Studiengang International Management
Fach- Sozial und Methodenkompetenz
Supervised by Michael Werle Rutter
Bachelor Research Proposal
Consumer perceptions of socially responsible consumption:
Attitudes among Chinese and German business students-
A comparative/ contrastive study
by Laura Beckmann
1 Title and Initial Statement of Research Question 3
2 Background 3
3 Statement of research objective 6
3.1 Primary research objective 6
3.2 Secondary research objective 6
3.3 Definition of terms 6
3.4 Detailed explanation of objectives 7
4 ...view middle of the document...
The relevance is given by the fact that there is only limited research investigating in the area of consuming ethically in Germany and especially in China. The main research questions that I will try to answer in this research are:
1. Is it important to Chinese and German business students to consume ethically?
2. What factors are important to the consumer?
3. What factors/agents influence the customer?
4. Do ethics play a role at all in consumption?
The topic globalization is on everyone’s lips and provokes different reactions and actions. Companies expand their markets, capital flows are increasing and international cooperation has never been easier. In other words globalization is influencing almost every areas of life such as politics, culture, communication, economy, environment or human rights. Competition between companies has never been on such a high level. Everyone wants to be quicker, better and significantly more favourable. We should write that German industrialisation already started in the 19th century and is now the biggest economy in Europe (measured on gross domestic product) while Chinese markets were closed for the rest of the world until 1979 when Chinese started to open its economic zones. Foreign investors like Siemens, IBM or Motorola saw a big potential in the Chinese industry. The cheaper production of goods increased dramatically and made China to one of the biggest export nations in the world.
However, achieving certain goals does not always mean achieving it in an ethically correct way. It is a fact that China is renowned for its production of textiles. Despite this, one reason of the importance of the textile fabrics is very low wages which is indeed questionable. Moreover, it is important to mention that China is well known for counterfeits, which is doubtless an ‘ethical dilemma’ too. A previous study from Giana Eckhardt, Tim Devinney and Russel Belk has illustrated that ‘Chinese consumers stood out by failing to see any ethical problem with such behaviour’.
Nevertheless, International brands such as Nike have been in the news for bad labour conditions too. Most products of Nike (athletic shoes) are produced in developing countries in South East Asia. The labour conditions are quite bad in these countries. Women have to work for extreme long hours under unsafe conditions while the wages are substandard. Another example is the collapse of the garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2013. It is a recent incident but did the behaviour of consumers change? Consumers have probably seen those pictures in the news or might even know the names of the brands and have bought products of those brands before.
This raises further questions. What are the consumers thinking about such incidents and what are they doing? Do we need more information? Is it correct on shifting the...