A study on ethically problematic selling methods in China with a Broaden concept of gray-marketing

Guijun Zhuang*, Alex S L TSANG

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper expands the definition of gray-marketing to include some ethically problematic marketing activities and techniques used in personal selling in China. Based on this, a conceptual model of gray-marketing for a particular type of selling in which both the sellers and the buyers exhibit problematic ethics in an exchange and the associated hypotheses are developed and tested. The findings show that, first, the respondents have different ethical evaluations of different marketing practices used in personal selling such as giving and accepting gifts, buying and accepting meals, and offering and accepting kickbacks. Some of these practices may not be considered unethical. Second, in terms of ethical assessment, gray-marketing practiced by buying agents is more unacceptable than when practiced by sales agents. Third, a person's ethical evaluation of gray-marketing behavior, empathy for gray-marketing, and belief that gray-marketing has serious consequences, significantly affects his inclination to use gray-marketing. This paper concludes with a discussion of some possible applications of our research findings.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)85-101
    Number of pages17
    JournalJournal of Business Ethics
    Issue number1-2
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Business and International Management
    • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
    • Economics and Econometrics
    • Law

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Gift giving
    • Gray marketing
    • Kickbacks
    • Marketing ethics
    • Personal selling


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