What is it about?

The ethics of retailers are vital for retailers' survival and long-term prosperity. This paper examines how consumers perceive retailer ethics. We conceptualize consumer perceptions of the ethics of retailers (CPER) as a multidimensional construct and investigate its effects on consumer purchase behavior and word-of-mouth communication. The model we developed was validated using responses from 399 Chinese consumers.

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Why is it important?

The issue of ethics has become pertinent to business strategy and operation. It is important to retailers because when consumers are unhappy with a retailer's unethical behavior, such as feeling misled or overcharged by the retailer, they will feel cheated and share their bad experiences with their peers by spreading negative word-of-mouth. With the proliferation of social media and mobile technologies, bad word-of-mouth can sink a big business. The study's findings indicate that CPER comprises product fairness, price fairness, non-deception, fair trade, and green products. CPER positively influences consumer purchase behavior and word-of-mouth.


The study's findings show that product fairness is the most significant factor of CPER. However, our alternative model's results demonstrate that price fairness plays the most important role in influencing consumer purchase behavior and word-of-mouth. It is worthwhile to explore further on the complicated interactions between CPER's components, ethical beliefs, consumer attitudes, and behaviors.

Professor W.M. To
Macao Polytechnic University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The Effect of Consumer Perceptions of the Ethics of Retailers on Purchase Behavior and Word-of-Mouth: The Moderating Role of Ethical Beliefs, Journal of Business Ethics, February 2020, Springer Science + Business Media, DOI: 10.1007/s10551-020-04431-6.
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