With the advancement in time and technology, the issues related to the business moral values relevant to consumers are increasing. Every business has some moral duties towards their consumers and if these moral duties are not fulfilled they affect the consumers in a big way. Business are using different sorts of strategies to make them stand out different from their competitors and on the same side want to attract the customers. Product labeling and Advertising are important as they are the primary source of information to their consumers. Businesses these days are using these primary information means and misleading their consumers by giving out false information or by showing advertisements that are against the moral. This paper discusses about the factors that are major reasons for the deteriorating moral values in the business, and how this is affecting the lives of the consumers.
Principles that govern the decent and immoral of an individual's choice and behavior are defined as Moral values. Government, society, religion or individual family norms derive the individual's moral values. Moral values may initiate or originate by the society or the government of that country. Moral Values may change, upon the requirements; these requirements may be changed by the rules, social norms or law of that community or by the change in the culture of that society.
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Religions come with a set of codes and a list of allowed and prohibited things that the individual should adopt to live according to its religion. Every person belonging to the religion act according to the codes defined or taught in its religion. Similarly, every country has its own set of norms and values called as a culture that people follows living in that society.
With the concept of globalization, whenever the organization plans to increase its business, it should first study its culture, people, religion that is being followed and then plan accordingly. It is very important for a business to understand the area, region where they are planning to invest. For a business to be successful it should follow the country traditions, culture and moral values. Morality is the foremost important thing in a business, consumers always like to buy the things of those companies who take care of their consumers and prove to give 100% consumer protection for their money.
Morality and Ethics:
Greek word ethos - stands for Ethics, ethos means custom or moral character. Morality originates from the Latin word moralis - manner or customs. Both these words deal with the manner or customs of the people in which they do things. The modern dictionary defines these words as the way people act - that can be either good or bad. (Perle, Morality and Ethics: An Introduction, 2004)
A set of agreed rules and the code of conduct within an environment that openly states what is acceptable and what is not acceptable within a society is referred to as Morality. The concept of morality changes with time and situation, this can explain as killing (murder) is an immoral act but in the state of war or in a battlefield killing, murder is allowed, so it be said that morality is synced with ethics. Morality addresses the queries related to ethics on the moral conclusion that can be derived from a situation or specific situations. By stating the code of conduct it conveys the acceptable and non acceptable action, behavior, system of belief, standards and social customs that is present in the society. (Borade, 2012)
Difference Between Morality and Ethics:
There is a very minute difference between the two terms Morals and values. Both moral and values depict the behavior of the individual, many researchers has concluded that morality and values are parallel to each other. Morals can be classified as the values that the person is born with. In a border term moral can be defined as the structure of beliefs that are taught to an individual so that he can have the ability to differentiate between right and wrong, decent and wicked, allowed and forbidden. It is upon the moral values that the person is judged in the society, because they are visible and are considered as the social value of the person. Moral character is very important for a person because it becomes his identity. Similarly the moral or the social values are very important for the business, because it is because of their social responsibilities and image that the consumer decided their purchasing preferences. Everyone has heard a term immoral person or immoral business activities, but never heard of the term in imvalue person or invalid business because the person or business is judged by its moral activities not by the values.
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The major difference between the both terms moral and values is motivation. Morality motivates the person to do good in life, encourage the person to lead a good life in all best possible manner, but values are within a person and completely depends on his own choice, values are instincts, perception or gut feeling within the person. The point of importance here is that morals are formed with the help of the values, so if the values do not exist than morals will also not exists. Values are earned, developed from the society, whereas morals are the system of beliefs. (Manisha, 2009)
Morality In Islam
Good moral behavior for a Muslim is a characteristic that the Prophet Mohammad (SAW) possessed. By following the instruction, training and education of Prophet Mohammad (SAW) the lives of the people can be brightened with the help of good behaviors and right quality. His teaching brightens the character and fills the empty spaces with good manner and righteous path. Islam very high rates the morality and Prophet Muhammad (SAW) at many places taught the people to have good and moral character. He said that the person with the good moral character will be valued very high on the Day of Judgment. (shegarlynn, 2009)
Islam the religion of peace, it was Islam that removed the power of feelings and introduced the practice of forgiveness and absolution in society. Islam is a religion of peace and harmony and do not force people to do things, the best teaching of the moral values explains in depth, and if the person accept them with his heart and upon his will perform the righteous task, that is the best moral practice. When the person accepts the importance of morality and values, than his life and his business both prospers. For mankind the excellent guidelines are provided by Islam on the righteous task are in the form of the Holy Quran and the examples of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) teaching and practice. (shegarlynn, 2009)
Few Important Moral Values in Islam are as follows:
Purity, chastity, modesty
Honesty, truthfulness, reliability
Fear of Allah
Self-discipline and control
Respectfulness and Obedience
Hospitality and generosity
Patience and perseverance
Sincerity, repentance, politeness
In Islam Moral values give direction to Muslims to perform their activity that are beneficial for themselves as well as for their society. Moral Values in Islam teach the Muslims and other nations how to perform business in a manner from where they can generate profits as well as good reputation in the market along with consumer's trust. Islam describes, clarify the path that leads to goodness and happiness of Allah, and aims that all human behaviors, attributes and actions are performed in a way that has been communicated to them by the Lord. (shegarlynn, 2009)
Islam And Moral Values In Business:
Ethics is a complete subject and Business Ethics is its branch. Business Ethics is the study or reviewing of all the ethical rules and regulations, principles that should be followed within a commercial context so that no moral or ethical problem arises in the setting up of the business. In general it can be said that business ethics are the standards that define the principles within which the business should perform it activities (Azmi). Business Ethics was designed to make judgements about what is allowed in a business and what is not allowed for a business after a complete study of the norms and values of the society. In short or brief, a study that clearly states the right and wrong, acceptable and unacceptable and fair and unfair in a business is called business ethics. (Azmi)
Islam the religion of peace and humanity, instruct and stress a lot on following the ethical values that are defined, and instruct that they should be followed in all the aspects of human life. The Holy Quran and the life of Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) is full of examples of the norms and the code of ethical values. The Holy Quran Says:
You are the best nation that has been raised up for mankind; You enjoin right conduct, forbid evil and believe in Allah. (3:110)
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The above verse clearly shows that how important is for a Muslim to follow the right path and stay away from the wrong path that will end up in a very tough punishment on the day of the Judgement. Islam stresses a lot on following the moral values and business ethics. It says that sell the right and exactly the same thing to the buyer that has been promised to them. Islam says that if the pack says that it holds 100 grams than exact 100 grams should be given to the buyer, if it is less than there is a strict punishment for the person who do not sell honestly.
The Prophet (sws) also says:
I have been sent for the purpose of perfecting good morals. (Ibn Hambal, No: 8595)
The life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) is full with examples of morality and business ethics. Due to his honesty and humble behavior people trusted him and followed him in the way he does the business and lived his life. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) always requested and teach the sellers to do their business with honesty and according to the norms defined in the religion.
Not just in business, Islam also says that the ethical and moral values should be followed in the daily life. If Muslims live according to the teaching of Islam, he will never face any loss or problem because Allah will protect his life and his business.
Teaching and following the path that is explained by Allah and his Prophet (P.B.U.H) is not difficult, and if it is followed with full honesty and dedication than he will not only be successful in this world but also on the Day of judgement.
Company Law In Pakistan:
The company Ordinance of 1984 is being followed by the corporate sector of Pakistan. The introduction of the company law was important because the law clearly states the boundaries of the companies and prohibited the companies to get involved in businesses that are not allowed in Islam, because Pakistan was followed on the basis of Islam, and Muslims wanted a country where they can easily practice their religion according to the norms, ethics and values.
Companies Act is very old, it was the time of the Great Britian when they were the rulers of the sub-continent, they passed an Act called the Companies Act that had very important requirements that were required for the company administration to follow. They called this Act as the Companies Act of 1908. Later on after five years Companies Act of 1913 was passed in British India. When Pakistan came at the world map on August 14, 1947, they adopted the same Companies Act of 1913 because at that time everything was new and it was just a beginning for Pakistan. After 12 years in 1959 the Company Law Commission was set up, and they were given the duty to make companies law according to the modern time. In 1960, the Company Law Commission published its report and finally the Companies Ordinance of 1984 replaced the old Company Act of 1913. (Admin, 2010)
Objectives of Companies Ordinance 1984:
The main purpose was to combine the laws that are associated with certain associations and companies.
Company Ordinance another important purpose was to make sure that the corporate sector of Pakistan has a growth and new business opportunity are explored.
Protection of the investor. This was important so that foreign investors come in Pakistan and make investment at a minimum risk of loss
Provide opportunity for investment so that the economy can improve.
Consumer Right Law In Pakistan:
Pakistan after 65 years still do not have laws that give protection to the consumers. In the judicial debate you will see very few concerned related to the consumers. It is not only that the consumer laws are absent, but the few that are present the consumers are completely unaware about them. There are very few legal remedies available if any consumer goes to the court if he has faced some damage because of the misconduct done by the company.
It is very sad to see that the consumers are suffering because of the companies' unlawful activities, and they do not go to the court because they are completely unaware about their rights. The presence of the consumer law serves as not being present because the consumers do not know how to use their rights. If they have a complaint against any company they do not know how to launch the complaint. (Mohammad Sarwar Khan, 1999)
The Consumers Rights Commission of Pakistan strongly feels that if the consumers and lawyers are aware about the consumers act, it can prove beneficial for both the consumers and the companies. The companies will get more conscious about their product when they know that they are selling a product to an educated buyer, who has the right to go to court if the offered product that is not according to the promised standard. When the company standard will improve it will give them a good name in the global market and will help them to generate more profits. On the other hand the consumer will get the best quality product.
The consumer law of Pakistan clearly mentions the right of the consumers, and the responsibility of the organization towards their customers as well as the environment. There are different sections present in the consumer protection law which very clearly save guard the rights of the consumers, and allow them to go to the court of law if they think that the company has betrayed them or have misled them about their products. (Mohammad Sarwar Khan, 1999)
Every company working in Pakistan has some responsibility towards the environment that, their plant should be placed in Industrial area only, the plant should not pollute the environment, water, land and they should have a proper wastage system. The law also says that the company should not only be dangerous for the human beings, but also for the other living creatures.
Culture and beliefs are the basis for ethics and values. Ethics and values are not only diverse but can become the point of conflict in many situations or times. Due to the globalization workforce diversity and cultural diversity has increased and with the defined set of norms and values it becomes very difficult for the business to take decisions and satisfy all its consumers. The importance of the moral values in business starts from the organization. The company that pays special attention on its organization environment, policies, norms and rules and educate their employees on the importance of values and morality will think the same for their consumers. A research done by Yogesh Chandra (Gupta) concluded that the rational self-interested person will only behave unethically in business when there are chances that he will only gain through unethical behavior. In his study he showed that people value ethical behavior in business whose family background teach them about good and bad and about reward and punishment. He has also concluded that employees in an organization follow their manager, so the leadership plays an important role in bring ethics and morality in business.
Organizations should have a strategy that they will be more moral towards their consumers beyond the set standards. For business morality is important because they are based on ethical theory and upon the moral worth of action, which as a whole contribute to maximize pleasure or happiness among the people. It is important for the companies think that they should provide good products and services to their consumers and maintained the values and ethical consideration in order to win the heart of their consumers. But sadly the current situation is completely different.
These days the companies are putting the moral values as their least priority and are simply focusing on profit making. Consumers are shown sugar coated things, so that they can increase their sales and earn a good market share. In Pakistan different laws are present to save the right of the consumers as well as of the companies, but still Pakistani business companies are losing moral values and this has a direct impact on the consumers. Consumers do not go to the court for the complaint against the company because they are unable to differentiate between the good and the bad, due to the fact that they are shown bad as very good and important for them. And this is not just in Pakistan, every country present on the map is doing the same thing. The graph of the moral values is going down, and the consumer is unaware of this fact.
With the passing time, every business is losing the touch of morality, all these food businesses that have introduced the concept of free delivery is another way of getting the money out from the customers. The customer thinks that the food they are ordering will be delivered free to their home, but the scenario is completely different. The food received is mostly not of the same quality as ordered in the restaurant. There will be some minor differences, though they are providing the facility ethically and morally they should deliver the food according to the standard and within the time given to the customer.
Technology is also playing a very vital role in misleading the consumers and with the advancement of the technology the moral values are almost finished. Many companies hide the image and portray them to be the best. In the race of becoming the leader in the manufacturing market of the world the companies are leaving the morality and just focusing on how to capture the global market. In this race it is the consumers who are actually suffering. According to Waheed Akhtar (2011) advertising campaigns to some extend creating an adverse impact on the behavior and mindset of the new generation and taking them away from the moral values presented by Islam. The research presented by Waheed Akhter is very informative and when reading actually portrays a clearer picture of how moral values are deteriorating and its effect on the new generation. Their study mainly focused on the new generation, but did not talk about the overall impact on the society especially to the consumers. Another research conducted by (Dr. Jaspal Singh, 2011) clearly shows that the television commercials have undermined religious and social values and leading to finish the moral fiber of the society. Televisions commercial not only shows disrespectful things but also portraying the negative imagine of women in the society. Their research result shows that the television commercials manipulate, influence and modify the behavior of individuals. The results provided predict that a very detailed and comprehensive research is done.
Deteriorating moral values are greatly affecting the consumers. In Pakistan the problem is that consumers are completely unaware about their rights, the law is passed, but consumers are unaware about it. The companies on the other hand are taking complete advantage about it and bluffing the consumers in all possible manners. The example taken can be of the current hype of online shopping. People are becoming a lot depended on the computers. With the internet world, banking, shopping, research etc everything is being done online. These stores no doubt is very useful for the people, but the quality that they offer are not according to the standard, there have been cases that the person has ordered something different and he had received completely different thing. Consumers are not aware that when they shop online, their account details can be taken and misused. With the advent of the online shopping the rate of cyber crime has tremendously increased. In international market many campaigns are launched to give awareness to consumers in keeping the confidentiality of their bank details while shopping online.
The basic drawback for Pakistan is that the consumers are unaware about their rights and sadly not many steps have been taken to educate the consumers about their rights and legal authorities that they hold against the companies if they see that the product that they have bought is not according to the standard. In Pakistan the Government is depending a lot on the increasing mechanism of market for economic management. Although perfect market competition was designed for the welfare of consumers, but the scenario is completely different in the real world. A research done by Kishwar and Sarwat (Kishwar Khan, 1996) resulted that consumer are the main reason for economic activity, and are very valuable for the producers. But ignorance of his rights, misleading information presented by the companies and non-availability reimbursement policies are giving benefits to the producers. There is competition in the market but it is the consumers who are suffering because of imperfect information, transport cost in order to search so that they can make a good choice. This entire situation now requires that the government should take some action to protect the consumers' rights and give them relief from all this fraudulent activities and misrepresentation of information.
James Fieser in his study (Fieser, 1996) clearly concluded that typical business operating in the society is only bound by those moral values that are defined in the law. He proved that business ethics is not only the search for self-governing moral principles, but instead should be considered as part of a requirement that should necessarily be followed. His study is very detailed, but limited to certain areas and region. No doubt businesses are established to earn profit, but it should also obey the laws of the country. Businesses today have completely forgotten that there are some laws and obligation that they need to follow. All businesses are just concentrating on profit maximization and this is becoming alarming for the consumers because they are unable to identify what is good and bad for them.
Business have some responsibility towards their customers, they should at least follow two general ethical duties according to any theory of justice and morality, these two basic concepts are that the business has a right to non-injury - means that the business should not harm anyone including their consumers, and contractual relationships give obligations - business must give us what we pay for. This concept can be explained with a simple example, that when a person purchases a TV, the TV should work, should have warranty and should be made in a way that it is not harmful for the consumer. (Gray, 2011)
In Pakistan it is observed that the businesses have forgotten that they have some moral obligations towards their consumers. All the businesses operating in Pakistan are only trying to earn profits. Morality cannot be seen in anything; either it is their products or the promotion strategies. All the promotion strategies are designed in such a way that they mislead the consumers in all the possible ways.
Pakistan is facing huge moral degradation because the consumers do not know how to protect themselves. On the other hand the companies are taking advantage of this unawareness and giving consumers those things that are more beneficial for companies. As the companies are aware that no one will go to court against them, they in a very sugar coated way slowly and gradually brainwashing the youth and putting them on the path that will destroy their future as well as the development of Pakistan.
This section critically and expansively explains the methodology used in this research. The methods and techniques of research that has been utilized for conducting the research have been thoroughly determined in this research. The research methodology is a way of conducting the research. The methodology adopted for this study includes the method of data collection, technique of sampling, design of research, and sample size. In short, research onion is explained in this section.
The aim of this research is to assess the impact of moral values on the consumers. Therefore, the appropriate design selected for this study is both Qualitative and Quantitative Research Design. By applying qualitative design, a researcher can analyze and interpret the moral values that the business companies are following and whether they are beneficial for their consumers or not. Interviews with the Managing director/CEO of different companies were scheduled and Open-ended questions were asked from the respondents.
Quantitative method is also used. Open ended questions are used in the questionnaires. This method statically analysis the data and researcher interprets the result. This method of research has given reliable and accurate results, as new and current information was shared by the respondents.
This is a causal study because the study will check the relationship between the consumers and the moral values. The study is performed in a natural environment, without any manipulation on the results. This study is a complete field study done with the help of Questionnaires, observation and interviews. The data is collected from individual and it is collected one time.
Data Collection Method:
The data was collected by observing the practices of companies in Pakistan and by interviewing the people related to the strategic planning department. First, the respondents were selected and interviews were conducted with those respondents. Those employees were selected who work at all managerial levels in the department of Strategic planning as well as in other departments also, related to Marketing. For approaching the respondents, interviews were conducted by contacting the respondents through phone and e-mails. Both semi-structured and unstructured aspects were used in collecting the data. Unstructured aspect was used to extract the information from the respondents that can be useful for the analysis and interpretation of data. On the other hand, semi-structured interviews were conducted for the reason of fitting some important aspects during the collection of data. The structured questions possess the information regarding the importance of moral values and how these companies are incorporating moral values in their business activities.
The sampling technique used in this study is a snowball sampling technique that is a category of non-probability sampling technique. The respondents were selected through snowball sampling technique, whereas, the companies were selected on the basis of market share and company size. Snowball sampling technique is the most reliable way of sampling for this research as this technique will enable to contact the managers, which are related to the department of strategic planning and marketing.
The sample size selected for this study was 10 companies belonging different industries in Pakistan and 200 consumers. Companies were selected on the basis of market share and company size. The managers who were interviewed were mostly strategic planners and managers of related departments of the selected companies.
This research identifies the effect on consumers when the business industry does not follow the moral value. It is very important for business to follow the defined set of rules stated by the government and it is the right of consumers to have all the related knowledge about the things that they are buying from the market. The aim and objectives of this study investigated by the researcher are as follows;
To identify the problems that the consumers are facing
To examine the procedures of Morality adopted by the companies in Pakistan industry.
To investigate the impact of the moral values on the consumer buying behavior
N of Items
Validity and the internal reliability of the data collection instrument is measured by the Cronbach's alpha. The value of cronbach's alpha is 0.703 that shows that the variables are correlated with each other and thus, the internal consistency is achieved. Now, the study can achieve its objectives.
The data was collected from 200 consumers and 10 companies of Pakistan. The managers of marketing and strategic planning departments were selected as respondents. Following is the graphical representation, analysis and interpretations of questions that were asked from the respondents;
The hypotheses that were to be investigated in this study were analyzed and interpreted by the researcher, and hypothesis was statistically analyzed by using optimal regression test. The interpretation of the achieved statistical models is given below;
H: Moral Values and its effect on consumers.
Adjusted R Square
Apparent Prediction Error
Dependent Variable: Are you aware about the consumer rights of Pakistan
Predictors: As a consumer do you think that the product you are buying is according to the standards that the company premises? Do you think that business is Pakistan have forgotten morality and their only focus is profit making?
The model summary explains the model fit. The value of R is .886, which shows, that there is a positive relationship between the moral values and the consumer's right. The value of R^2 is .786, which indicates, that 78.6% of the consumer issues (independent variable ) is affected by the morality (dependent variable), while remaining 21.4% is affected by other constant factors under consideration.
Sum of Squares
Dependent Variable: Are you aware about the consumer rights of Pakistan
Predictors: As a consumer do you think that the product you are buying is according to the standards that the company premises? Do you think that business is Pakistan have forgotten morality and their only focus is profit making?
The significance value of F is 0.000 which is less than the Alpha (0.05). If the significance value of F is less than the alpha, it means the independent variables effects on the dependent variable and bring changes. And, if the significance value of F is smaller than the Alpha value, it indicates that the independent variable does not bring any change in the dependent variable. Here, the significance value of F< Alpha (0.05). Thus, the moral values have a significant effect on the consumers and this model is suitable for explaining the impact.
Incorporation of moral values in the business activities is very important and if the companies work according to the moral values defined in Islam will help them to prosper in their business as well as will give them a very high standard in the global market. Introduction of the morality factor will also prove beneficial for the consumers because they will be well aware about the product and will be confident about their purchases. Pakistan being an Islamic country and the business operating in Pakistan should be more conscious towards morality. But the current situation shows a complete different story. All the businesses running in Pakistan are only working on one strategy and that is profit making, no one is thinking about the end users and the consumers. On the other hand consumers are forced to buy the product because they do not have any second options.
This research critically examines the impact of moral values on the consumers. To check this impact, a sample size of 200 consumers and 10 companies were used for collecting the information. The optimal regression test is applied in this research for evaluating the impact of the independent variable on the dependent variable. The questionnaires included closed ended questions which emphasize on the practicing of moral values in the business.
Through the analysis it can be interpreted that the moral values have a positive impact on the consumers. If the companies do not follow the morality, the consumers get affected in many ways. At the current time the youth destruction is due to the immoral advertisement that the companies show on the television to sell their products. If companies limit themselves according to the defined moral values the youth and the coming generation will have knowledge that will lead them towards success.
Issues have been addressed in this research that how moral values are affecting the country consumers and also the upcoming generation.
Recommendations and Implications:
The business companies in Pakistan are recommended to have a clear understanding about the consumer rights and morality. Ethics and morality play a very important role in the business of the company. This research has analyzed and pointed out some risk that are growing in the community due to the failure of understanding of moral values at the part of the company. All the companies are suggested to investigate the market whenever their new product is launched. The investigation should focus to get the honest opinion about the consumers about their marketing strategy. With the enhancement of inclusion of business ethics in the business, it will be beneficial for both the consumers and the business. It is recommended to educate the consumers in the way that is beneficial for them. With the inclusion of the morality it will be beneficial for the consumers, the environment, youth and also for the business.
This research can be used in the future by other researchers to measure the impact of the moral values on the youth of Pakistan. It can also be helpful for all the researchers who want to research on the impact of the moral values on the buying behavior of the consumers.