Consumer Response to Unethical Corporate Behavior: A Re-Examination and Extension of the Moral Decoupling Model
Authors: Kristina Haberstroh. Ulrich Orth, Stefan Hoffmann, Berit Brunk (Journal of Business Ethics, 2017, vol. 140, issue 1, 161-173)
This research replicates Bhattacharjee et al. (J Consum Res 39(4):1167–1184, 2013) moral decoupling model and extends the original along the dimensions of theory, method, and context. Adopting a branding perspective and focusing on the corporate domain rather than the public figures investigated by Bhattacharjee and colleagues, this research examines the proposition that consumers dissociate judgments of morality from judgments of performance to justify purchasing from companies deemed to act immorally. The original study is further extended by applying the model in a different cultural context and employing a more realistic stimulus to establish external and ecological validity. The results of the replication generally support the original findings, in particular, under conditions of higher product involvement, a theoretical extension.
Keywords: Firm ethics; Germany; Moral decoupling; Product involvement; Replication; Retail