Importance of Money, Religiosity, and Spiritual Well-Being of Young Fast-Food Consumers, and Its Impact on Their Ethical Beliefs

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INDIAN INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT CALCUTTA

WORKING PAPER SERIES

WPS No. 674/ May 2011   Importance of Money, Religiosity, and Spiritual Well-being of Young Fast-Food Consumers, and its Impact on their Ethical Beliefs

by

Ramendra Singh Assistant Professor, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, Joka, Kolkata 700104

&

Sharad Agarwal Research Assistant IIM Indore; Prabandh Shikhar; Rau - Pithampur Road Indore 453 331 Madhya Pradesh India

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IMPORTANCE OF MONEY, RELIGIOSITY, AND SPIRITUAL WELL-BEING OF YOUNG FAST-FOOD CONSUMERS, AND ITS IMPACT ON THEIR ETHICAL BELIEFS

Lead Author Name: Ramendra Singh, Assistant Professor (Marketing) Address: W-404 New Teaching Block; Indian Institute of Management Calcutta; D.H.Road; Joka; Kolkata 700104; India. Phone: 91-33-24678000(Ext-552); 91-9998493034. Email: ramendra@iimcal.ac.in; s_ramendra@yahoo.co.in Co-author

Name: Sharad Agarwal, Research Associate Address: Indian Institute of Management Indore; Prabandh Shikhar; Rau - Pithampur Road; Indore 453 331; Madhya Pradesh India; Tel: + 91-731-2439666; 91-9179514067 Email: sharad2021@gmail.com

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IMPORTANCE OF MONEY, RELIGIOSITY, AND SPIRITUAL WELL-BEING OF YOUNG FAST-FOOD CONSUMERS, AND ITS IMPACT ON THEIR ETHICAL BELIEFS ABSTRACT Building on the revised general theory of marketing ethics that suggests that individual values and attitudes are determinants of unethical beliefs, we examine the impact of importance of money, intrinsic religiosity, and spiritual well-being on the active and illegal dimension of consumers’ ethical beliefs. Using a sample of 426 young fast-food consumers (240 male and 186 female) in a collectivist society (India), we test several hypotheses using moderated regression analysis. For the first time, we test for interaction effects among these three individual determinants of consumer’s ethical beliefs. We also test for the impact of gender on the ethical beliefs. Our study throws new light on the extant understanding of these individual determinants of consumers’ ethical beliefs. We find that neither of the independent variables, namely, importance of money, intrinsic religiosity, and spiritual well-being determines consumers’ ethical beliefs. However, their interaction terms are all significant, suggesting that although the three predictors of consumers’ ethical beliefs may not directly influence their beliefs, it may do so in combination with other predictors. We also find a moderating impact of gender. Intrinsic religiosity positively affects consumers’ ethical beliefs in male customers but not in female customers. Similarly, spiritual well-being positively affects female customers’ ethical beliefs but not male customers. Importance of money does not influence either. KEY WORDS: Consumer Ethics, Money, Religiosity, Spiritual Well-Being, Young Consumers, India.

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INTRODUCTION Today, almost all firms place a high emphasis on being customer-oriented in selling their product offerings. Marketers practice their selling strategies by trying to satisfy the customers’ latent needs, and avoid sacrificing their long-term interest, even by giving up the opportunity of an immediate sale (Saxe and Weitz, 1982). However, customers may not always reciprocate in the same way. Recent research (e.g., Fullerton and Punj, 2004; Reynolds and Harris, 2009) suggests that customer misbehavior may be a larger phenomenon, which may include unethical consumer behaviors such as, shoplifting. For example, research estimates that as many as 60% of consumers have shoplifted at least once in their lifetime (Klemke, 1992). Therefore, many researchers have called for examining personal factors influencing consumers’ judgment of ethical beliefs (e.g., Vitell, 2003). Towards this objective, the aim of the present study is to enrich the consumer ethics field by examining the impact of consumers’ importance of money, their intrinsic religiosity, and spiritual well-being on their ethical beliefs. The paper...
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