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Consumer Ethics: An Empirical Investigation of the Ethical Beliefs in Mainland China

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2 Author(s)
Tian Zhi-long ; Management College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, P.R.China, 430074 ; Zhao Bao-chun

In the historically unique innovation of mainland China after 1980s, involved in the conflicts between traditional and modern, native and imported ethical standards, what do the consumers prefer in their ethical judgments? In the background of the rapid integration of global market, it seems to be a topic worthy of deep research. This study based on sample (N=1179) from mainland China, measures consumers' ethical beliefs, and uses two ethical philosophical variables, ethical ideology (relativism and idealism) and Machiavellianism to analyze cause of their ethical behaviors. Additionally, it is tested whether seven demographical variables including birthplace of respondents, have significant impact on their ethical cognition. As a result, it is found that consumers of mainland China insist on double-standards in their evaluation of various ethical situations and are polarized greatly in ethical ideology. Moreover demographic variables, sex, age, education, family annual income, occupation and birthplace, with an exception of marital status, are found to significantly influence the ethical beliefs of consumers in mainland China. For example, ethical level is positively correlative with age and negatively correlative with education experiences. Additionally, the results mentioned above are compared with those of three similar studies based completely or partially on samples of Hong Kong. In the end, some suggestions are given for future research.

Published in:

2007 International Conference on Management Science and Engineering

Date of Conference:

20-22 Aug. 2007