Purpose – This study examines the differential influence of religiosity, materialism and guilt on consumer ethical judgment. It further investigates how the influence may differ across two religiosity dimensions (intrinsic and extrinsic) and two types of unethical behaviour (active and passive). Design/methodology/approach – A quasi‐experimental approach assigned Pakistani university students randomly to two groups. One group ( n =144) answered a survey regarding an active unethical behaviour (changing price tag), while the other ( n =123) answered a similar survey but regarding a passive unethical behaviour (given and pocketing surplus change). This paper used projective technique to help reduce respondents' sensitiveness to the two scenarios. The data was methodologically analysed and fitted using structural equation modelling. Findings – Religiosity does not influence ethical judgment directly, but is mediated by guilt. As expected, materialism negatively determines ethical judgment, and the influence is stronger with active than with passive unethical behaviour. Materialism influences ethical judgment more (less) than guilt does when unethical behaviour is active (passive). Religiosity stems more from intrinsic than extrinsic dimension regardless of the unethical‐behaviour type. Research limitation/implications – Overall, this study highlights that the effects of religiosity on consumer ethics is not straightforward in that the relationship cannot be fully understood without accounting for the role of guilt and materialism, as well as the types of religiosity and ethical behaviour. Significant academic and managerial implications are presented. Originality/value – This is an initial study on consumer ethics to consider the differential influence of religiosity, materialism and guilt across different religiosity dimensions and unethical behaviour. The context of a Muslim market is also under‐researched compared to Western markets.
Journal of Islamic Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 13, 2013
Keywords: Consumer ethics; Ethical judgment; Guilt; Materialism; Religiosity; Consumer behaviour; Pakistan