How does past behaviour stimulate consumers' intentions to repeat unethical behaviour? The roles of perceived risk and ethical beliefs
Repeated unethical behaviour by consumers is a serious challenge for participants in business transactions, including consumers, retailers, and those responsible for market supervision. Due to the inherent risk of such behaviours, we examine perceived risk to uncover the psychological mechanism by which consumers consider past behaviour (PAB) when deciding to repeat unethical behaviour. We divide perceived risk into two categories, material risk (MAR) and nonmaterial risk (NMR), based on two kinds of ethical evaluation and explore their mediating effects in the process through which PAB influences consumers' intentions to repeat unethical behaviour (CIRUB). We check the moderating effect of consumers' ethical beliefs on the relationship between PAB and CIRUB. We use survey data from four typical ethical scenarios to test the proposed structural relationships. Direct positive effects of PAB on consumers' intentions are observed in all four scenarios. NMR has stable, positive mediating effects in all scenarios. MAR is found to have negative mediating effects in two scenarios (switching price tags and using an expired coupon) and a positive effect in one scenario (copying software). However, no effect is observed in the benefiting from a cashier's mistake scenario. Finally, ethical beliefs are proven to positively moderate the relationship between PAB and consumers' intentions in the first two scenarios, but not the last two. This study also discusses the implications of the findings and offers suggestions for future research.
Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship
Original Publication Date
DOI of published version
UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa
Zhao, Bao Chun; Rawwas, Mohammed Yahya; and Zeng, Cheng Hao, "How does past behaviour stimulate consumers' intentions to repeat unethical behaviour? The roles of perceived risk and ethical beliefs" (2020). Faculty Publications. 289.