Non-probability sampling is that sampling procedure which does not afford any basis for estimating the probability that each item in the population has of being included in the sample (Kothari, 2004; 59). Non-probability sampling is also known by different names such as deliberate sampling, non-random sampling, purposive sampling and judgement sampling. Kothari (2004) state that, items for the sample are selected deliberately by the researcher; his choice concerning the items remains supreme. Under non-probability sampling the researcher purposively chooses the particular units of the universe for constituting a sample on the basis that the small mass that they so select out of a huge one will be typical or representative of the whole.
To further explain non-probability sampling Kothari (2004) stated that, if economic conditions of people living in a state are to be studied, a few towns and villages may be purposively selected for intensive study on the principle that they can be representative of the entire state. Thus, the judgement of the organisers of the study plays an important part in this sampling design. There are five types of non-probability sampling technique, which are:
As non-probability sampling state that not all individuals in a population are offered an opportunity to participate in a research, the researcher in the case study used data collected from 7 developed countries, 73 middle and low income countries and 2105 Chinese industrial enterprises.
Quantitative research is based on the measurement of quantity or amount. It is applicable to phenomena that can be expressed in terms of quantity. Quantitative analysis involves using scientific or mathematical data to understand a problem, such as analysis survey predict consumer demand. These contrasts with qualitative approach, which uses a more social methodology, like interviewing people. Characteristics of quantitative approach are:
Data is usually gathered using structured research instruments.
The results are based on larger sample sizes that are representative of the population.
Researcher has a clearly defined research questions.
Data is in the form of numbers and statistics, often arrange in tables, charts, figures or non-textual forms.
Researcher use tools such as questionnaires or computer software, to collect numerical data.
The researcher in the case study used quantitative approach as the case study state that “to measure productivity changes, index numbers are used in measuring change in the level of output and input over time and across space. The parametric method is represented by stochastic frontier analysis (SFA). It allows estimating frontier production function by using quantitative analysis.” It is also stated in the case study that trade has a quantitatively large and robust positive effect on income even though it is moderately significant statistically.
1.3 Focus one: the relationship between international trade and economic growth to examine whether economic growth is propelled by international trade or vice versa. The results of the study indicated that there is a positive relationship between international trade and economic growth. The elasticity of international trade was 0.2, which was statistically significant.
Focus two: the contribution of foreign trade to economic growth. It is stated that 73 middle and low income countries were studied and it was evident that higher rate of economic growth were strongly compatible with higher rate of export growth. It was also found out that the growth rate after trade liberalization is significantly higher than the period before. The results of the research showed that trade has a large and positive effects on income. Due to international trade there is improvement in output or social welfare with fixed amount of input or resource supply.
China’s economy improved because of international trade mainly due to their open policy. The positive relationship between trade and growth facilitated much of the growth that was seen the China’s economy. As a result of international trade the domestic consumer are able to buy cheaper imported goods and the producers are able export goods at a higher foreign price.
1.4 As a result of China’s international trade the output and social welfare has improved. Because of international trade the domestic consumer are able to buy cheaper imported goods and the producers are able export goods at a higher foreign price. They were able to adopt new technology from aboard. As a result of international trade foreign reserve and national welfare are increased. China’s open policy allows it to trade at international price rather that domestic. China’s international trade increased employment for the country. Production structure is changed while production cost is lowered and production scale increases.
Kothari C.R, (2004). Research Methodology: Methods and techniques. New Delhi. New age international publishers
The effects of applied business ethics on consumer’s perceptions in fast moving consumer’s goods (FMCG)
There is no need to start with any particular name or action regarding unethical businesses and practices. Everywhere we see practice of bribery, commission, offering low quality against promises of high or genuine quality, use of child labour in dhabas and so on. The whole society is running for excessive profit making without understanding the impact of these decisions. It will lead us to a point where wealth will be there but peace will not be there. We need to check this uncontrolled growth like growth of cancer cells for a sustained prosperous society.
Ethical behaviour is the only way for this problem. Ethics are principles or standards of human conduct, sometimes called morals, and, by extension, the study of such principles is sometimes called moral philosophy. In the west, ethics is regarded as a normative science and a breach of philosophy because it is concerned with the norms of human conduct as distinguished from the formal sciences such as mathematics and logic, and the empirical sciences such as chemistry and physics. Business ethics is ethics applied to the business environment in order to study the moral and ethical issues related to it. Although business ethics can be both a normative and descriptive discipline, when it comes to corporate practice, it is essentially a normative science.
This is a particularly important issue in the case of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector, where this thesis will be focused on. Business executives spend their time struggling to offer the best alternative, the product with the best attributes, but most of the times, even when they succeed to that, the competition may catch them up and they will have to come up with something new to stay in the game. This is one of the reasons why the notion of the “brand” has such an importance for today’s companies. Modern firms are not proposing (selling) just their products they are also aiming with their brands to position their offering effectively in the customers’ mind (Ries and Trout, 1981). They are selling the firm itself “the brand is the company and brands become a synonym of the company’s policy” (Goodyear 1996; de Chernatony and McDonald, 2003).
Based on the existing literature that underlines a whole interacting set of variables and on the limitations of the present study two basic components of marketing are going to be analyzed: Business ethics and consumers’ perceptions. A third concept that in the literature seems to emerge between the applied business ethics and the formation of consumer perceptions that of brand equity will be used as a mediating variable in the conceptual framework of this study, resulting to the actual willingness of the consumer to buy the product.
This research seek to understand the effect applied business have on the consumer’s perceptions. The research seeks to understand consumers view the ethical conduct of business and how it affects their willingness to buy products.
The analysis is going to be conducted, using as mediating variable the concept of brand equity that in the literature seems to emerge between the applied business ethics and the formation of consumer perceptions (Lai et al, 2010). The variable of brand equity will be divided to four parts: Brand Loyalty, Perceived Quality, Brand Awareness/Association and Brand Satisfaction, as Lai et al (2010) are defining the term, adapting and extending Aaker’s (1996) model, which will be analyzed in a later section. Finally, the last variable that is going to be analyzed is the willingness of the consumer to buy a product/service of a company, according to his/her moral criteria.
What effects do business ethics have on consumer brand perceptions?
The following sub-questions will contribute to the main research question:
Is brand equity being affected in a positive way by applied business ethics?
Do consumers evaluate companies based on moral criteria, except of economic and financial ones?
Do these ethical evaluation criteria affect their perceptions about a brand?
Will the consumers keep on buying if the brand of their choice will not fulfil their expectations in moral terms?
The main objective of the present study is the investigation of the effects of applied business ethics to consumer perceptions, as well as the identification of possible research relationships among business ethics, brand equity and ultimately, consumer willingness to buy.
“The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits” mentioned Friedman in 1970, who believed that a businessman should not worry about reducing poverty or pollution, but should only be interested in maximizing the profits of the company as a whole, Hooker (2003). Contrary to Friedman’s position is John Elkington (1995) who in his book: “Cannibals with Forks: The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business” emphasized that modern corporations should not only pay attention on the economic but also on the environmental and social value, concluding that “the three pillars” that the organizations should be focused on are nothing else than: people, planet, profit (Stormer, 2003).
During the last twenty years terms such as: corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, and theories such as: the triple bottom line have received increasing attention, but no one can contribute to long run business sustainability without “acting ethically”. These terms seem intertwined and inseparable (Svensson, 2009). Nonetheless, in most of the existing literature Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Ethics are being studied in association with the decision making process of the organization alone, ignoring the possible relationship between a company’s applied ethics and eventual consumer responses presenting an interesting research gap. Following the call of Brunk “The consumer side is still in need of in depth exploration” (Brunk, 2010).
Business ethics is considered to be a very important subject in today’s business world and can enhance the way a certain brand or corporation is being perceived by the consumer. Thus, contributing to a superior overall symbolic value, towards a more carrying and reliable image. Nowadays, there are many examples of what we consider negative corporate morality in firms such as: Gap, Nike, Nestlé, Shell Oil, Siemens etc. Brunk (2010) identified a positive association between negative corporate ethical actions and the eventual negative feelings and attitudes leading even to boycotting the brands involved.
business ethics is defined as “a term that incorporates three different but related meanings, signifying first, a general pattern or ‘way of life,’ second, a set of rules of conduct or ‘moral code,’ and finally, an inquiry about ways of life and rules of conduct.”
Lewis (1985) defines business ethics in three different ways:
Focus on social responsibility.
Values that are in accord with common behaviour or with one’s religious beliefs philosophy of what is good and bad.
What ought to be, habit, logic, and/or principles of Aristotle.
The same author proposed a synthesized definition of business ethics, covering a broad field of management, according to which, the term business ethics, is described as: “moral rules, standards, codes, or principles which provide guidelines for right and truthful behaviour in specific situations”.
In the bibliography, there are various definitions of the term sustainability. According to Gillman (2008) for example: “Sustainability is equity over time. As a value, it refers to giving equal weight in your decisions to the future as well as the present. You might think of it as extending the Golden Rule through time, so that you do unto future generations as you would have them do unto you. Christensen (2007) adds that a sustainable business is able to contribute to an equitable and environmental sustainable economy. In this concept, sustainable businesses must create products and services that can accomplish society’s needs, contributing to the well-being of the whole earth’s inhabitants.
Business sustainability has become recently an important concept of the business world. According to Hofstra (2008) is a precondition for future growth. In the bibliography it is often associated with ethical business practices in the sense that: “Ethical responsibility…involves more than leading a decent, honest, truthful life, as important as such lives certainly remain… Involves something much more than making wise choices when such choices suddenly, unexpectedly present themselves. Our moral obligations…must include a willingness to engage others in the difficult work of defining what the crucial choices are that confront technological society and how intelligently to confront them,” (Winner, 1990).
Ethical decision making.Peter Drucker states that “Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.” Everything in business is about taking the right decisions in the right moment. One of the most challenging aspects in decision making is to incorporate the most reliable, accurate information in order to have the best insights of an issue and take the best and most suitable decision (Certo, Lester, Daily, & Dalton, 2006).
This position of Drucker is particular valid in our turbulent times, in which it is more than necessary to rely on any business decision making process on, both, moral and financial criteria, instead of focusing only on mere financial. For, as the literature shows, companies that are taking into consideration, the ethical concerns of their stakeholders and have high-quality information involved into the company’s strategic decision-making process, can recognize better economic opportunities because of the ethical concerns (Collins, 2007). In this concept, ethical considerations in decision making is the foundation of successful business since they are highly associated with increased growth and enhanced profitability, improving the overall company’s performance.
Corporate leadership is another term that is often linked in the bibliography with the notion of business ethics. For managers it is of critical importance to define every time, what is ethically “appropriate”, in a given situation showing always the leadership advantage. In this case, a managerial leader may inspire the employees through his ethos established by the personality of his leadership. This ethos has to be translated into everyday attitudes and behavior. Hitt (1990) is considered as one of the firsts who mentioned two key responsibilities of management in relation to ethics: first is to ensure that ethical decisions are made; and second, to develop an organizational climate (corporate system of values) in which ethical conduct by staff is fostered.
The definition of brand equity varies across the literature, but ultimately relies on the idea that the value of a brand is being created through the brand’s effect on consumers (Erdem, 1999). Farquhar (1989) defines brand equity as “the added value to the firm, the trade, or the consumer with which a brand endows a product”.
However, one of the first and most accepted definitions of brand equity is that proposed by Aaker (1991). The last, defines brand equity as a set of assets and liabilities adding more value to the firm and its customers. Two years later, Keller (1993) enhanced the theory adding to the former, the notion of customer-based brand equity giving greater focus on the effects of brand knowledge on consumer responses.
According to a European study concerning consumer attitudes toward applied business ethics, 70% of consumers mentioned that applied business ethics are important to them concerning their actual decision about buying a product/service. In addition to that, 37% of the respondents mentioned that they had bought a product labelled as ethical, the last few years (Slingh, 2012).
Many researchers have attempted to define the term “consumer perception”. One of the first, is the definition by Fiske and Taylor (1991) referring to it as “impression formation”. Moreover, according to the theory of social psychology, individuals can form impressions in two ways that are explained by the algebraic and the configural model. The first model corresponds to a “bottom-up approach by evaluating each individual element of information in isolation from each other and combining these evaluations into a general summary impression”. The configural model, rooted in the Gestalt theory of psychology, suggests “a holistic top-down approach of impression formation, where the processes of information evaluation and integration are reversed.” (Brunk, 2011).Willingness to buy
The term willingness to buy consists of many parts except the basic conceptualization of the price-product evaluation relationship (Dodds and Monroe 1985). It can be described as the aggregate consumer reaction to different variables such as: price, brand, store name, customer service, fashion, personality traits, reference groups, shopping situation etc. In most of the cases, the various definitions of the consumer willingness to buy give more emphasis to price judgments.
Nowadays, with the huge variety of alternatives being offered to the consumer, the willingness to buy a particular product can be either harder to be achieved or very weak due to over competition. The consumer’s willingness to buy can be determined by both hedonic and utilitarian purposes and is a result of variables such as: the price of the product, the income of the consumer, the situation he/she experiences, the symbolic value of the product in association with the brand image as a whole (Dodds, 1991). The ethical behaviour of a company seems to become a quite significant cue for the consumer brand image formation.
A quantitative approach is preferred since “is associated with exploring connections between variables” (Bryman & Bell, 2007, p.426), that applied in our case are the connections between business ethics and consumers’ perceptions. Even earlier than that, Creswell (1994) mentioned that through quantitative research, phenomena are being explained “by collecting numerical data that are analyzed using mathematically based methods (in particular statistics).” In addition, quantitative research is selected due to the character of the subject of the current thesis; quantitative research helps to quantify opinions, attitudes and behaviors concerning the applied business ethics and can show how the public feels about the research issues.
Quantitative research helps to generalize the evidence found in the sample of a given population in order to understand a certain phenomenon. It provides a wide range of different age groups, indicates the extensiveness of attitudes held by participants, and provides results which can be condensed to statistics (Sukamolson, 2010). Finally, it is considered the most suitable method to answer the kind of questions that have already been established by theory that can operationalize the main variables of this research.
For the needs of the proposed study an online questionnaire will be used. In order for core variables to be operationalized and measured, the questions of the survey will be based on the background theory as proposed by (Dodds 1991, Tsalikis 2009 and Lai 2010).
Post-positivist state that the paradigm the researcher selects determines the research methodology. The post paradigm expanded from the positivist paradigm. Post-positivist is concerned with the subjectivity of reality and moves away from the purely objective stance adopted by the logical positivists. It may be simplistically defined as those approaches that historically succeeded positivism (for example, realism), but more rigorously, it may be understood as a critique of positivist epistemology and ontology, in which positivist claims concerning both the objective nature of reality and the ability of science to discern that reality are rejected (Fox, 2014).
Post-positivist is both an epistemological and ontological position. Post-position paradigm was firstly introduced by socialist Max Weber in the late nineteenth. Weber developed the concept of ‘understanding’ as a hermeneutic technique by which knowledge of the social world is to be gleaned (Fox, 2014). At the root of Weber’s concept is the recognition that social realities need to be understood from the perspective of the subject, rather than that of the observer, and in totality rather than in isolation (Fox, 2014). However, to achieve this perspective, it is insufficient simply to try to imagine oneself in another’s position, or interpret another’s responses to a research instrument from the basis of the researcher’s own assumptions about what these responses may mean.
Purpose – to discover laws that are generalizable and govern the universe
Philosophical underpinning – Informed mainly by realism, idealism and critical realism
Ontological assumption – One reality, knowable within probability
Truth – Based on precise observation and measurement that is verifiable
Data collection – Mainly questionnaires, observations, tests and experiments
Methodology – Quantitative; correlational; quasi-experimental; experimental; causal comparative; survey
Social Constructivism: Social constructivism emphasizes the importance of culture and context in understanding what occurs in society and constructing knowledge based on this understanding (Derry, 1999; McMahon, 1997). It is closely associated with both behaviorialist and cognitive ideals. The “constructivist stance maintains that learning is a process of constructing meaning; it is how people make sense of their experience” (Merriam and Caffarella, 1999; 260).
According Kim (2001) social constructivists believe that reality is constructed through human activity. Members of a society together invent the properties of the world (Kukla, 2000). For the social constructivist, reality cannot be discovered: it does not exist prior to its social invention (Kim, 2001). According to social constructivists, knowledge is also a human product, and is socially and culturally constructed. Individuals create meaning through their interactions with each other and with the environment they live in (Kim, 2001)
Lev Vygotsky’s (1986) main relevance to constructivism comes from his theories about language, thought, and their mediation by society. Vygotsky holds an anti-realist position and states that the process of knowing is affected by other people and is mediated by community and culture.
Vygotsky’s (1986) work is critical upon Piaget’s contribution to constructivism. While Piaget believes that development precedes learning, Vygotsky view them oppositely. Constructivism as an educational theory holds that teachers should first consider their students’ knowledge and allow them to put that knowledge in to practice (Mvududu ; Thiel-Burgess ,2012) .Mvududu and Thiel-Burgess represent constructivist view as one of the leading theoretical positions in education. Since there is no universal definition of constructivism, others as a theory of knowledge, some consider it as a theory of learning; although some other scholars and theorists consider it as a theory of pedagogy. Additional views are theory of science, educational theory or an all-encompassing worldview.
Purpose – To understand and describe human nature
Philosophical underpinning – Informed by hermeneutics and phenomenology
Ontological assumption – Multiple socially constructed realties
Truth – Truth is context dependent
Data collection – Mainly interviews, participant observation, pictures, photographs, diaries and documents
Methodology – Qualitative; phenomenology; ethnographic; symbolic interaction; naturalistic
Advocacy/participatory worldview is a qualitative research methodology option that requires further understanding and consideration. Participatory worldview is considered democratic, equitable, liberating, and life-enhancing qualitative inquiry that remains distinct from other qualitative methodologies. Using advocacy, researcher does not control or manipulate qualitative features of an individual’s feelings, views, and patterns as they are revealed. The participants are actively involved in making informed decisions throughout all processes of the research for the primary purpose of imparting social change; a specific action is the ultimate goal.
Key components of participatory action research:
It focuses on change
It is generally targeted at the need of a particular group
Emphasis on collaboration between researcher and participants
Participatory seek to liberate participants to have a greater awareness of their situation
Knowledge is generated through participant’s collective efforts
Pragmatism as a worldview arises out of actions, situations, and consequences rather than antecedent conditions (as in post-positivism). There is a concern with applications—what works— and solutions to problems (Patton, 1990). Instead of focusing on methods, researchers emphasize the research problem and use all approaches available to understand the problem. As a philosophical underpinning for mixed methods studies, Morgan (2007), underlines its importance for putting more attention on the research problem in social science research and then using pluralistic approaches to acquire knowledge about the research problem. Using Morgan (2007), pragmatism provides a philosophical basis for research:
Pragmatism is not committed to any one system of philosophy and reality. This applies to mixed methods research in that inquirers draw liberally from both quantitative and qualitative assumptions when they engage in their research.
Individual researchers have a freedom of choice. In this way, researchers are free to choose the methods, techniques, and procedures of research that best meet their needs and purposes.
Pragmatists do not see the world as an absolute unity. In a similar way, mixed methods researchers look to many approaches for collecting and analysing data rather than subscribing to only one way (e.g., quantitative or qualitative).
Truth is what works at the time. It is not based in a duality between reality independent of the mind or within the mind. Thus, in mixed methods research, investigators use both quantitative and qualitative data because they work to provide the best understanding of a research problem.
The pragmatist researchers look to the ”what” and ”how” to research, based on the intended consequences—where they want to go with it. Mixed methods researchers need to establish a purpose for their mixing, a rationale for the reasons why quantitative and qualitative data need to be mixed in the first place.
Pragmatists agree that research always occurs in social, historical, political, and other contexts. In this way, mixed methods studies may include a postmodern turn, a theoretical lens that is reflective of social justice and political aims.
Pragmatists have believed in an external world independent of the mind as well as that lodged in the mind. But they believe that we need to stop asking questions about reality and the laws of nature (Cherryholmes, 1992).
Thus, for the mixed methods researcher, pragmatism opens the door to multiple methods, different worldviews, and different assumptions, as well as different forms of data collection and analysis.
Caffarella RS ; Merriam SB. 1999. Perspectives on adult learning: framing our research. In 40th Annual Adult Education Research Conference Proceedings. Northern Illinois University
Cherryholmes, C.H. (1992). Notes on pragmatism and scientific realism. Educational Research, 14, 13-17
Fox, N.J. (2008) Post-positivism. In: Given, L.M. (ed.) The SAGE Encyclopaedia of Qualitative Research Methods. London: Sage.
Morgan, D. L. (2007). Paradigm lost and paradigm regained: Methodological implications of combining qualitative and quantitative methods. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 1, 48-76.
Mvududu NH ; Thiel-Burgess J. 2012. Constructivism in Practice: The Case for English Language Learners. International Journal of Education, 4(3), p108-p118.Vygotsky L. 1986. Thought and Language. Transl. and ed. A. Kozulin. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press
4.1.1 Voluntary participation – Participation should be voluntary in all research, and there should be no coercion or deception
4.1.2 informed consent – ensure that potential participants fully understand what they are being asked to do and that they are informed if there are any potential negative consequences of such participation
4.1.3 Confidentiality and Anonymity – these two issues should not be confused. Anonymity requires that you do not know who the participants are. This could be achieved through random phone surveying or having an organization distribute a survey on behalf of the student. Confidentiality means that you know who the participants are, but that their identity will not be revealed in any way in the resulting report
4.1.4 Potential for harm – There are a number of ways in which participants can be harmed: physical harm, psychological harm, emotional harm, embarrassment (i.e., social harm), and so on. It is important for you to identify any potential for harm and determine how this potential for harm could be overcome
4.1.5 Communicating results – there are three broad issues that researchers need to be aware of i.e. plagiarism, academic fraud ;misrepresentation of results.
Plagiarism – do not represent someone’s works as your own
Academic fraud – this include intentionally misrepresenting what has been done, making up data and/or purposefully putting forward conclusions that are not accurate
4.2 Research strategies
Characteristics Narrative research Phenomenology Grounded theory Ethnography Case study
It seeks to understand the experience of an individual. Focus on one or more individual’s experience of the world and interpretation of events, not events themselves Helps to predict and explain behaviour Emphasis of studying the entire culture It investigates factors that contributed to the characteristics of the case under investigation. Aims to create rich, textured description of a social process
Coding for themes. Themes provide the complexity of the story. Holistic, qualitative, idiographic. Complete description of human existence Use combination of inductive and deductive Apply inductive methodology It is both qualitative and quantitative
Researcher collect data through field text: interview, journals, autobiography Primary data collection methods: in-depth interview. Interview questions are open ended Research questions are open and general. Employs multiple modes of data collection including interview and observation. Data collection is usually informal. Employs multiple modes of data collections Triangulation. Data collection includes: questionnaire, in-depth interview, documentary records, direct observation and focus group
Researcher collaborate with the participant throughout the research Sample size usually 10 to 15 participants. Researcher derives and develops concepts from data collected. Researcher may become full member of particular group and take part in their day-to-day life, Researcher tend to be in-depth investigation of phenomena
The researcher analyses and writes about an individual life using a time sequence or chronology of events. Two researchers may arrive at different conclusion after observing the same phenomena at the same time Use theoretical sampling to support theory development Value is placed on context, it cannot study people independently of their environment Conclusion of case study is results. Hard facts demonstrate how the application of action produced real life results.