Title: The effect of child labour in Africa on consumers of the cell phone industry

Authors: Emily K. Smith; Joseph A. Cazier; Jerry Fox; Jeremiah M. Kitunda

Addresses: Dean's Office, Walker Business School, Appalachian State University, 416 Howard Street, Room 4135 Raley Hall, ASU, Box 32037, Boone, North Carolina 28608-2037, USA ' Dean's Office, Walker Business School, Appalachian State University, 416 Howard Street, Room 4135 Raley Hall, ASU, Box 32037, Boone, North Carolina 28608-2037, USA ' Dean's Office, Walker Business School, Appalachian State University, 416 Howard Street, Room 4135 Raley Hall, ASU, Box 32037, Boone, North Carolina 28608-2037, USA ' Dean's Office, Walker Business School, Appalachian State University, 416 Howard Street, Room 4135 Raley Hall, ASU, Box 32037, Boone, North Carolina 28608-2037, USA

Abstract: The ethical integrity of companies is important to assess as business faces challenges that arise from different social and environmental responsibility issues. Child labour is one such issue that is currently impacting children in the Democratic Republic of Congo as they mine for coltan. This conflict mineral is used in many consumer electronics, which raises the issue of what consumers and companies are doing to take action against this issue. This study uses the issue of child labour to mine coltan for cell phones to assess the ethical impact on consumers of the cell phone industry. Consumer awareness leads to an assessment of revised social features (Auger et al., 2003), which looks at the existence of price premiums and purchase intentions. The willingness-to-pay for social features leads to ethical consumerism, which positively reinforces the continued focus on corporate responsibility among businesses. Survey results analysing the issue are used to show that consumers identify child labour as socially unjust and consumers are willing to pay more for phones that can be certified as child labour-free.

Keywords: child labour; ethical consumerism; willingness-to-pay; social features; Africa; ethics; cell phone industry; mobile phone industry; cell phones; mobile phones; Democratic Republic of Congo; coltan mining; consumer electronics; consumer awareness; corporate responsibility; child exploitation; children.

DOI: 10.1504/IJISCM.2012.051159

International Journal of Information Systems and Change Management, 2012 Vol.6 No.2, pp.147 - 159

Available online: 21 Dec 2012 *

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