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Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 148, Issue 4, pp 783–799 | Cite as

Organizational Sensemaking of Non-ethical Consumer Behavior: Case Study of a French Mutual Insurance Company

  • Bernard Cova
  • Gerald Gaglio
  • Juliette Weber
  • Philippe Chanial
Article
  • 380 Downloads

Abstract

Researchers and managers alike are becoming increasingly interested in the topic of unethical consumer behavior. Where most studies view unethical behavior as something that is identifiable per se, the authors of the present article believe that it only exists because it has been constructed by people operating within a specific context. Hence the efforts made by this paper to explore, at the level of one specific organization, how interactions between employees and consumers might lead to the construct of unethical consumers. Based on a case study of France’s AMDM—a mutual insurance company set up to serve a client base comprising motorcyclists—the paper addresses how one group of consumers ends up being categorized as unethical by revealing the existence of a sensemaking process within the target organization. This process develops in three main phases: the nurturing of a shared ethos; the protection of employees’ recognized status; and the demonization of any group of consumers threatening this status. Managers incorporating this sensemaking process can avoid or mitigate the negative effects befalling organizations when these kinds of unethical consumer behavior are constructed.

Keywords

Biker Demonization Ethos Insurance Recognition Scooterist Sensemaking 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernard Cova
    • 1
  • Gerald Gaglio
    • 2
  • Juliette Weber
    • 3
  • Philippe Chanial
    • 4
  1. 1.KEDGE Business School MarseilleMarseilleFrance
  2. 2.Université de Technologie de TroyesTroyesFrance
  3. 3.MacifParisFrance
  4. 4.Université Paris DauphineParisFrance

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