The Human Rights and Ethical Dilemmas Facing Marketing Research in an Ever Expanding Business Market

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The Human Rights and Ethical Dilemmas Facing Marketing Research in an Ever Expanding Business Market

What is ethical and unethical when it comes to information gathering on a group of people or an individual? This is a question that has been debated and pondered over for many years. As social mediums, technology, and social and economic statuses change at rates that have never been seen on this type of global scale in human history it can be hard to tell. I will delve into situations and dilemmas that marketers find themselves in, on a day to day basis when doing research.

Before we can go into the ethical and philosophical questions of your everyday marketer we first have to come to understand of what marketing ethics are. Marketing ethics is the application of morals to behavior related to the exchange environment (Zikmund & Babin, 2007). When it comes to evaluating an individual ethics you need to look at things such as relativism and idealism. When looking at relativism you are looking at a way of thinking that rejects the idea of absolute principles. So, what you get instead is someone who favors situational based evaluations, which is opposite of idealism. Idealism is a term that reflects the degree to which one bases one’s morality on moral standards (Zikmund & Babin, 2007). An example of this would be having a “golden rule” that is unbreakable. These are things all of us turn too when making ethical decisions.

The first dilemma I will cover is that of respondent confidentiality. Let’s say you make a presentation on business-to-business market research survey. You client then asks you for the list of companies that responded to the survey. To add to this their survey responses could indicate whether they were currently in the market for the client's services. What is your response?

You pledge to the individual that you are giving the survey that their confidentiality will be maintained, and personal information won’t be...
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