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Ethics of deception in consumer research



Authors / Editors

Smith N C;Klein J G;Kimmel A J

Publication Year



Consumer research can entail difficult ethical problems. While deception is arguably the most pervasive ethical issue, researchers have little guidance on its acceptability, notwithstanding the codes of root disciplines and the important methodological and disciplinary implications of deception. This article introduces normative theories of ethics from moral philosophy to analyze the ethics of deceptive research practices. Using social contract theory, it identifies the conditions under which deception may be morally permissible. Principles guiding research practice are formulated and their implications for consumer researchers and others are identified.

Publication Research Centre

Centre for Marketing

Series Number



Centre for Marketing Working Paper

Available on ECCH


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