Often, the success of marketing research depends on cooperative respondents. So when a researcher behaves unethically and abuses those respondents, he not only hurts the future of his business, but he also potentially hurts the success of future research because abusive or questionable treatment tends to discourage respondents from participating in future studies. As a result, you want to make sure you behave ethically at all times during research.

If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, you should halt your research and ask yourself whether you’re being unethical and damaging the future of your business:

  • Will my marketing decision treat me, or my company, as an exception to a convention that I must trust others to follow?

  • Would I repel customers by telling them about my marketing decision(s)?

  • Would I repel qualified job applicants by telling them about my marketing decision(s)?

  • Is my approach too narrow, exclusive, or cliquish? (If answer is “yes,” answer a through c. If answer is “no,” skip to the next question.)

    • a.Is my marketing decision partial?

    • b.Does it divide the goals of the company?

    • c.Will I have to pull rank (use coercion) to enact it?

  • Would I prefer avoiding the consequences of this marketing decision?

  • Am I avoiding any of the questions by telling myself that I could get away with something?