Our article for seminar three is called Consumer Ethics in the European Union: a Comparison of Northern and Southern Views. It discusses the issue of a single European market and the cultural problems that occur in this growing integrated market. The authors have divided the European consumers into those in Northern EU countries and those in Southern EU countries. The article presents research that examines whether there are differences between Northern and Southern EU consumers, using a CES-construct. CES stands for Consumer Ethics Scale and was originally developed by Muncy and Vitell in the early 1970's. It identified four distinct constructs or categories of ethically questionable consumer behavior, which was later found reliable across countries.
[...] The northern group was more concerned with illegal activities and the southern group was more concerned with questionable activities which are a contrast to former studies. Nevertheless it has to be clear that the four factors just explained 51% of the variance in the data. Although the consumer activities could be shown, the data were not as significant as the authors wished them to be. Furthermore, other studies with non-US countries have found different ordinal rankings concerning the constructs. Whether it is nice to have a study which shows up clear results, the limits of such a report always have to be considered, like for example, the transfer of the CES study from the US-market to the European one without concerning any differences when it comes to customer behaviors. [...]
[...] Nevertheless, the countries which were chosen for the study might not represent the consumer attitude of all other north- and south- European countries. Another problem is that other impacts, like the relationships between the consumers and the firms which can include ethical concerning, were not observed. We think that, whether the differences between south and north are just small and the authors see the EU as one union of customers markets, consumer habits are not similar, even if countries are in the same trading block. [...]
[...] Moreover, business ethics in Northern and Western Europe have acquired a certain momentum during the last 15 years while Southern and Eastern business ethics might has been slower to “catch Since there are generally important ethical differences between industrialized and developing countries, consumer ethics between both types should also be different and this means that firms dealing throughout the EU would be interacting with consumers who have differing ethical outlooks i.e. different cultures and thus they have to be conquered by adapted marketing approach's! [...]
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