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Are consumers’ reasons for and against behaviour distinct?

Andreas Chatzidakis (School of Management, Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, United Kingdom)
Sally Hibbert (Nottingham University Business School, Nottingham, United Kingdom)
Heidi Winklhofer (Nottingham University Business School, Nottingham, United Kingdom)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 8 February 2016




The purpose of this paper is to add clarity to current conceptualisations of attitudes towards giving versus not giving and to identify an approach that better informs interventions that seek to promote particular types of pro-social consumer behaviour. Despite a considerable body of research that provides insights into why people give to charity, there is comparatively little understanding of the reasons why others decide not to give. More generally, existing applications of attitudinal models do not differentiate between decisions to perform and not to perform a behaviour. This paper challenges the assumption that attitudes towards performing and not performing a behaviour are logical opposites. Drawing on reasons theory, the paper examines the incremental and discriminant validity of attitudes for charitable giving versus attitudes against charitable giving, and the extent to which they correspond to different rather than opposite underlying reasons.


A mixed-method approach with two different study stages was adopted. Stage 1 comprised an elicitation study that sought to identify reasons corresponding to a comprehensive range of motives for and barriers to charitable giving. This assisted in the development of a survey instrument that was used in Stage 2 to test the study’s hypotheses. The study used the Index of Multiple Deprivation with a view to provide a sample representative of the UK population (N = 243). Results were analysed through exploratory factor analysis, confirmatory factor analysis and step-wise regressions.


Results showed that reasons against charitable giving included logical opposites of reasons for charitable giving (complementarity assumption)as well as separate motivational factors. Attitudes for and against were in turn explained by distinct sets of reasons. The paper contributes by adding clarity to current conceptualisations of cognitions in relation to doing versus not doing. Identifying underlying reasons, rather than just attitudes, affords specific insight for marketing communications and public policy interventions.


The paper introduces to the marketing and consumer behaviour literature the previously neglected non-complementarity assumption and provides a more complete test of this assumption in the context of charitable giving.



Chatzidakis, A., Hibbert, S. and Winklhofer, H. (2016), "Are consumers’ reasons for and against behaviour distinct?", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 50 No. 1/2, pp. 124-144.



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