A Foundational Theory of Ethical Decision-Making: The Case of Marketing Professionals

Weng Marc Lim, Peter O'Connor, Sumesh Nair, Samaneh Soleimani, Tareq Rasul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the risk of negative consequences from bad publicity, many brands continue to engage in unethical marketing. With unethical marketing being widely reported in the media, this study commenced with the assumption that awareness of consequences (AC) has little impact on ethical decision-making (EDM). This assumption, however, was empirically refuted based on a survey where marketing professionals with high levels of AC engage more in EDM.
Noteworthily, this study found that the relationship between AC and EDM is mediated by selfidentity (SI), which highlighted the importance for marketing professionals to recognize their own moral identity in ensuring the translation of their AC into EDM. The study also revealed that gender plays a moderating role in the aforementioned relationship, with the effect being stronger for men as opposed to women, a noteworthy deviation from past findings. The implications of these findings are discussed in relation to theory and practice, wherein a
foundational theory of ethical decision-making is proposed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Business Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023


  • Awareness of consequences
  • Ethical decision-making
  • Gender
  • Self-identity


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