The Developmental Process of Unethical Consumer Behavior : An Investigation Grounded in China

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-432
Journal / PublicationJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number2
Online published13 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - May 2015


This study seeks to understand how consumers make unethical decisions and how unethical consumer behavior (UCB) is formed in a relational society. By taking a relational interactive perspective and adopting a grounded theory approach, we have developed a theoretical framework for examining UCB's developmental process in a relational society. The framework reveals 4 levels (i.e., the socio-cultural, individual psychological, situational, and individual behavioral levels) and 12 paths of UCB formation. Importantly, this study finds that UCB in a relational society is influenced by guanxi-oriented social culture so deeply that it cannot be considered the result of a purely individual behavior choice.

Research Area(s)

  • Unethical consumer behavior, Relational interaction, Consumer ethics, Guanxi