The dark tetrad, personal values and [im]morality in everyday consumer behaviour



Dark personality traits as a triad; Machiavellianism, Narcissism and Psychopathy (Paulhus & Williams, 2002); and later with the inclusion of Everyday Sadism as a tetrad (O’Meara & Davis, 2011), have been previously studied in connection to every day consumer ethics and personal values. The study’s objective is to explore consumer morality - as a broader, core framework - of consumer behaviour, highlighting purchase of products which are manufactured through questionable sourcing or labour practices. Furthermore, it aims to identify the correlations between the Dark Tetrad and consumer [im]morality while investigating the potential mediating effect(s) of strong Self Enhancement values (Schwartz, 1997). 100 everyday consumer participants were recruited online (Age M = 34, SD = 9.17; Gender M = 0.38, SD = 0.46). Findings showed that Dark Tetrad significantly correlates to the Self Enhancement quadrant within personal values. Amoralism – Frustralia depicted strong associations to Hedonism (H), Power (PW) and Achievement (A) was to AMf: H (r =.293, p<0.01), PW (r =.444, p<0.01), and A (r =.200, p<0.05). Regarding immoral consumer behaviour, findings depicted significance of core Amoralism in general towards Dark Tetrad construct, showing that - at a core level of morality – DT traits are linked to amoralism with likelihood to manifest in everyday consumer behaviour. All DT dimensions also showed significant associations to Amoralism - Crudelia (amoralism related to cruelty); Machiavellianism (r =.387, p<0.01), Narcissism (r =.316, p<0.01), Psychopathy (r =.338, p<0.01) and Everyday Sadism (r =-.239, p<0.05); and similarly, Amoralism – Frustralia (frustration related amoralism) was strongly associated to all Dark Tetrad dimensions as well, Machiavellianism (r =.513, p<0.01), Narcissism (r =.276, p<0.01), Psychopathy (r =.599, p<0.01) and Everyday Sadism (r =-.308, p<0.01); as well as Self Enhancement values H, PW and A (p <0.01). Consumer Morality in particular showed significant intrascale relationships with Ethically Minded Consumer Behaviour with no strong associations to any of the DT dimensions except Psychopathy, correlating negatively to CM (r =-233, p<0.01) showing that in psychopathic personality, consumer morality tends to decrease.


Finally, in mediation analyses, despite finding direct effects between X and Y supporting the above correlations

(between DT and Self Enhancement, DT and consumer morality and consumer morality to Self Enhancement) no indirect effect of Self Enhancement values were observed.