Book Title
Basic Marketing Research: Using Microsoft Excel Data Analysis 3rd Edition

978-0135078228 Chapter 2 Solution Manual Part 2

June 7, 2019
Case 2.1 ABR Marketing Research
Case Objective: This case study deals with ethical issues in marketing research.
Answers to Case Questions
The following case solution is provided by Professor Harriet Bettis-Outland, who wrote
the case.
Case Questions:
1. After you have thoroughly read the case, write down what you believe are the
issues in the case.
2. For each issue in your list, rate its importance, from 7 (very important) to 1
This original case scenario was developed by John R. Sparks and Shelby D. Hunt to
assist in a project designed to measure ethical sensitivity. Their work was reported in an
excellent journal article, John R. Sparks and Shelby D. Hunt (1998), “Marketing
Researcher Ethical Sensitivity: Conceptualization, Measurement, and Exploratory
Ethical sensitivity has been described as certain personal characteristics that enable one to
recognize the presence of an ethical issue. This is perhaps the most important part of
ethical decision-making—if no problem or ethical situation is perceived, then no ethical
evaluation process is activated. The purpose of this case is to help students become aware
An ethical issue exists when there is a decision situation that involves alternate courses of
action in which the situation and/or courses of action are inconsistent with guides such as
rules, codes, or norms. These guides can come from many sources; some are formal, such
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society together, says that this type of behavior is not right, therefore unethical. But, as
This case attempts to measure students’ ethical sensitivity. They are asked to list issues
they see in the case. Some issues will not deal with ethics. The subtle purpose of this case
is two-fold. First, how many ethical issues will the students identify? Secondly, how
important are the issues rated? Even if an individual recognizes an ethical issue, there
may be wide divergence in the evaluation of the importance of the issue. In the eyes of
most everyone, we find agreement that all ethical issues are not of equal value; there are
How Many Ethical Issues Did Your Students Identify? What Level of Importance
Did Your Students Assign the Issue(s)?
The original Sparks and Hunt case as well as this updated version, were both developed
with a great deal of effort aimed at meeting seven criteria. First, rather than being an
“ethics case,” both ethical and nonethical issues are raised. Second, the ethical issues are
those commonly faced by marketing researchers. Third, the case is realistic. Fourth, the
There are five ethical issues identified in this version of the case—research integrity, fair
treatment of vendors, research confidentiality, incomplete reporting, and misleading
reporting. Each will be discussed. Additionally, for the first three ethical issues listed
Issue 1 (Research Integrity)—Barbara believes her boss wants her to produce a
statistical analysis consistent with those recommendations already made to Precision
Grooming Products.
Research Integrity Introductory Students
n = 142
Senior Students
n = 178
Research Practitioners
n = 188
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What is truth? According to one old sage, “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.”
The implication is that each researcher could tell his or her own story, depending upon
the slant they wanted to take. So where is the problem? First of all, why was ABR
Declaring the results before a study is performed or completed happens at times. By
introducing biased or leading questions, one can steer the results of research. In this
Issue 2 (Vendor Fairness)—Barbara’s assistant left out media habit questions from the
questionnaire when she gave it to the vendor. Michelle (Barbara’s boss) and Phillip (of
Vendor Fairness Introductory Students
n = 142
Senior Students
n = 178
Research Practitioners
n = 188
Some would say that Barbara didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, she didn’t do anything—
Sins of Commission vs. Sins of Omission—Barbara didn’t actually lie, but she let a lie
Barbara wanted this job. She was working furiously to meet the deadlines. We do not
know her personal situation. We do not know if she was behind in her house payments,
had high credit card bills or other debts—nothing, other than what was in the case.
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Issue 3 (Confidentiality)—David Miller, who worked for the advertising agency,
previously handled the Village Toiletries’ account, which was Precision’s main
Confidentiality Introductory Students
n = 142
Senior Students
n = 178
Research Practitioners
n = 188
Like both Issues 1 and 2, this issue was identified as a problem with a much greater
percentage of practitioners as compared to students. We are back to the question of
professional ethics. How long do you have to be true to a past client? David didn’t lie,
cheat, or steal. He didn’t remain silent when he should have spoken out. Why then is this
Can research findings for one client be used for a competitor? Could past findings be
Though not included as part of the original data collection in the Sparks and Hunt study,
in addition to the three previous issues, the following ethical issues (4 and 5) are
identified in the ABR case:
Issue 4 (Incomplete Reporting)—Barbara’s assistant accidentally deleted all questions
pertaining to media habits that should have been included in the phone interviews of
almost 75 percent of all participants in the sample. Consequently, any suggestion that
Incomplete reporting enables an organization to skew results in their favor, for instance,
by neglecting to mention the composition of the sample, or the types of questions asked
Copyright © 2012 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
incomplete reporting.
Issue 5 (Misleading Reporting)—closely related to incomplete reporting, the practice of
misleading reporting occurs when research results are presented in such a manner that the
intended audience draws conclusions that are not entirely justified. For instance, even
Furthermore, Barbara did not disclose that conclusions were drawn based on a much
smaller study than originally planned; Barbara had initially asked for 250 participants
from 15 different metropolitan areas. Due to time and financial constraints this was cut to
Case 2.2 Integrated Case: Advanced Automobile Concepts
Case Objective: Students are asked to think about: (1) using an internal versus an
external supplier of marketing research and (2) the concerns marketing
research clients have about the confidentiality of their projects,
namely, whether or not the marketing research company will be ethical
and not divulge information to the client’s competition.
Answers to Case Questions
1. Why should Nick Thomas use the internal supplier, his own parent
company’s marketing research department? Why should he not use
Zen has its own formally organized marketing research department.
The major advantages of using such an internal supplier are: (1)
From the description of Zen Motors, it is clear that the company has
not done much innovative for many years. Nick needs marketing
research for radical new automobile technology and designs. If
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2. Nick Thomas is concerned about using an external supplier of
marketing research services, CMG Research. Go to the MRA’s Code
of Ethics and read what they have to say about researchers sharing
con(dential information. (at www.mra-net.org, go to “Resources”
and then “Codes, Standards, Guidelines”; then go to “MRA
Expanded Code of Market Research, Section A”).
Section A has several ethical items that MRA members must agree
to by way of signature. Item 3. states: “Will protect and preserve the
con-dentiality of all research techniques and/or methodologies and
of information considered con-dential or proprietary.” Item 12,
If CMG Research belongs to the MRA (and yes, it does), Nick is
Copyright © 2012 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall