Although many companies have initiated corporate social responsibility activities, only a small fraction of consumers have reacted in the same spirit. In order to increase economic and social benefits, corporate and consumer interests need to be aligned through specialized marketing activities. In this context, the purpose of this paper is to complement traditional consumer research through a multi-stakeholder approach. It specifically analyzes institutional drivers to enhance consumer responsibility (ConRes) in the fashion industry.
An explorative study containing in-depth interviews (n=30) with three groups of experts (retailers, not-for-profit organizations (NPOs), marketing specialists) is conducted to investigate the influences of institutional agents to foster responsible consumption. Data analysis is based on qualitative content analysis.
Various institutional drivers of ConRes range from influences in the social environment to spill-over effects and triggering of emotions. Thus, agents use marketing tools such as inter-industry cooperations or social media to encourage ConRes in the fashion industry.
Future research should compare ConRes and its potential influences within different industries and further validate the results in quantitative studies.
Companies and NPOs can foster ConRes by cooperating with like-minded organizations, displaying more transparency within their communications and providing relevant content to media partners.
If institutional agents succeed in fostering ConRes, they can induce corresponding behavior leading to improved workforce welfare in the fashion industry and environmental protection.
The study is the first to empirically investigate three collaborating groups of institutional agents regarding their opportunities to enhance ConRes.
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