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Facades of morality: the role of moral disengagement in green buying behaviour

Nitika Sharma (Department of Commerce, University of Delhi, New Delhi, India)
Madan Lal (Department of Commerce, University of Delhi, New Delhi, India)

Qualitative Market Research

ISSN: 1352-2752

Article publication date: 6 February 2020

Issue publication date: 2 June 2020




This study aims to presents the article regarding the influential role of moral inefficacy and moral disengagement to address green intention and behaviour gap among consumers, and how they attain self-exoneration because of the moral dilemma if any exist.


The present study is based on semi-structured interviews, using constructivist grounded theory, which offers a platform to investigate, explore and discover psychosocial mechanism that operates among the consumers regarding the dimension of morality and green practices. In-depth exhaustive dialogues with Indian green consumers are set up to stimulate dialogue on the study.


Findings of the study shed light on the moral dilemma arising from internal and external inefficacy of consumers and disengagement of morality to save consumers from self-condemnation. Also, the study proffers the potential conceptual framework of moral inefficacy, moral disengagement and green buying behaviour of consumers. Eventually, the study mapped the morality matrix to explore the consequents of moral inefficacy and moral disengagement.

Research limitations/implications

The idiographic nature of qualitative research, particularly grounded theory may be considered as a research limitation as it follows limited generalizability. Moreover, the present research work is exploratory in nature and depends on the candour of researchers’ reactivity and understanding.

Practical implications

The study subjectively concludes the green behaviour of consumers and discusses the rationality behind green intentions and behaviour gap. Marketers can strategize consumer morality as an approach to enhance green buying behaviour of consumers by removing moral inefficacies and disengagements.

Social implications

It is crucial for marketers and society to understand the reasons behind non-green consumerism and accordingly cope up with the situation.


The study has been designed in a way to discuss the philosophy of morality and psychology of consumers on green consumption. To elicit the crux and conceptualization of morality and green purchasing framework using constructivist grounded theory is the exclusivity of this study. This paper explores green consumption pattern using moral orientation and processes in detail.



Sharma, N. and Lal, M. (2020), "Facades of morality: the role of moral disengagement in green buying behaviour", Qualitative Market Research, Vol. 23 No. 2, pp. 217-239.



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