Is Ethical Corporate Behaviour important?
Participants’ feedback suggested that ethical corporate behavior was significant enough to process when considering their decision making. Nike’s reputation, more specifically for their unethical behavior, was important in participants’ decision-making process. The higher significance placed on buying from a company that does not have a name for unethical behavior vs. buying from a company with a name for ethical behaviour can once again be a potential outcome of the information processing asymmetries that exist.
Given the discussed literature in chapter 2 and the analysis in chapter 4, this study suggests that Milton Friedman framework is to be revised. The framework is limited given that the second and third main principles state that the sole concern of a manager at a corporation is to make a profit and it is the responsibility of the government and not corporate managers for shareholders, contradicting the findings within this research study. This is because participants deployed an aspiration-based reference point, in which they believed that all companies should behave ethically and responsibly when reviewing corporate behavior. Such a point of view indicates that participants did not reward ethical behaviour since behaving ethically is expected from corporations but will, however, punish unethical behaviour by boycotting firms’ products. The findings of this study suggest that corporations and managers should accept responsibility for their actions since it will affect them negatively, in regards to consumer perception and consequently financially. In contradiction, it was also discovered that it was presumed that Nike and all firms are unethical at some point in time. Nevertheless, this contradiction seems to place greater value was put on the aspiration based reference point as participants were more willing to punish unethical behavior rather than reward ethical behavior.