Ethics, Ethical Behaviour and Ethical Issues – Consumer Behaviour

Ethical behaviour refers to behaviour that is ethically and morally correct according to the society. An ethical behaviour is legal in the eyes of law, is based on everyone`s best interests and leads to the welfare of the society.

Ethics are general principles of right conduct that direct the decisions and activities of an individual or an organization. Every society has a general set of standards of what is good or bad and right or wrong, and expects all members to adhere to the ethnic norms and morals of the society.

Ethics, Morals and Values of a society may be determined on the basis of Religion, Culture, Social Norms, Morals, Traditions and Laws that prevail in a society or country. 

An organization must study and satisfy the ethical concerns of the society and avoid developing products and advertisements that leads to undesirable consumer behaviour or confuses or misleads the customer or hurt his personal or cultural sentiments. Special care must be taken when dealing with products and advertisements meant for children as they get influenced easily.

An organization must adhere with the cultural norms and ethical standards of the society and must maintain high operating standards that are directed towards the welfare of the members of the society.

The broad areas where an organization needs to serve ethically are:

  1. Health & Occupational Safety

  2. Fair Labour Practices

  3. Consumer Protection and Fair treatment

  4. Environmental and Legal Protection

Ethical Issues in Consumer Behaviour

The ethical issues or concerns in consumer behaviour arise in the following:

  1. Consumer Privacy

  2. Legal Regulations

  3. Moral and Ethical values of the society

  4. Marketing and advertising to children

  5. Product, Pricing and distribution issues

A marketer must comply with all the ethical concerns of the society and avoid using a strategy that violates the ethical and moral values of the society. The following points must be kept in mind by a business to be perceived as an ethical and socially responsible business:

  1. All facts and details about the product/service must be clearly revealed to the customer

  2. Consumer`s personal information must be kept private and safe

  3. Special care must be taken when advertising to children

  4. All the central, state and local laws must be complied with

  5. Advertisements (T.V., Radio, Newsaper, Magazine, Internet) and promotions must not be misleading or deceptive

  6. The company must be accountable and responsible for any loss, injury, damage due to product failure

  7. Products must be inspected properly for quality before they are put for sale

  8. Pricing of products must not be discriminatory or unfair

  9. A business must develop ethical business practices and be socially responsible while making business decisions

  10. A business must have a systematic feedback and complaint management system

  11. A business must care about its customers and their environment

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