Ethical Issues in Business Relationships between New Zealand Marketing Research Practitioners and Clients

Anca C. Yallop, University of Winchester
Simon Mowatt, Auckland University of Technology

Abstract: Marketing research, as part of the marketing discipline, encompasses complex relationships between the general public, respondents, clients, and researchers. The ethical issues between clients and researchers have been under-researched generally. No studies have been conducted in New Zealand until now. This paper presents the first empirical research on the ethical issues that arise between New Zealand-based marketing researchers and their clients. A qualitative study of twenty-nine interviews with marketing research practitioners was conducted to identify ethical conflicts they experienced in client relationships. The study presents rich data on ethical issues in practitioner-client relationships and finds that while New Zealand researchers face the same ethical issues as those in the international literature, they also confront some locally distinctive features. The two most frequent ethical issues are related to the identification of respondents and the reporting of research results. The findings are discussed in relation to the Market Research Society of New Zealand Code of Practice, and accompanying suggestions are made for the future improvement of ethical awareness in the industry.