To quote from our textbook (Marketing in the 21st Century): “In any marketing situation, ethical behavior based on honest and proper conduct (‘what is right’ and ‘what is wrong’) should be followed. This applies both to situations involving company actions that affect the general public, employees, channel members, stockholders, and/or competitors and to situations involving company dealings with consumers. For each ethically questionable issue, the person considers alternative actions, makes a decision, and acts accordingly. He or she then faces the consequences, which affect future decisions.”

Here is an interesting (and fun) video on the role of ethics when conducting research. Unfortunately, sometimes, research results are fudged because there is pressure to show a certain desired result.



12 Replies to “Being Ethical in Marketing Research”

  1. Ethics is a big concern when conducting research (especially research on humans such as marketing research), and the video presented is effective in explaining why. As mentioned, there are some basic ethical principles involved in human research. Voluntary participation is extremely important. Participants should not feel obligated to participate in a study if they are not comfortable doing so. Furthermore, subjects should not be financially compensated for their participation because doing so can lead participants into giving false information solely for the purpose of a obtaining a monetary reward. These errors would definitely result in unreliable data. However, what I consider to be the most important part of research is privacy. Participants should never have to worry about their information being accessed by unauthorized parties. Breaches of confidentiality can ruin a person’s life so extreme measures should be taken to protect participant privacy.

  2. Ethics is the most important part of business. Employees, Employers, and Competitors should all follow ethics. It is the difference between what is right and what is wrong. I think that now a days ethics has been a bit of a lost art in business. Many people are wiling to do whatever it takes to make money even if it means unethical behavior.

  3. I believe being ethical is very important. I also have been raised that you need to be able to look yourself in the mirror and know you have don’t the right thing. However, in Marketing Research as well as Marketing itself anyone can interpret results the way they want to see them. If you just look at Banking Ads you will see a rate of 2% for a 1 year CD you say that is a great rate however if you read the fine print it maybe 2% the first two months. That isn’t 2 %. In the video it was fairly humorous how they spoke about the “whistle blower” no one wants to be a squeal however you can’t have your reputation ruined by fudging market research.

  4. Demonstrating ethics or ethical behavior is something that should be dire in all walks of life. As the video mentions, whether it be doctors taking a Hippocratic Oath or whether it be in business, ethics is something that should always be on the minds of individuals involved in the consumption process. I feel in this day and age, ethics are desperately lacking not only in marketing research but in life itself. People want to do whatever it takes to get what they want the cheapest, fastest, and most convenient way for them. However, that truly is a distorted way of thinking and we need to slowly but surely change that thought process. My whole life I was taught “Treat someone the way you want to be treated.” Thus, I live my life with that in mind and always try my hardest to be the best person I can be. Needless to say, we all make mistakes, but it is about doing what is right that matters. As the video mentions, we need ethics to be the most important part of business and life all together. This way, our world will be a better place for everyone–a healthier and happier place to live!

  5. Although there are many businesses that do not practice ethical behaviors, ethics is very important. If a company does not have ethical standards, there will be actions taken that will have negative repercussions. When trying to decide whether or not to do something, there needs to be ethics that is taken into consideration and helps to way out the options. Most of the time, if ethics is not involved and the wrong decision is made, it will come back to hurt the individual or company. Also, employers must always conduct their businesses to a high ethical standard so that the employees do not feel pressured to do something they know is wrong.

  6. Ethics in society is one of the most important things to “true” success. I say “true” success for a reason. Many people can illegally be financially successful, however they cheated and therefore in my opinion are not truly successful. In research often times the results are skewed because of pressure from the outside world. In my opinion most companies try to get away with as much as they possibly can without getting caught. Because the market is so competitive many people feel the need to cheat their way to the top. And while the government imposes more and more regulations every year, people still find a way to get around them. Ethical behavior is so vital to a successful life and it is unfortunate knowing that so many people are unethical in the way they do things.

  7. Being ethical in marketing research is the first important thing. However, for marketing researcher, it is very hard to comply this rule, because when you are trying to get reach to certain group of people, they are reluctant to do the questionaries. I used to work as an intern in a marketing research company in China. My job was to make phone calls randomly to ask people their views about cosmetics. The questions are very boring and takes a very long time, most people are reluctant to answer. As a result, I did not finish the task my director assign to me. Then she gave me a list of phone numbers that all are acquaintance. She asked me to call them and forge their name and identities. I had no choice but to forge the data for her. If I did not do that, it was impossible to finish that task on time.
    I felt very bad about the experience. However, I think it was not only my director’s fault. I was all that industry did so. I hope that there should be a law to prohibit that act.

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