Consumer Ethics


A Perspective from the Asia Pacific Region, Special issue of Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics; Deadline 31 Oct 2017

Consumer Ethics: A Perspective from the Asia Pacific Region

Special issue call for papers from Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics

Guest editors:

Prof. Judy Zaichkowsky, Simon Fraser University, Canada
Dr. Felix Tang, Hang Seng Management College, Hong Kong

Introduction and Theme

This special issue broadly focuses on the interface and influence of local culture and globalization with respect to the attitudes, behavior and even government intervention to marketing practices and consumer responses.

Consumer orientation, a central tenet of marketing, calls for businesses to satisfy the needs and expectations of their customers. In some situations, however, practicing this tenet may pose a challenge because consumers’ actions sometimes border on the unethical, or are downright illegal. A recent incident in China epitomizes the need to understand consumer ethics. Specifically, some 300 disgruntled passengers refused to disembark a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, demanding compensation for the altered route, and they had to be forcibly removed because new passengers were held up (Liu 2016). While market expansion in this globalization era holds great promise, it also holds perils rooted in differences in culture and hence consumer views of responsibilities for actions, ownership of ideas, and creation of sustainable environments.

Conceivably, poor consumer ethics may result in a hostile business environment, an unhappy workplace for service personnel, and even a disruption of social harmony. On the bright side, “ethical consumerism” has led to prosocial behavior (e.g., green consumption, support for fair trade) on the part of both business and consumers. Given the extensive implications of consumer ethics, it is surprising that this important topic has not received more scholarly attention.

Since Muncy and Vitell’s (1992) pioneering work on consumer ethics, subsequent research has examined the theoretical foundation of consumer ethics (Van Kenhove, Vermeir, and Verniers 2001), the influence of culture (Belk, Devinney, and Eckhardt 2005), and the implications for marketing, such as consumers’ willingness to buy ethical products (De Pelsmacker, Driesen, and Rayp 2005). In recent years, there has been a gradual shift in emphasis from a dark-side perspective (e.g., counterfeit consumption [Tang, Tian, and Zaichkowsky 2014]) to a bright-side angle (e.g., support for fair trade [Chatzidakis, Kastanakis, and Stathopoulou 2016]).

The latest trend of consumer ethics research connects consumer ethics with business ethics by, for example, linking consumer ethics to corporate social responsibility (Ramasamy, Yeung, and Au 2010) or even consumer social responsibility (Vitell 2015). Now that twenty-five years have passed since Muncy and Vitell’s (1992) publication, however, consumer ethics still remains an under-researched area (Vitell et al. 2016).

Much of the extant research has focused on Western consumers, with relatively less attention being paid to Asian markets (Lu and Lu 2010). Consumer ethics holds a particular importance in Asia Pacific region, but little attention has been devoted to examine it. APJML in this special issue seeks to publish cutting edge information on topics relating to consumer ethics in the Asia Pacific. Papers are invited from scholars focusing on the Asia Pacific Region and dealing with (but not limited to) the following topics:

  • Responsibilities of government to set examples.
  • recent evolutions of consumer ethics
  • antecedents of consumer ethics
  • impact of consumer ethics on marketing
  • impact of consumer ethics on logistics
  • interplay of consumer ethics and business ethics
  • consumer ethics and culture
  • rampant issues of consumer ethics, such as green consumption, sustainable consumption, counterfeit consumption, etc.

Submission information

The deadline for submission is October 31st, 2017. Submitted manuscripts should follow the format as indicated in the author guidelines on the journal web site: To submit your article, from the author guidelines choose “submit to the journal” and when submitting ensure you choose this special issue from the drop down menu provided. All papers will go through a double blind peer review process.

If you have questions please contact the Guest Editor at:

Dr. Felix Tang
Hang Seng Management College
Hong Kong


Belk, Russell W., Timothy Devinney, and Giana Eckhardt (2005), “Consumer Ethics Across Cultures,” Consumption, Markets, and Culture, 8 (3), 275-289.

Chatzidakis, Andreas, Minas Kastanakis, and Anastasia Stathopoulou (2016), “Socio-Cognitive Determinants of Consumers’ Support for the Fair Trade Movement,” Journal of Business Ethics, 133 (1), 95-109.

De Pelsmacker, Patrick, Lisebeth Driesen, and Glenn Rayp (2005), “Do Consumers Care About Ethics? Willingness to Pay for Fair-Trade Coffee,” The Journal of Consumer Affairs, 39 (2), 363-85.

Liu, Charles (2016), “Chinese Passengers Forcibly Removed from US Cruise Liner after Dispute,” (accessed Feb 23, 2017), [available at]

Muncy, James A. and Scott J. Vitell (1992), “Consumer ethics: An investigation of the ethical beliefs of the final consumer,” Journal of Business Research, 24 (4), 297-311.

Tang, Felix, Vane-Ing Tian, and Judy Zaichkowsky (2014), “Understanding Counterfeit Consumption,” Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, 26 (1), 4-20.

Van Kenhove, Patrick, Iris Vermeir, and Steven Verniers (2001), “An Empirical Investigation of the Relationship Between Ethical Beliefs, Ethical Ideology, Political Preference and Need for Closure,” Journal of Business Ethics, 32(4), 347-61.

Vitell, Scott (2015), “A case for consumer social responsibility (CSR): Including A Selected Review of Consumer Ethics/Social Responsibility Research,” Journal of Business Ethics, 130 (4), 767-74.

Vitell, Scott J., Robert A. King, Katharine Howie, Jean-François Toti, Lumina Albert, Encarnación R. Hidalgo, and Omneya Yacout (2016), “Spirituality, Moral Identity, and Consumer Ethics: A Multi-Cultural Study,” Journal of Business Ethics, 139 (1), 147-60.