compulsive buying (O'Guinn and Faber 1989). Masters, T. (2013). Anticipation of potential consequences might also be an alternative to serving jail time. Perhaps consumer researchers should take a cue from addiction counselors who are strongly encouraged to donate a portion of counseling hours to clients who can't afford to pay. Hence, even in a laboratory situation, deceptive research techniques may lead to a general distrust of researchers and cast a disparaging tone on the discipline undertaking such work. For example, in the state of Washington, if child abuse is discovered, the researcher must report it to the police and to his/her supervisor within 24 hours. Two major public policy an ethics issues in marketing research are intrusions on consumer privacy and: Misuse of research findings _____ is never simple, yet understanding it is the essential task of marketing management. A mission-driven, win … It is fairly simple to ask a woman what kind of laundry detergent she uses; it is quite a different matter, however, to ask her why she chose to have breast implants. You find yourself in the uncomfortable and possibly illegal position of knowing more than you want to know. 3. 1. It would be a sad irony if, while striving to make a positive contribution, consumer researchers ethically violate the society they are attempting to improve. It is easier than ever before for companies to connect directly with customers and collect individual information that goes into a computer database to be matched with other pieces of data collected during unrelated transactions. Although directed primarily at marketing practitioners rather than academicians, the code was prompted by three main issues: (1) the desire to maintain public confidence in marketing research procedures; (2) the need to self-regulate the discipline before outsiders decided marketing research needed regulation; and (3) the concern to maintain a positive public image of marketing in general. By raising ethical issues, the discipline of consumer behavior can hopefully continue to grow and expand to make a positive contribution towards peace: "the one which all thought, feeling and ultimately all scholarship should aspire" (Hirschman and Holbrook 1992, p.126). Perhaps the first step for researchers in a phenomenological study should be to mentally reverse roles and ask how they would feel as a respondent participating in the proposed research. Steiner, Robert L. (1976), "The Prejudice Against Marketing," Journal of Marketing, 40 (July), 2-9. In fact, everyone in business is wise to develop moral fibers, because ethical problems often lead to legal problems, which bite into profits -- not to mention your career ladder. become sick, you have to conduct research on individuals, not on groups,” the researchers say. In 1963, when marketing was "still enough of an art so that it is unlikely that any two practitioners . Market Research Schouten, John W. (1978), "The Effect of Informed Consent Procedures on Respondents' Reactions to Surveys," Journal of Consumer Research, 5 (June), 49-57. He lamented that there are still "large numbers of vociferous critics who see nothing good in a field that tries to figure out, among other things, how to influence 10-year olds to demand something they do not need and cannot even use" (Farmer 1987, p. 111). DECEPTION Deceptive research, where the true purpose of the experiment is masked, is not only frequently used, but may in fact be necessary in the laboratory to avoid demand artifacts which could influence results (Sawyer 1975). Government legislation such as the 1974 Privacy Act limits the disclosure of records among federal agencies (Alexander 1983). Gardner, Gerald T. (1978), "Effects of Federal Human Subjects Regulations on Data Obtained in Environmental Stressor Research," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 36 (6), 628-634. Schouten, John W. (1984), "Public Reactions to Some Ethical Issues of Social Research: Attitudes and Behavior," Journal of Consumer Research 11 (June), 501-509. What are the kind of things we, as consumers, are worried about? While far from encompassing every situation a researcher may encounter, these guidelines might at least encourage researchers to ask "what if...?," thus raising the awareness of ethical issues in consumer research. Particularly when researching illegal activities or behaviors that might encourage illegal acts, protection of respondent confidentiality becomes an even thornier dilemma. Anticipate Potential Ethical Conflicts Prior to Beginning the Research. At least initially, promises of confidentiality may be helpful in establishing trust with respondents so that meaningful and valid data is obtained. Van Maanen's (1983) field work on police activities, for example, resulted in court subpoena requesting his field notes. This paper examines how disciplines outside of marketing have handled sensitive ethical issues and offers general guidelines for consumer researchers to consider when faced with decisions regarding research ethics. Other ethical issues-such as confidentiality and deceptionre-levant to current research were also addressed in early literature on marketing ethics (Tybout and Zaltman 1974). Although Farmer (1987) recanted pieces of his criticism of marketing ethics in an international context, the two earlier works in his trilogy were based on the premise that the discipline was largely unethical and unresponsive to major world needs (Farmer 1967; 1977). In a desperate bid to compel potential and existing … Sawyer, Alan G. (1975), "Demand Artifacts in Laboratory Experiments in Consumer Research," Journal of Consumer Research, 1 (March), 20-30. While researchers want to honor their commitment of respect towards subjects' desire for confidentiality, knowledge of illegal activity may place the research and researchers in jeopardy. Ethical Issues in. Deceptive field research might include quasi-experimental designs such as having a confederate pose as a shoplifter to see how other shoppers react. While it is possible to encourage respondents to share sensitive information about topics such as drinking and sexual behavior without an informed consent (Blair, Sudman, Bradburn, and Stocking 1977), it may be helpful in improving the probability of valid responses. Van Maanen, John (1983), "The Moral Fix: On the Ethics of Fieldwork," in Contemporary Field Research: A Collection of Readings, ed. By increasing the scope of consumer research to include social issues, and by utilizing qualitative research methods, researchers are finding themselves closer to their subjects: both in terms of physical proximity and level of intimacy. The way a company conducts its market research these days can have serious ethical repercussions, affecting the lives of consumers in ways that have yet to be full… Furthermore, the success of non-survey research-such as participant observation, field work, and interviews-is largely based on trust between researcher and respondent. (1963), "Selection of a Target for Defensive Projection," Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 66, 318-324. Reamer, Frederic G. (1979), "Protecting Research Subjects and Unintended Consequences: The Effect of Guarantees of Confidentiality," Public Opinion Quarterly, 43 (Winter), 497-506. Ethical decisions are essentially value judgements which researchers must face according to their own standards. The seven big problems will drive content for the entire AMA community: a multi-faceted and diverse group of professionals in marketing and sales, academic researchers and educators, and collegiate marketing hopefuls.The AMA’s intellectual agenda seeks to se… If unsure how the sample population might react to an experiment, the researcher could survey a sub-sample about ethical concerns. Asking permission to observe customers while they shop might change their behavior as well as cause embarrassment. The Insights Association represents companies and corporate research, insights and data analytics departments, and individuals working in the marketing, opinion and social research and data analytics industry and profession. Subsequent research suggests that offering an informed consent to respondents may prompt a halo effect; that is, respondents informed about the research prior to beginning the interview and assured of confidentiality through informed consent, tend toward more positive evaluations of the researcher and the research process in general (Singer 1978). Kelman (1967), however, noted ethical problems in controlled laboratory studies by Bramel (1962; 1963) for example, in which male undergraduates were led to believe they were sexually aroused by photographs of men. Gardner, Gerald T. 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