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Measuring Unethical Consumer Behavior Across Four Countries

Mitchell, V-W., Balabanis, G., Schlegelmilch, B. B. & Cornwell, T. B. (2009). Measuring Unethical Consumer Behavior Across Four Countries. Journal of Business Ethics, 88(2), pp. 395-412. doi: 10.1007/s10551-008-9971-1


The huge amounts spent on store security and crime prevention worldwide, not only costs international businesses, but also amounts to a hidden tax on those law-binding consumers who bear higher prices. Most previous research has focused on shoplifting and ignored many other ways in which consumers cheat businesses. Using a hybrid of both qualitative research and survey approaches in four countries, an index of 37 activities was developed to examine consumers’ unethical activities across UK, US, France, and Austria. The findings indicate that around three quarters of consumers in all four countries can be classified as heavy offenders for these minor cheats. The paper argues that government agencies, marketers, and retailers should adopt more pro-active preventative approaches, rather than reactive loss limitation measures to combat unethical behavior.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: The final publication is available at Springer via
Publisher Keywords: consumers, international, misbehavior, unethical, latent class analysis
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
Text - Accepted Version
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