What are the expectations of ethical behavior?
Surprisingly, participants view on corporate responsibility were rather contradictory, considering that they all believed that Nike and all businesses should implement CSR practices. Participants stated that Nike should be ethical in all of their actions and all the time. However, the most significant of the interviews identified that consumers believe all firms to be unethical at one point in time and that this is a very common practice in business. If this is true, it would be extremely concerning from a socio-cultural viewpoint. Thankfully there is an explanation for such a pessimistic stance. First, it is important to understand that there is a difference in the way that negative and positive information is processed. Individuals place greater importance on negative information than they do on positive information. As a result, participants have a more negative outlook on society.
Participant 3: “Yes, I have because in the grand scheme of things I don’t feel like the decision of one person is not going to make a significant change, what can I actually do as a consumer?”
Therefore, negative news is more dramatic, hence the reason that negative information receives substantially more media attention. As widely publicized corporate scandals (i.e., Nike and sweatshop labor) are clearly center stage, the unethical practices of the companies are lost in the masses amount of information and so are the expectations of ethical corporate behavior. This is reiterated in the prospect theory which states that participant’s willingness to reward or punish corporate behavior is swayed by an individual’s expectations of ethical behavior and the significance placed on the ethicality of a business’s actions.