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Comparing two mechanisms for green consumption: cognitive-affect behavior vs theory of reasoned action

Yu Liu (Department of Communication, Florida International University, North Miami, Florida, USA)
Sigal Segev (Department of Communication, Florida International University, North Miami, Florida, USA)
Maria Elena Villar (Department of Communication, Florida International University, North Miami, Florida, USA)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 14 August 2017

4492

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to compare the effectiveness of the cognitive-affect behavior (CAB) model and the theory of reasoned action (TRA) model as well as their extended forms (with product knowledge) in predicting everyday green consumption among non-Hispanic White and Hispanic consumers.

Design/methodology/approach

Survey data from a convenience sample of 249 non-Hispanic Whites and 425 Hispanic adults were used to test the two models through structural equation modeling analyses.

Findings

While all tested models explained green consumption in both samples adequately, the basic TRA and the TPB (extended TRA) models were superior to the basic and extended CAB models. Including product knowledge further enhanced the predictive power of the two basic models.

Research limitations/implications

Self-reported surveys are subject to social desirability bias in the reporting of intentions and actual purchases of green products. Future research may attempt to collect data on actual green purchases. The selection of a general consumption context is limited in distinguishing between high- and low-involvement products. Future research should test the relative effectiveness of these models among specific green products with different levels of involvement.

Practical implications

Marketing and strategic communication programs should focus on increasing consumers’ positive attitudes about purchasing green products and promote green purchase intentions using intention-generating promotional tactics. This paper also stresses the need to increase consumers’ concrete knowledge about green products to drive actual purchase behavior.

Social implications

This paper can help communicators to further promote green consumption for routinely purchased consumer goods, which will ultimately enhance a healthier and more sustainable environment.

Originality/value

This paper extends the literature about green consumption, providing insights about the relative effectiveness of two widely accepted consumer behavior models. It implies that some models excel over others in terms of their explanatory power across consumer populations regardless of socio-demographic differences. It also stresses the importance of specifying explicitly behavioral control variables in green consumption research and provides a viable basis for the development of strategic marketing.

Keywords

Citation

Liu, Y., Segev, S. and Villar, M.E. (2017), "Comparing two mechanisms for green consumption: cognitive-affect behavior vs theory of reasoned action", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 34 No. 5, pp. 442-454. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCM-01-2016-1688

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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