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Journal of Consumer Marketing

Ethical decision making in counterfeit purchase situations: the influence of moral awareness and moral
emotions on moral judgment and purchase intentions
Luis F. Martinez Dorothea S. Jaeger
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Luis F. Martinez Dorothea S. Jaeger , (2016),"Ethical decision making in counterfeit purchase situations: the influence of moral
awareness and moral emotions on moral judgment and purchase intentions ", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 33 Iss 3 pp.
213 - 223
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Ethical decision making in counterfeit
purchase situations: the influence of moral
awareness and moral emotions on moral
judgment and purchase intentions
Luis F. Martinez and Dorothea S. Jaeger
Nova School of Business and Economics, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal

Abstract
Purpose Counterfeiting is an increasingly global phenomenon that threatens the economy as a whole and also presents a risk for the consumers.
The purpose of this study is to explore moral emotions along with moral awareness and moral judgment with respect to their influence in the
consumption of counterfeits.
Design/methodology/approach An online questionnaire was distributed among participants (n 225) who were asked to respond to a
counterfeit purchase scenario.
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Findings Results highlight the importance of moral awareness as an essential element of moral decision-making. Also, moral emotions were found
to influence moral judgment as well as purchase intention.
Research limitations/implications A limitation refers to the fact that a scenario was used to evoke participants emotional responses. Although
the situation was realistic and the majority of the people could very well imagine experiencing the reported scenario, results might change in an
actual purchase situation.
Practical Implications This studys findings may be particularly relevant for authorities and educators who design campaigns to curtail
counterfeit consumption, thus seeking to encourage consumers to recognize the several negative consequences that result from counterfeiting
behavior.
Originality/value This is one of the few studies that examine the impact of cognitive and emotional influences in a counterfeit purchase decision.
Fighting this problem requires an in-depth understanding of consumers motivations and how they feel about engaging in this morally questionable
behavior.
Keywords Ethics, Consumer behavior, Counterfeiting, Moral awareness, Moral emotions, Moral judgment
Paper type Research paper

1. Introduction often involve criminal groups who neglect labor and


environmental standards.
Counterfeiting is a worldwide phenomenon that has been
growing tremendously in recent years. According to the Despite these negative aspects, consumers demand for
European Commission, the number of cases registered in the counterfeits is high, as suggested by the latest figures from the
EU has doubled since 2007, expanding from the luxury sector European Commissions annual report on enforcement of
to many other product categories such as cosmetics, intellectual property rights. For example, in 2013, 36 million
pharmaceuticals, electronic appliances and automobile parts detained articles were registered by customs with the value of
(European Commission, 2014). The negative consequences the equivalent genuine products estimated around 768m
are manifold, affecting not only licit businesses but also
(European Commission, 2014). As demand is always a driving
consumers, job holders and the society at large. A survey
force in a market (Bian and Moutinho, 2009), policymakers
conducted by Ernst and Young (2008) in Western Europe
are keen on finding out what drives consumers to buy fake
revealed that consumers:
products. Researchers have identified various influences such
seem to be aware of the possible risks associated with the
consumption of counterfeits (e.g. health risks); and as personal character traits, product attributes or social and
know that the manufacturing and distribution of counterfeits cultural influences for an extensive review, see Eisend and
Schuchert-Gler (2006) and Staake et al. (2009). Although
these studies have provided valuable insights, the complexity
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on of the issue makes it rather difficult to generalize results and
Emerald Insight at: www.emeraldinsight.com/0736-3761.htm

The authors would like to thank the editor and the anonymous reviewers
for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this manuscript.
Journal of Consumer Marketing
33/3 (2016) 213223 Received 10 April 2015
Emerald Group Publishing Limited [ISSN 0736-3761] Revised 6 August 2015
[DOI 10.1108/JCM-04-2015-1394] Accepted 9 September 2015

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Influence of moral awareness and moral emotions Journal of Consumer Marketing
Luis F. Martinez and Dorothea S. Jaeger Volume 33 Number 3 2016 213223

profile the typical counterfeit consumer (Bian and Moutinho, studies focused on examining the relation between
2011). consumer attitude and purchase intention and applied
Prior work has highlighted the ethical element of counterfeit attitude-behavioral models such as the theory of planned
purchases (Chiou et al., 2005; Hilton et al., 2004). Much of behavior (Ajzen, 1991) to explain consumers decision-
this work focused on cognitive aspects and applied ethical making (Jirotmontree, 2013; Peace et al., 2003; Penz and
decision-making models to explain consumer behavior Stttinger, 2005). Attitude has often been found to be a good
(Moores and Chang, 2006; Wagner and Sanders, 2001). indicator for counterfeit purchase intention (Ang et al., 2001;
However, few researchers (Kim et al., 2009; Zampetakis, Michaelidou and Christodoulides, 2011; Phau et al., 2009).
2014) have called for more investigations of emotional Based on extensive literature review, Eisend and
influences in moral decision-making concerning counterfeit Schuchert-Gler (2006) classified relevant antecedents of
products, providing first evidence that emotions can have an attitude and intention into four categories, namely: person
influence on consumers moral judgment and purchase characteristics, product aspects, social/cultural context and
intention. Considering that counterfeiting can be linked to purchase environment. Research involving demographic
poor labor and environmental conditions, the act of buying a variables has so far produced inconclusive results. For
counterfeit product represents an ethical dilemma that may instance, Bloch et al. (1993) found that neither age nor
indeed give rise to certain moral emotions, such as guilt, which household income were effective criteria in predicting US
in turn may deter the intention to engage in this morally consumers preference for counterfeits, whereas Tom et al.
questionable behavior. (1998) claimed that those who were younger and had lower
Given the lack of empirical research concerning the disposable income were more prone to buy counterfeit
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influence of emotional components in the context of products. Wee et al. (1995) were able to show that education
counterfeit goods, the purpose of this study is to explore moral as well as household income were negatively related to
emotions along with moral awareness and moral judgment counterfeit purchase intention for consumers in South East
with respect to their influence in the consumption process of Asia, but age did not have any explanatory power. Studies
counterfeits. Thus, our key research question is whether or not analyzing psychographic traits suggest that counterfeit
moral emotions influence individuals moral judgment and consumers are more materialistic, value-conscious,
purchase intention regarding counterfeits. Building on prior susceptible to opinions of others, but at the same time, they
research, this study contributes to a deeper understanding of lack ethical consideration (Ang et al., 2001; Fernandes, 2013;
both moral affect in ethical decision-making and consumers Kozar and Marcketti, 2011; Penz and Stttinger, 2005).
motivations to engage in counterfeit consumption. New When it comes to product features, price was found to be one
insights will be especially valuable for policymakers and of the most relevant factors (Albers-Miller, 1999; Cordell
consumer educators, helping them to design effective et al., 1996; Hamelin et al., 2013). The willingness to buy
campaigns to curtail counterfeit consumption. counterfeits increases if consumers perceive the product to be
similar to the original with respect to features such as quality,
1.1 Theoretical background and definition durability, look and functionality (Penz and Stttinger, 2008).
This study refers to counterfeits as reproduced copies that The social and cultural context surrounding an individual also
are identical to the legitimate articles including packaging, has an impact on whether he/she considers purchasing a
trademarks, and labeling (Ang et al., 2001, p. 219). They are counterfeit. Albers-Miller (1999) found that people are more
usually sold at a much lower price than the original and are likely to purchase counterfeits in the presence of friends who
often inferior in terms of quality (Lai and Zaichkowsky, 1999). had previously bought an illicit product. Also, people are
Counterfeiting appears in two different forms, as either susceptible to the opinions of others and will strongly be
deceptive or non-deceptive counterfeiting (Grossmann and influenced by the approval or rejection of their peers when it
Shapiro, 1988a, 1988b). Under deceptive counterfeiting, the comes to the purchase of counterfeit goods (De Matos et al.,
consumer does not know that the item that he/she is buying is 2007; Prendergast et al., 2002). Although counterfeiting is
not the original. Non-deceptive counterfeiting occurs when especially prominent in collectivistic cultures (e.g. China),
the consumer is fully aware that the product is not authentic results from studies examining the direct effects of
for instance, because of the low price, purchase location or collectivistic culture on individuals attitude toward
quality. This form of counterfeiting is said to be especially counterfeits are inconclusive. For example, Wang et al. (2005)
prevalent in the luxury sector (Nia and Zaichkowsky, 2000). found collectivism to be an important factor in influencing
From the original brand owners perspective, it is very attitude toward pirated software, whereas Phau and Teah
interesting to look at the group of non-deceptive consumers, (2009) did not find strong evidence among Chinese
as their demand remains one of the main reasons why the consumers.
counterfeit industry has been flourishing (Ang et al., 2001). Some researchers went beyond specific factors and persons
Accordingly, the present study will deal with the characteristics and investigated individuals underlying
non-deceptive form of counterfeiting. motives to buy counterfeits, such as the desire to create
identities and express themselves. Wilcox et al. (2009) found
1.2 Key determinants of counterfeit purchase intention that consumers propensity to buy counterfeits was linked to
and behavior social motivations underlying their attitudes toward luxury
Given the scope of the issue, prior research investigating the brands. Based on the reasoning that attitudes serve important
demand side of counterfeiting is very extensive (Eisend and social functions by enabling self-expression (value-expressive
Schuchert-Gler, 2006; Staake et al., 2009). Many of the past function) and allowing self-presentation (social-adjustment

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Influence of moral awareness and moral emotions Journal of Consumer Marketing
Luis F. Martinez and Dorothea S. Jaeger Volume 33 Number 3 2016 213223

function), they found that when consumers attitudes served a moral awareness (Jordan, 2007). This study will refer to moral
social-adjustment function rather than a value-expressive one, awareness as the cognitive ability to recognize the moral issue
their preference for counterfeits was higher. A qualitative within a situation and adopt Reynolds (2006, p. 233) broad
study by Perez et al. (2010) revealed that consumers attain definition of moral awareness as [. . .] a persons
certain inner benefits through the purchase of counterfeits, determination that a situation contains moral content and
namely, optimizing resources, having fun and deceiving others legitimately can be considered from a moral point of view.
while expecting not to be caught. Through the achievement of Scholars have recognized the importance of moral awareness,
these goals, consumers build an identity in which they see suggesting that without recognizing the ethical aspect of a
themselves as savvy individuals. This was also supported by situation it is impossible to solve any moral problem
another qualitative study by Penz and Stttinger (2012), (Clarkeburn, 2002, p. 439). If an individual is not aware that
which revealed that consumers see themselves as smart a situation contains a moral issue, then he/she is unlikely to
shoppers, while they are shopping for counterfeits. take it into account when making a decision and will instead
decide based on other schemata for example, based on
1.3 The role of consumer ethics in counterfeit economic rationality (Jones, 1991). Peoples ethic-related
consumption shortcomings can stem from any stage in the decision-making
Although the purchase of a counterfeit is not a criminal act, an process. Thus, it is worthwhile to explore moral awareness
individual who buys a counterfeit product indirectly supports along with moral judgment in the moral decision-making
an illegal activity. Hence, the purchase or intention to process (Jordan, 2007).
purchase a counterfeit product can be regarded as consumer To our knowledge, only one study has explored the
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misbehavior (Penz and Stttinger, 2005) [. . .] which violates relationship between moral awareness and moral judgment in
the generally accepted norms of conduct in exchange and is the context of counterfeit purchases. Moores and Chang
therefore held in disrepute by marketers and by most (2006) tested the entire four-component model by Rest in the
consumers (Fullerton and Punj, 1993, p. 570). Researchers context of software piracy in Hong Kong. Their findings
have highlighted the ethical dimension of counterfeit supported that Rests model can be seen as a sequential causal
purchases (Chiou et al., 2005; Hilton et al., 2004). In model, although they could not find evidence for a causal
particular, those interested in the ethical aspect of counterfeit relationship between moral awareness and judgment.
purchases have incorporated factors such as ethical obligation Interestingly, people were very aware of the moral issues in the
(Michaelidou and Christodoulides, 2011), ethical judgment situation. As a possible explanation, the authors suggest that
(Fernandes, 2013) and personal integrity (De Matos et al., when people perceive piracy as something normal, the illegal
2007) into their research models. Overall, research suggests aspect of the act does not evoke any moral outrage. Thus, the
that consumer ethics that is, the moral rules, principles and decision-making process starts with an individuals judgment
standards guiding the behavior of an individual (Norum and and not with the recognition of the ethicality of the act itself
Cuno, 2011, p. 29) influences consumers willingness to buy (Moores and Chang, 2006, p. 175). Given these ambiguous
counterfeits (Michaelidou and Christodoulides, 2011). results and the lack of empirical research of moral awareness
Consumers who attribute more integrity to themselves and within the context of counterfeiting, this study examines the
have higher levels of respect toward lawfulness are less likely to influence of moral awareness on moral judgment. Based on
engage in counterfeit buying (Cordell et al., 1996; De Matos this theoretical background, when people are aware of the
et al., 2007). moral issues involved in purchasing a counterfeit product,
Moreover, some researchers applied ethical theories to they will more likely perceive the act as morally wrong. Thus,
explain consumers moral decision-making (Moores and the following is hypothesized:
Chang, 2006; Wagner and Sanders, 2001). The
four-component model by Rest is one of the most frequently H1. The higher the individuals level of moral awareness,
referenced ethical decision-making models (Jordan, 2007). the higher her/his level of moral judgment concerning
Rest proposed a model where an individual first needs to: the purchase of a counterfeit product.
recognize the moral issue in the situation (moral
1.3.2 Moral judgment
awareness);
Moral judgment is defined as an individuals prescriptive
decide what is morally right or wrong (moral judgment);
assessment of what is right or wrong (Trevino, 1986, p. 604).
prioritize moral concerns over other concerns (moral
It involves evaluating which courses of action to a moral
intent); and
problem are morally justified (Lincoln and Holmes, 2011). In
engage in moral action (moral behavior) (as cited in Jones,
contrast to moral awareness, the construct of moral judgment
1991).
has received a lot of attention in academic research often
1.3.1 Moral awareness being used in ethical decision-making models to explain moral
Moral awareness is a critical first step in the moral behavior (Hunt and Vitell, 1986; Jones, 1991). Prior research
decision-making process and is defined as an individuals has shown that an individuals moral judgment influences an
ability to recognize that a situation contains a moral issue individuals moral behavior or moral intention in counterfeit
(Lincoln and Holmes, 2011, p. 56). It involves being aware of consumption situations: for example, Moores and Chang
different possible alternatives of action, as well as recognizing (2006), Tan (2002) and Wagner and Sanders (2001) all found
how each of these responses will affect others (Bebeau et al., that the higher the moral judgment of an individual, the lower
1999). As researchers have elaborated on Rests definition, their intention to purchase pirated software. The same
there are several different definitions and interpretations of conclusion was drawn from a study by Ha and Lennon

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Influence of moral awareness and moral emotions Journal of Consumer Marketing
Luis F. Martinez and Dorothea S. Jaeger Volume 33 Number 3 2016 213223

(2006), who investigated consumers ethical judgment 2007; Greene and Haidt, 2002). According to Haidt (2003),
regarding fashion counterfeit products. Accordingly, a person four different categories of moral emotions can be identified:
who assesses the act of buying a fake product as morally wrong shame, guilt, embarrassment and (to a lesser extent) pride, all
is unlikely to purchase that product. Based on these previous belonging to the category of self-conscious emotions
findings, the following is hypothesized: (Tangney et al., 2007), which are evoked by self-reflection or
self-evaluation. Anger, contempt and disgust are considered to
H2. The greater the individuals level of moral judgment, be other-condemning emotions, as they all imply negative
the lower his/her intent to purchase a counterfeit feelings about the actions or character of others (Haidt,
product. 2003, p. 856). Other-suffering moral emotions (i.e.
empathy) are evoked in response to the suffering of others.
Other-praising emotions (i.e. gratitude, awe, elevation)
1.4 Emotional aspects of buying counterfeits
function both as response and motivator of moral behavior, as
Emotions are important in their role as motivators of
they make people engage in socially respectful behavior
subsequent actions (Penz and Stttinger, 2012). Emotions
(Haidt, 2003; Tangney et al., 2007).
activate peoples goals and, thus, evoke certain behavioral
Haidt (2001) claims that when it comes to morality
responses that help them achieve these goals (Zeelenberg
emotions play a primary causal role. Also, moral judgments
et al., 2007). Although researchers have examined the role of
are made automatically and effortlessly as a result of moral
emotions in consumer decision-making in retail environments
intuition (i.e. peoples instant, unintentional and affect-laden
(Chang et al., 2014; Eroglu et al., 2003; Fiore et al., 2005; Kim
feelings of approval or disapproval). These instant feelings are
and Johnson, 2013), studies investigating emotional aspects
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separate from the cognitive process of searching, weighing


during counterfeit purchase situations are still scarce. Eisend
evidence, or inferring a conclusion (Haidt, 2001, p. 818).
and Schuchert-Gler (2006) were among the first to
emphasize the need for more research in this area. In their Kim et al. (2009), who studied the influence of individuals
qualitative study, respondents mentioned that they often proneness to shame and guilt on moral judgment and
bought counterfeits during their vacations in a foreign purchase intention of three types of illicit products, found that
country, where they felt more open to new experiences. Gistri people who were more prone to experience guilt were also
et al. (2009), who examined consumers counterfeit more likely to judge the purchase of illicit products as morally
consumption habits, reported that their respondents had wrong. Moreover, they found that guilt had a negative
mixed feelings toward luxury counterfeits. On the one hand, influence on the purchase intention for grey-market products.
they felt upset about not being able to buy the original. On the In her dissertation, Kim (2009) investigated how cultural
other hand, if their fake was of good quality, their happiness orientation influences moral emotions for two different
level rose, as the risk of being detected was decreased. Penz consumption situations (counterfeit product vs socially
and Stttinger (2012), who investigated emotional and responsible product). She found that Korean consumers
motivational aspects of buying counterfeits versus originals, associated more anger and contempt with the purchase of
revealed that emotions are especially relevant when the counterfeits than US consumers. Also, moral emotions were
purchasing environment is considered. Counterfeits are often found to influence moral judgment as well as purchase
bought spontaneously on holidays, where people enjoy the fun intention for both purchase scenarios. In a later study
and excitement of bargaining and the relaxed atmosphere of involving a fashion counterfeit product, Kim and Johnson
street markets. Interestingly, the biggest disadvantage that the (2014) examined the moderating role of consumers self-view
consumers of fakes often mention is the fear of being detected in the relationship between moral emotions and moral
and the shame associated with it. Accordingly, counterfeit judgment. They also found that undergraduate students make
consumption gives rise to mixed (and complex) emotional moral judgments based on their feelings, as they found
reactions. This reasoning was supported by Zampetakis significant effects for shame and pride on moral judgment.
(2014), who examined Greek consumers past emotions when Accordingly, the following hypotheses are formulated:
purchasing counterfeits. Many participants in his study
H3. Moral emotions will decrease purchase intention for a
reported feeling both happy and distressed while buying a
counterfeit product.
counterfeit.
Given the ethical dimension regarding counterfeit H4. Moral emotions will increase moral judgment
purchases, researchers have recently started to examine the concerning the purchase of a counterfeit product.
influence of moral emotions on consumers moral judgment
and behavioral intent (Kim et al., 2009; Kim and Johnson, As outlined before, moral emotions were found to play an
2014). Moral emotions are those emotions that are linked to important role in consumption situations involving illicit
the interests or welfare either of society as a whole or at least products. Particularly, guilt and shame are the most frequently
of persons other than the judge or agent (Haidt, 2003, and intensely felt emotions during the consumption of
p. 276). They differ from basic emotions (e.g. sadness, counterfeits (Zampetakis, 2014). Thus, a question instantly
happiness, surprise), as they are related to something external, arises: Why people tend to associate certain feelings with the
such as the welfare of the society (Haidt, 2003). Thus, they purchase of counterfeits? It may well be that the recognition of
motivate people to focus on others and see how ones own moral issues in the situation (i.e. moral awareness) elicits a
actions influence the welfare of others (De Hooge et al., 2007). negative affective response such as guilt, shame or even
Researchers have highlighted moral emotions as an important anger for instance, the consciousness of causing harm to the
element of moral decision-making (Haidt, 2001; Monin et al., licit brand owners and to the society as a whole. Also,

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Influence of moral awareness and moral emotions Journal of Consumer Marketing
Luis F. Martinez and Dorothea S. Jaeger Volume 33 Number 3 2016 213223

Penz and Stttinger (2005) included ethical predisposition experience of a moral dilemma (Moores and Chang, 2006;
(i.e. the awareness of ethical aspects of buying counterfeits) Kim and Johnson, 2013; Zeelenberg et al., 2007). We
into their research model to explain counterfeit purchase developed a scenario based on the study by Kim and Johnson
behavior. They found that if consumers have a stronger (2014), which described a situation where consumers had the
awareness of the ethical aspects related to counterfeit chance to buy a pair of counterfeit sunglasses. Sunglasses were
purchases, they will most likely feel embarrassed when selected as a stimulus product, as they are gender neutral and
detected buying counterfeits. Accordingly, one could suspect belong to one of the most popular counterfeit items among
that when an individual is not at all aware that the situation of consumers in Europe. Participants were asked to imagine
purchasing a counterfeit product contains moral issues and themselves in this scenario. Next, they were asked to indicate
thus believes he/she is doing the right thing negative how likely they would purchase the counterfeit sunglasses,
feelings are less likely to be associated with the purchase. how strongly they would feel each one of the moral emotions
Based on this logic, the following is hypothesized (Figure 1): listed and they responded to the listed measures for moral
awareness and moral judgment. Finally, participants provided
H5. Moral awareness will increase moral emotions. some demographic variables and were asked to indicate how
far the scenario described in the questionnaire seemed realistic
2. Method to them and if they could imagine themselves to be in that
situation. These last questions were used as a manipulation
2.1 Sample and procedure
check. Particularly, participants were able to identify
Data were collected from a convenience sample via an online
themselves with the purchase situation, indicating that the
survey created with Qualtrics Survey Software. Personal
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situation seemed realistic to them (M 5.99; SD 1.37) and


messages were disseminated via e-mail, asking potential
they could imagine themselves in such a situation (M 5.31;
respondents to participate in a study about counterfeiting.
SD 1.84) both responses on a seven-point Likert-type
Online surveys are nowadays very popular research
scale, ranging from 1 (not at all) to 7 (extremely well).
instruments, as they permit a quick and efficient diffusion and
also offer substantial cost advantages (Ilieva et al., 2002;
Wilson and Laskey, 2003). The survey was available in 2.3 Measures
German as well as in English. No incentive was offered for To measure moral emotions, guilt, anger and gratitude were
completing it. chosen, as they represent different categories of Haidts
A total of 225 individuals (97 females and 128 males) (2003) moral emotions all applicable to a counterfeit
participated in this research. The majority of them were purchase situation. Guilt is a self-conscious emotion that is
German (76.4 per cent). The remaining respondents came experienced as a result of ones belief that ones own behavior
from other European countries, including Portugal (4.4 per has caused harm, loss or distress to others (Haidt, 2003).
cent), Finland (4.4 per cent), UK (3.6 per cent) and France Anger belongs to the category of other-condemning
(2.2 per cent). Most participants mentioned that they had emotions. Although anger is less often considered in morally
purchased counterfeit products before (69.8 per cent). Table I relevant situations, it is valuable to explore its presence in the
depicts a detailed overview on sample characterization. context of a counterfeit purchase scenario, as this emotion
may arise not only as a result of experienced self-harm but also
2.2 Questionnaire in response to certain events in which the perpetrators
To test the hypotheses, we used the scenario method, as it is behavior represents a violation of moral standards (Tangney
widely used and accepted in consumer and emotion et al., 2007, p. 361). Accordingly, this negative evaluation of
research it is also effective for triggering a persons others could motivate people to take a corrective moral action.

Figure 1 Overview of hypothesized relationships

H1+ H2-
Moral awareness Moral judgment Purchase intention

H5+ H4+
H3-
Moral emotions

Notes: + Positive relationship; negative relationship; hypothesis supported;


hypothesis partially supported

Table I Sample characterization


Counterfeit purchase
Gender (%) Age group (%) experience (%)
Male Female 15-25 26-35 36-50 50 Yes No
56.9 43.1 56.9 23.6 6.7 12.9 69.8 30.2

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Influence of moral awareness and moral emotions Journal of Consumer Marketing
Luis F. Martinez and Dorothea S. Jaeger Volume 33 Number 3 2016 213223

Finally, gratitude an other-praising emotion is a pleasant 3.2 Main data analysis


affective state that is often felt as a response to certain benefits Table II presents the means, standard deviations and
received by others. Also, two other emotions (pride and correlations between variables. The results suggest that
shame) were included in the questionnaire as a manipulation participants were morally aware and judged the scenario as
check for participants. Respondents were asked to indicate morally wrong. Because participants had to imagine how they
how strongly they would feel each of the listed emotions on a would feel if they were in the scenario described, the mean
six-point Likert-type scale, ranging from 1 (would not values of moral emotions were relatively low. Two multiple
experience it at all) to 6 (would experience it very much). regression models were run to test:
Scale items used to measure each emotion were taken from 1 the influence of both moral awareness and moral emotions
different emotional scales by Aaker and Williams (1998), on moral judgment; and
Richins (1997) and Holbrook and Batra (1987). Three items 2 the effect of both moral judgment and moral emotions on
were used to measure each emotion: guilt (guilty, purchase intention. Purchase experience was used as a
blameworthy and remorseful); anger (frustrated, angry and control variable in both models.
irritated); gratitude (grateful, thankful and appreciative); pride
Table III shows the main results of the multiple regressions.
(proud, confident and excited); and shame (shameful,
The F statistics for both regression models revealed that they
embarrassed and awkward).
were significant (p 0.001). The adjusted R2 were 0.65 for
Purchase intention was measured on a seven-point
moral judgment as a dependent variable and 0.42 for purchase
Likert-type scale adopted from Kim and Johnson (2013),
intention as a dependent variable.
ranging from 1 (very unlikely/impossible) to 7 (very likely/
H1 hypothesized that the higher participants would score on
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possible). To measure moral awareness, participants were


moral awareness, the higher their level of moral judgment. This
asked to indicate their agreement with three statements
hypothesis was supported, as the multiple regression model with
developed by Reynolds (2006) and three statements
moral judgment as dependent variable revealed a significant
developed by ourselves. The six items were:
positive effect for moral awareness on moral judgment ( 0.51,
1 There are important ethical aspects to this situation.
p 0.001). H2 postulated a negative effect of moral judgment on
2 This situation clearly does not involve ethics or moral
purchase intention. The analysis of the regression model with
issues (reversed).
purchase intention as a dependent variable revealed a negative
3 This situation could be described as a moral issue.
influence ( 0.13, p 0.06), which is marginally significant;
4 I am aware that the purchase of the counterfeit sunglasses
thus, H2 was also supported. H3 suggested that moral emotions
could harm the original manufacturer.
influence purchase intention. The regression model with
5 I am aware that the purchase of the counterfeit sunglasses
purchase intention as a dependent variable showed a significant
could indirectly support organized criminal activities.
negative effect for anger ( 0.21, p 0.001) and a positive
6 I am aware that the production and distribution of
effect for gratitude ( 0.38, p 0.001) on purchase intention;
counterfeits often neglect labor and environmental
thus, H3 was again supported.
standards.
Moral emotions were also hypothesized to influence moral
Finally, the measures of moral judgment were taken from the judgment (H4). Results revealed significant effects for guilt
study by Kim and Johnson (2014). Participants were asked to ( 0.32, p 0.001) and gratitude ( 0.18, p 0.001) on
indicate their agreement with three statements, namely: moral judgment. However, the proneness to feel anger had no
1 I consider the purchase of the counterfeit sunglasses in effect on moral judgment. Thus, H4 was partially supported.
this scenario to be morally acceptable (reversed). Additionally, the control variable purchase experience had a
2 The act of buying the counterfeit sunglasses rather than significant effect on purchase intention ( 0.21, p 0.001).
the original product is wrong. This result is in line with previous research, which also found that
3 It is morally wrong to buy the counterfeit sunglasses. the intentions to buy illicit products were higher for people who
had incurred in that kind of behavior before (Kim et al., 2009;
Both moral awareness and judgment were measured on
Tan, 2002; Tom et al., 1998).
Likert-type scales, ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7
Finally, to test the effect of moral awareness on moral
(strongly agree).
emotions, three simple linear regressions were run, with moral
awareness being the explanatory variable and entering first anger,
then guilt and finally gratitude, as the dependent variables into
3. Results
the model (Table IV). The analyses revealed that the higher
3.1 Preliminary data analysis participants scored on moral awareness, the more they associated
The basic assumptions to use multiple regression analysis were the feeling of guilt ( 0.51, p 0.001) and anger ( 0.27,
confirmed (e.g. the residuals were normally distributed and p 0.001) with the purchase of the counterfeit product. Also,
homoscedastic, and there were no problems with moral awareness had a negative effect on gratitude ( 0.16,
multicollinearity) (Hair et al., 1995). Residuals statistics were p 0.014). Hence, H5 was supported.
also examined to identify potential outliers as no outliers
were found, no items were deleted from the data set.
4. Discussion
Moreover, the reliabilities of all measures were checked by
calculating their Cronbachs alpha: 0.94 for purchase 4.1 Main contributions
intention, 0.72 for moral judgment, 0.81 for moral awareness, The study at hand contributes to the existing literature on
0.89 for guilt, 0.76 for anger and 0.87 for gratitude. counterfeiting, as it is one of the very few studies that

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Influence of moral awareness and moral emotions Journal of Consumer Marketing
Luis F. Martinez and Dorothea S. Jaeger Volume 33 Number 3 2016 213223

Table II Descriptive statistics and correlations


Variables Mean SD 1 2 3 4 5
1. Purchase intent 3.92 1.99
2. Moral judgment 4.56 1.39 0.45
3. Moral awareness 4.95 1.21 0.27 0.72
4. Anger 1.74 0.99 0.34 0.35 0.27
5. Guilt 2.82 1.38 0.39 0.63 0.51 0.55
6. Gratitude 1.97 1.06 0.52 0.35 0.16 0.10 0.19

Notes: Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (two-tailed); correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (two-tailed)

Table III Results from multiple regression


Dependent variable Explanatory variables Standardized coefficient () p-value

1. Moral judgment Moral awareness 0.51 0.001
Moral emotions
Anger 0.02 0.76
Guilt 0.32 0.001
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Gratitude 0.18 0.001

Control variable
Purchase experience 0.08 0.06
2. Purchase intention Moral judgment 0.13 0.06

Moral emotions
Anger 0.21 0.001
Guilt 0.09 0.24
Gratitude 0.38 0.001

Control variable
Purchase experience 0.21 0.001
Notes: Adjusted R2 0.65; F(5.219) 84.8; p 0.001;
adjusted R2 0.42; F(5,219) 33.6; p 0.001

Table IV Results from three simple linear regressions


Dependent variable Explanatory variable Standardized coefficient () p-value R2
Moral emotions
1. Anger Moral awareness 0.27 0.001 0.07
2. Guilt Moral awareness 0.51 0.001 0.26
3. Gratitude Moral awareness 0.16 0.014 0.03

examined cognitive and affective components influence in the piracy as an infringement of intellectual property rights, this
counterfeit consumption process. The research built on fact had no influence on their judgment of the morality of the
previous work from Kim et al. (2009), who called for more act itself. Nowadays, buying and using pirated software might
investigations into other types of moral emotions that might be perceived as a commonplace behavior thus, although
play a role in counterfeit purchase situations. In addition, the people recognize there is a moral issue involved, this does not
influence of moral awareness on moral judgment was affect whether they judge it as morally wrong. However, the
examined a very important but rarely studied component of findings of this study suggest that this process is different for
Rests ethical decision-making process (Jordan, 2007). counterfeit fashion products in this case, people who are very
First, this studys findings showed that the higher the aware of the diversity of moral issues involved in the
respondents level of moral awareness, the more likely they production and distribution of counterfeits are also more likely
were to judge the purchase of the counterfeit sunglasses in the to perceive these behaviors as morally wrong.
scenario as morally wrong (H1). This finding contradicts Moreover, it was found that moral judgment had a negative
Moores and Changs (2006) results, who found that moral effect on purchase intention (H2). Although significant only if
recognition did not have any effect on moral judgment. The p 0.1, this finding supported previous studies which found that
difference in this result might be explained by the fact that this individuals who perceived the act of buying counterfeits as
study focused on a fashion counterfeit product, whereas morally wrong were less likely to buy those products (Ha and
Moores and Chang (2006) investigated software piracy. Their Lennon, 2006; Kim et al., 2009). When confronted with an
study revealed that although participants recognized software ethical dilemma, consumers count on their cognitive moral

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Influence of moral awareness and moral emotions Journal of Consumer Marketing
Luis F. Martinez and Dorothea S. Jaeger Volume 33 Number 3 2016 213223

judgment to decide whether they should engage or not in a counterfeiting, especially as the knowledge of causing harm
certain behavior (Tan, 2002). Additionally, as hypothesized, makes people feel guilty. Also, this study revealed that anger
moral emotions influenced purchase intention (H3) and moral decreased the purchase intention of counterfeits. Anger could
judgment (H4). These findings are in line with other researchers be evoked in response to a certain event when moral standards
who found that moral emotions influenced purchase intention are violated. People who have very strong moral beliefs may
and moral judgment (Kim et al., 2009; Kim and Johnson, 2014). feel righteous anger toward those who sell fake products or
Gratitude was found to influence both purchase intention and even toward authorities that allow this to happen. Moreover,
moral judgment, although the effect on purchase intention was people who have a special attachment to certain brands might
higher ( 0.38). Guilt had a significant influence on moral feel this kind of anger because they want to defend the original
judgment but not on purchase intention. On the other hand, manufacturers from the illegal producers who destroy the
anger significantly influenced purchase intention, although it had exclusive image of the original brands. The reasons why anger
no impact on moral judgment. This finding is in line with that of can be felt are manifold and worth exploring. Given that anger
Kim (2009), who reported that for the counterfeit purchase has been identified as an important moral emotion that
scenario, gratitude and anger significantly influenced purchase directly influences purchase intention, policymakers should
intention. But when the dependent variable was moral judgment, aim more often at creating advertising campaigns which
guilt was found to have a significant influence on it. In line with provoke feelings of anger. For instance, this could be carried
findings from Kim (2009), it could thus be suggested that some out by showing who really benefits from this illegal business
emotions might differ in their impact, depending on the outcome and who are the people suffering from poor labor conditions
variable. that are prevalent in illegally run factories.
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Also, H5 hypothesized that moral awareness would influence


moral emotions. This hypothesis was supported. The higher 4.2 Limitations and directions for future research
participants scored on moral awareness, the more they indicated As any research, this study has some limitations. The first
feelings of guilt and anger. On the other hand, individuals with limitation concerns the sample a convenience sample recruited
very low awareness were more likely to report feelings of online, highlighting the weaknesses of non-probability sampling.
gratitude. Although the linear regression models could only Moreover, although the aim was to base this study on a diverse
explain a modest fraction of the variance, the results were still population, the sample was skewed toward German young
meaningful, as they showed that up to a certain extent, the consumers. Hence, the results cannot be generalized. Future
feelings that people associate with the purchase of a counterfeit research should draw on diverse probability samples applying a
were influenced by the extent to which they were aware that the combination of online and offline data collection techniques to
situation contains moral content. get a more representative number of people from different
Regarding the practical contributions of this study, nationalities, age and income groups. This would enable
policymakers might use these findings to combat counterfeiting. researchers to compare for possible differences among them.
One important contribution of this research is that it highlighted A second limitation refers to the fact that the scenario
moral awareness as an important component of ethical method was used to evoke participants emotional responses.
decision-making. Authorities who design education campaigns Although this situation was realistic and the majority of the
should take this into account and try to create campaigns that people could very well imagine being in such a situation, the
make consumers recognize the various negative consequences low mean values for the felt moral emotions indicated that
resulting from the counterfeit industry. The more specific their the respondents did not feel those emotions very strongly, as
knowledge about the harms caused by the counterfeit industry is, they only had to assume that they were in the described
the more they will recognize that purchasing counterfeits is purchase situation. The results might well differ in an actual
wrong. Also, while raising awareness for this phenomenon, licit purchase situation where real emotions are experienced. Thus,
brand owners should focus on showing that legally run brand future researchers are encouraged to design field studies to
factories actually differ from counterfeit factories, specifically in observe how people actually feel and act in a counterfeit
terms of labor conditions and environmental regulation. purchase situation. Also, it would be interesting to conduct
Particularly in current times, when some original brand field studies in different purchase environments (e.g. national
manufacturers experience a lot of criticism for their business vs foreign countries) to see how peoples emotional reactions
practices themselves (e.g. child labor, animal testing), it is crucial differ. Finally, given the increasing amount of counterfeits that
that they point out their corporate citizenship practices and prove are being purchased through the Internet (European
to consumers that their practices are actually different from what Commission, 2014), it might also be relevant to explore the
is commonplace in illegal factories. impact of emotions focusing in online counterfeit behavior.
When it comes to the influence of emotions, our findings Moreover, this study was limited to one fashion product
did not provide evidence that guilt is a direct influencer of sunglasses. But peoples emotional reactions and moral
purchase intention. Accordingly, although people are prone to judgments might differ depending on the product type. Thus,
feel guilty in a counterfeit purchase situation, this does not future research should aim to compare different products when
necessarily imply that they would not purchase the counterfeit examining peoples moral emotions and ethical decision-making
product. On the other hand, the results clearly showed that process regarding counterfeiting. For instance, symbolic
proneness to feel guilt influences moral judgment. For products (e.g. handbags), health products (e.g. medication) or
policymakers, this finding emphasizes that it may indeed be FMCG and low-involvement products (e.g. shampoos) could be
useful to develop anti-counterfeiting ads directed at examined in this context. Additionally, this study showed that
consumers, which highlight the moral issues related to moral emotions play a role in counterfeit purchase behavior.

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Influence of moral awareness and moral emotions Journal of Consumer Marketing
Luis F. Martinez and Dorothea S. Jaeger Volume 33 Number 3 2016 213223

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Luis F. Martinez is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at
Wagner, S.C. and Sanders, G.L. (2001), Considerations in
Nova School of Business and Economics (Lisboa, Portugal).
ethical decision making and software piracy, Journal of
He earned his PhD in Social and Behavioral Sciences from
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Tilburg University, and he held a Visiting Scholar position at
Wang, F., Zhang, H., Zang, H. and Ouyang, M. (2005),
the MIT Sloan School of Management. His research interests
Purchasing pirated software: an initial examination of
include emotion and decision-making, consumer behavior and
Chinese consumers, Journal of Consumer Marketing,
health at work. His research work has appeared in journals
Vol. 22 No. 6, pp. 340-351.
such as Decision, Harvard Business Review, Cognition and
Wee, C.H., Tan, S.J. and Cheok, K.H. (1995), Non-price
Emotion, Journal of Economic Psychology, The International
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Journal of Human Resource Management, Journal of
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exploratory study, International Marketing Review, Vol. 12


Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance and Stress
No. 6, pp. 19-46.
and Health. Luis F. Martinez is the corresponding author and
Wilcox, K., Kim, H.M. and Sen, S. (2009), Why do
can be contacted at: luis.martinez@novasbe.pt
consumers buy counterfeit luxury brands?, Journal of
Marketing Research, Vol. 46 No. 2, pp. 247-259. Dorothea S. Jaeger is a Researcher at Nova School of
Wilson, A. and Laskey, N. (2003), Internet based marketing Business and Economics (Lisboa, Portugal) and a Consultant
research: a serious alternative to traditional research at HPP Strategy & Marketing Consulting (Frankfurt,
methods?, Marketing Intelligence and Planning, Vol. 21 Germany). She received her Masters degree in Management
No. 2, pp. 79-84. from Nova School of Business and Economics and her
Zampetakis, L.A. (2014), The emotional dimension of the Bachelors degree in Business Administration from the
consumption of luxury counterfeit goods: an empirical University of Mannheim.

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