Framework for Understanding Misleading Information in Daily Shopping

Jesper Clement, Mette Skovgaard Andersen, Katherine O'Doherty Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the understanding of disagreement between companies and consumers with respect to misleading information and to make suggestions as to how the conflict might be resolved.

Design/methodology/approach – Based on qualitative research methods, the authors discuss possible grounds for controversies with respect to product information and present a possible framework, inspired by the work of Boltanski and Thévenot, for examining these controversies.

Findings – An analysis of arguments shows that consumer representatives and companies, not surprisingly, agree on general moral principles as, for instance, the importance of not lying about the product; however they tend to disagree about where the boundaries between acceptable and misleading information should be drawn in practice. The findings point to the fact that the differences might partly be explained by Boltanski and Thévenots' “orders of worth” and that this classification would seem to provide a fruitful tool for identifying the character and basis of differences of opinions regarding whether or not product information is deemed to be misleading and hence form the basis for a new tool in the management toolbox for testing potentially misleading information.

Research limitations/implications – The data behind the analysis are limited and retrieved in a Danish environment, for which reason more research should be carried out in order to broaden the perspectives of the research.

Practical implications – To reduce controversies the paper proposes a reciprocal recognition of the particular order of worth from which an assessment is made.
Original languageEnglish
JournalQualitative Market Research
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)110 - 127
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Denmark
  • Conventions Theory
  • Communication Gap
  • Misleading
  • Controversy
  • Advertising
  • Product Information
  • Consumer Behaviour

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