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Acquiescence or Resistance: Group Norms and Self-Interest Motivation in Unethical Consumer Behaviour

Yongbo Sun () and Jiajia Zhang ()
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Yongbo Sun: Business School, Beijing Technology and Business University, Beijing 100048, China
Jiajia Zhang: Business School, Beijing Technology and Business University, Beijing 100048, China

Sustainability, 2019, vol. 11, issue 8, 1-25

Abstract: Understanding why consumers behave unethically has gained scholarly attention; many studies have examined it from psychological or social environmental perspectives. However, few studies provide the link between internal and external factors associated with unethical behaviours, and few studies explain why consumers ‘behave unethically knowingly’ in a China-specific context. Based on moral disengagement theory, the current research aims to provide a comprehensive developmental model to investigate how group norms and self-interest motivation affect consumers’ unethical behavioural intentions and to analyse the mechanism of ‘behaving unethically knowingly’. Findings from online surveys of 360 participants indicate that group recognition and an egoism motivation have positive effects on consumers’ unethical behavioural intentions, while group veto and an altruistic motivation have negative effects on unethical behavioural intentions; moral disengagement mediates the relationship between group recognition, group veto, egoism motivation, altruistic motivation and unethical behavioural intentions; moral identity negatively moderates the relationship between group recognition, altruistic motivation and unethical behavioural intentions. The theoretical and practical implications are also discussed.

Keywords: group recognition; group veto; egoism motivation; altruistic motivation; unethical behavioural intention; moral disengagement (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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