A study of neutralisation theory's application to global consumer ethics: P2P file-trading of musical intellectual property on the internet
by Deborah Y. Cohn, Valerie L. Vaccaro
International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising (IJIMA), Vol. 3, No. 1, 2006

Abstract: This study applied neutralisation techniques from neutralisation theory (Sykes and Matza, 1957) to consumer perceptions to justify unethical distribution and acquisition of unauthorised free digital music on the internet. A two-stage multimethod and qualitative study was performed. One qualitative data set was developed with written protocols in 2000 at the start of the Napster phenomenon with a sample of consumers from nine nations. The second research phase was done in 2004 with a netnographic approach to studying weblogs. Results supported the Marks and Mayo (1991) extension of Hunt and Vitell's (1986) General Theory of Marketing Ethics model and Fukukawa's (2002) Framework for Ethically Questionable Behaviour in Consumption. The first stage of cross-cultural analysis revealed nations' differences in neutralisation techniques used by subjects to justify unethical file-trading behaviour. Results from both research phases indicated global similarities among consumer values.

Online publication date: Thu, 09-Feb-2006

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