The impact of the motivation for status on consumers’ perceptions of retailer sustainability: the moderating impact of collectivism and materialism
Article publication date: 12 June 2017
The purpose of the study is to investigate consumers’ perceptions of status motivations on retailers’ sustainability efforts and whether collectivism and materialism moderate this relationship.
A quantitative research methodology using survey data was used. Data were collected by administering questionnaires from millennial respondents (n = 386) from the USA and Turkey.
The results show that cultural value (collectivism) and materialism can serve as moderators of the effects of status motivation and sustainability. The findings indicate that the link between status motivation and sustainability perceptions (both environmental and social sustainability) is stronger for more collectivist consumers. In terms of materialism, while it did not moderate the relationship between status motivation and perceptions of environmental sustainability, it did moderate the relationship between status motivation and perceptions of social sustainability, particularly the uniqueness aspect of materialism.
The stronger link between status motivation and both environmental and social sustainability for collectivists suggests that the bandwagon effect may be impacting their need for status. The stronger link between status motivation and social sustainability for those more materialistic suggests that their need for status may be more impacted by a snob effect as they want to appear unique. The use of college students is a limitation of this study, and future research needs to explore a wider range of age groups to determine if there are generational differences. Additionally, future research could examine other cultural dimensions such as power distance and masculinity versus femininity.
Findings from this research provide insights for retailers, especially those targeting the status and luxury market when developing their sustainability plans. An interest in sustainability may aid consumers in meeting their need for status, particularly for those status consumers who are more collectivist, as a means to fit in with their group. For more materialistic consumers, retailers may want to focus more on unique social sustainability efforts that are more publicly noticeable.
Social sustainability, a topic not studied as frequently as environmental sustainability, has significant implications for consumers. The findings suggest that the link between status motivation and social sustainability is stronger for collectivists, suggesting a bandwagon effect. Additionally, the authors find that the link between status motivation and social sustainability is stronger for materialists, particularly the uniqueness dimension of materialism, suggesting a snob effect.
The originality of this study lies in the exploration of how status motivation impacts consumers’ perceptions of retailers’ environmental and social sustainability efforts and if these relationships are moderated by collectivism and materialism. Few studies have examined social sustainability, especially in terms of culture.
Tascioglu, M., Eastman, J.K. and Iyer, R. (2017), "The impact of the motivation for status on consumers’ perceptions of retailer sustainability: the moderating impact of collectivism and materialism", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 34 No. 4, pp. 292-305. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCM-03-2015-1351
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