Coinciding with the rise of consumerism and equal rights legislation, people have become more assertive of their rights, especially in the marketplace. An increased concern for privacy, a reluctance to be used as guinea pigs for new products and an increased reluctance to accept research claims for new products in advertisements characterise the new outlook of many consumers.
In applying the term 'ethics' to marketing research, it is assumed that ethics involves the assessment of an action in terms of that action being morally right or wrong. Each society possesses standards to which it expects its members to adhere. Sometimes, these standards are quite precise and there is little dispute about their meaning. At other times, however, the standards are quite general and can be interpreted in different ways. The area of greatest concern is marketing researchers' treatment of participants. The abuses that arise in this area tend to fall into three broad categories: invasion of privacy, deceptive practices and impositions (see Figure 1.3).
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