Case Study, Marketing

Falsification of Data

Topic: Marketing Research (via research supplier company)
Characters: Greg, Marketing research analyst
Elizabeth, Project/Work coordinator
Ms. Jordon and Mr. Collins, Co-owners and active managers
Greg is in his second month of employment with XYZ Marketing Research. The firm is a
large, well-known, highly respected, very successful supplier of marketing research. Its
clients include major companies in many different industries throughout the world.
Routine procedure is for Ms. Jordon and Mr. Collins to secure business in the form of
research projects. Each project ends with an analyst preparing a written report with
marketing strategy recommendations based on his/her interpretation of the data. This report
is given to Elizabeth who gives it to Ms. Jordon and Mr. Collins who then deliver the written
report, complete with a verbal presentation, to the client.
Projects are assigned to one of the 16 research analysts by Elizabeth, depending on the work
loads of the different analysts. Given the volume of projects and the similarity of most
projects, different analysts usually work on different parts of a project. For example,
different analysts are used to plan the sample, construct the questionnaire, and interpret the
data. Data collection and computer processing of data are conducted by separate companies
contracted with the XYZ Marketing Research company.
Greg’s responsibilities are to interpret the data and write a report with marketing strategy
recommendations. He has completed about 20 such projects, for which the co-owners have
praised his work. On Wednesday afternoon he completed this project. Following regular
procedures, he gave the completed report to Elizabeth to give to Ms. Jordon and Mr. Collins.
Thursday morning when Greg arrived at work, he found the original computer data printouts
by his door with numerous numbers in the tables changed with red ink There was also a note
to see Elizabeth.
Elizabeth explained that Mr. Collins thought the findings would have been different and that
the client would probably not agree with the actual findings and related recommendations.
He has therefore taken “research license” and changed a few numbers in the computer data
printouts. Now he wants you (Greg) to rewrite your report accordingly. Elizabeth explained
that since clients are provided with a copy of these summary printout sheets, she has called
the outside computer firm to send new printouts with the revised numbers.

Author: Gordon L. Patzer, Professor of Marketing, University of Northern Iowa.

Questions to be addressed – Mini case – Falsification of Data
1. What are the key ethical issues to be considered in the case?

2. How will you address the identified ethical issues?
3. What could be the negative effects of the identified ethical issues if they are not

Response format:
1. The response to the questions should be between 300 and 400 words (1 page).
2. Times New Roman 12 point font should be used for the text.
3. The deadline to submit the response on line is 26 November. Please e-mail me your
response. No late submissions will be accepted.

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