Business ethics – a differentiating factor in the 21st century?
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
requires thoughtfully developed branding strategies. In 2003 it was reported that a few people in the insurance company Skandia had betrayed the company’s business ethics. Indications show that consumers are starting to question business ethics within companies. A reputation takes years to build but can be ruined overnight if a scandal is revealed.
Aim: The aim is to investigate if the brand equity theories of Aaker and Keller stress the importance of business ethics to the same extent as the companies which will be interviewed. An outline and analysis of how business ethics are being discussed by the two main theorists are therefore necessary. We will thereafter see if and how five selected Uppsala firms have incorporated business ethics into their branding strategies.
Literature review: We will review Aakers and Keller’s theories on brand equity. As they are influencing the world of brand equity, it is important to view these theorists in order to evaluate to what degree they incorporate modern issues such as business ethics. Our method to do this will be based on the assumption that when the theorists discuss customers’ needs, wants and expectations,business ethics can be included. By doing this we will determine if and how the theories stress the importance of business ethics to the same extent as the companies which will be interviewed.
Method: We have chosen to use a qualitative study to receive a deeper knowledge about the views and attitudes towards business ethics of the companies. The interviews will be conducted as semi-structured in-depth interviews to provide us with the opportunity to ‘probe’ answer, when we want the interviewees to explain, or build on, their responses.
Findings: We argue that each attribute in Aaker and Keller s models should include business ethics. No brand will survive if they do not have high standards of business ethics. When comparing the respondents’ views and the two theorists it indicates that business ethics should be imbued throughout the entire theories. It further became apparent that the companies believed that business ethics has become one of the most important characteristics of their firms and that problems will arise if ethical codes of conduct are broken.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Företagsekonomiska institutionen , 2005.
Brand equity, business ethics, morality, Aaker, Keller
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-6276OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-6276DiVA: diva2:130456