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Article

Deirdre Shaw and Kathleen Riach

Literature examining resistant consumer behaviour from an ethical consumption stance has increased over recent years. This paper aims to argue that the conflation between…

Abstract

Purpose

Literature examining resistant consumer behaviour from an ethical consumption stance has increased over recent years. This paper aims to argue that the conflation between ethical consumer behaviour and “anti‐consumption” practices results in a nihilistic reading and fails to uncover the tensions of those who seek to position themselves as ethical while still participating in the general market.

Design/methodology/approach

The study adopts an exploratory approach through semi‐structured in‐depth interviews with a purposive sample of seven ethical consumers.

Findings

The analysis reveals the process through which ethical consumption is constructed and defined in relation to the subject position of the “ethical consumer” and their interactions with the dominant market of consumption.

Research limitations/implications

This research is limited to a single country and location and focused on a specific consumer group. Expansion of the research to a wider group would be valuable.

Practical implications

The impact of ethical consumption on the wider field of consumption can be witnessed in the “mainstreaming” of many ethical ideals. This highlights the potential movements of power between various stakeholders that occupy particular spaces of social action.

Originality/value

Understanding the analysis through Bourdieu's concepts of field and the margins created between spaces of consumption, the paper focuses on the theoretical cross‐section of practice between ethical and market‐driven forms of consumption, advancing discussion by exploring how self‐identified “ethical consumers” defined, legitimatised and negotiated their practices in relation to consumption acts and lifestyles.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 45 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

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Article

Iain Andrew Davies and Sabrina Gutsche

This paper aims to explore why consumers absorb ethical habits into their daily consumption, despite having little interest or understanding of the ethics they are buying…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore why consumers absorb ethical habits into their daily consumption, despite having little interest or understanding of the ethics they are buying into, by looking at the motivation behind mainstream ethical consumption.

Design/methodology/approach

Fifty in-depth field interviews at point of purchase capture actual ethical consumption behavior, tied with a progressive-laddering interview technique yields over 400 consumption units of analysis.

Findings

Ethical attitudes, values and rational information processing have limited veracity for mainstream ethical consumption. Habit and constrained choice, as well as self-gratification, peer influence and an interpretivist understanding of what ethics are being purchased provide the primary drivers for consumption.

Research limitations/implications

Use of qualitative sampling and analysis limits the generalizability of this paper. However, the quantitative representation of data demonstrates the strength with which motivations were perceived to influence consumption choice.

Practical implications

Ethical brands which focus on explicit altruistic ethical messaging at the expense of hedonistic messaging, or ambiguous pseudo ethics-as-quality messaging, limit their appeal to mainstream consumers. Retailers, however, benefit from the halo effect of ethical brands in store.

Social implications

The paper highlights the importance of retailer engagement with ethical products as a precursor to normalizing ethical consumption, and the importance of normative messaging in changing habits.

Originality/value

The paper provides original robust critique of the current field of ethical consumption and an insight into new theoretical themes of urgent general interest to the field.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 50 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

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Article

Adekunle Oke, Jasmina Ladas and Moira Bailey

This study aims to explore the motivation as well as barriers for ethical food consumption behaviour by focussing on the food consumption pattern of young adults in the…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore the motivation as well as barriers for ethical food consumption behaviour by focussing on the food consumption pattern of young adults in the North East of Scotland. Considering the recent involvement of young adults in environmental activism, consumption behaviour of young adults in the North East of Scotland, an oil-based community, presents essential research interest to understand whether young adults often contemplate the consequences of their lifestyle.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors explored the perceptions of ten purposive recruited young adults using semi-structured interviews to understand factors underpinning consumer's decision-making towards ethical food products.

Findings

The study reveals three key factors influencing ethical food consumption behaviour among young adults. The findings show that personal health and well-being are the main reasons why consumers engage in ethical food consumption. Also, it is observed that information facilitates decision-making by raising awareness regarding the social, environmental and health consequences of food production and consumption. Further, the findings show that situational attributes, such as product price and product availability, are creating dissonance when engaging in ethical food consumption.

Originality/value

This study contributes to sustainability research and the ongoing debate on consumerism by exploring ethical food consumption behaviour and highlights the need to address situational challenges, such as product price and availability. The study suggests that interventions to address current consumption patterns should also emphasise the social and personal benefits of food consumption rather than the environmental benefits that have been the focus of prior research.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 122 no. 11
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

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Article

Srikant Manchiraju and Amrut Sadachar

The role of personal values in consumer behavior is well documented; however, in the context of fashion consumption, the role of personal values’ influence on consumers…

Abstract

Purpose

The role of personal values in consumer behavior is well documented; however, in the context of fashion consumption, the role of personal values’ influence on consumers’ ethical behavior has not been studied. Consequently, the purpose of this paper is to seek to explore whether consumers’ personal values predict consumers’ behavioral intentions to engage in ethical fashion consumption.

Design/methodology/approach

The present study employed the Fritzsche model, which states that an individual's personal values are related to his/her intentions to engage in ethical behavior. The present study examined the causal relationship between the personal values and behavioral intentions to engage in ethical fashion consumption. Data collected from the US national sample were subjected to structural equation modeling.

Findings

The proposed model explained 42 percent of variance in consumer's behavioral intentions toward ethical fashion consumption. Furthermore, a significant negative relationship between self-enhancement personal values and behavioral intention toward ethical fashion consumption was found. Several theoretical and practical implications related to the present study were discussed.

Originality/value

To the authors’ knowledge, the study is first of its kind in several aspects: first, ethical fashion consumption has been conceptualized in the broadest definition possible, as oppose to focussing on a particular facet of fashion consumption (e.g. organic products or counterfeit fashion); second, linking consumer personal values as a predictor of his/her ethical fashion consumption behavioral intentions; and third, employing the Fritzsche model in fashion behavior context.

Details

Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, vol. 18 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1361-2026

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Article

Sungjoon Yoon

The purpose of this paper is to pursue the following two objectives. First, this study examines how social capital indicators (reciprocal norm and social network) cause…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to pursue the following two objectives. First, this study examines how social capital indicators (reciprocal norm and social network) cause ethical consumption behavior by conceptualizing it as value co-creation specific to socially responsible firms. Second, it aims to verify whether corporate trust, which is another core indicator of social capital, mediates between social capital indicators and ethical consumption behavior.

Design/methodology/approach

For study subjects, the author selected general public located in the city of Seoul. A total of 307 respondents were used for statistical analysis after discarding unusable questionnaires. For the purpose of judgment sampling, the author selected those respondents who had prior purchase experience of the products or services provided by socially responsible firms.

Findings

This study tested core elements of social capital (reciprocal norm, social network and corporate trust) as predictors of ethical consumption behavior. In particular, the study newly conceptualized and validated ethical consumption behavior as one encompassing the civic engagement behavior whose premise is well encapsulated by value co-creation principle. The results demonstrate that the social network and reciprocal norm significantly influence ethical consumption behavior directly as well as indirectly through corporate trust.

Research limitations/implications

The significance of this study may be that it adds to current literature on ethical consumption behavior by validating an empirical model of ethical consumption behavior from the perspective of consumer engagement paradigm. No previous studies of ethical consumption behavior empirically tested this model previously, only offering conceptual similarity between ethical consumption and consumer engagement. The study’s result may provide some insights as to the utility of value co-creation strategy for socially responsible firms as a useful way to promote ethical consumption behavior.

Practical implications

This study’s result may provide some useful insights as to how socially responsible firms can improve their performance by understanding what makes their customers voluntarily engage in favor of the firms to create shared values. In particular, the finding on the corporate trust mediating between bonding network and ethical consumption behavior sheds useful insights for the firms on how they should garner customer trust to trigger ethical consumption behavior. In this sense, socially responsible firms need to focus their resources on publicity or endorsements by highly respected celebrities designed to stress the firms’ trustworthiness and create favorable corporate image.

Social implications

The finding that reciprocal norm has a significant impact on ethical consumption behavior also provides strategic implications on how to enhance the effectiveness of corporate messages. That is, the socially responsible firms should implement some corporate strategies designed to raise authentic corporate image of the firms by hiring the socially disadvantaged and returning some portion of profit back to society. By doing this, the socially responsible firms can expect to instill some sense of reciprocity into their current as well as potential customers.

Originality/value

Despite this conceived linkage, no previous research has empirically approached ethical consumption from the perspective of civic engagement to examine whether ethical consumers voluntarily engage in firm-specific engagement behavior that fulfills their civic responsibility. Therefore, the present research embarks on a new approach to conceptualize ethical consumption as a construct that embodies civic engagement that is conceptually encapsulated by the principle of value co-creation.

Details

Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, vol. 32 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-5855

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Article

Khurram Sharif

The purpose of this research paper was the study of an affluent Islamic market, going through a rapid economic and social transformation, from an ethical consumption

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research paper was the study of an affluent Islamic market, going through a rapid economic and social transformation, from an ethical consumption perspective. More specifically, impact of environmentalism, consumption ethics, fair trade attitude and materialism was investigated on the ethical consumption behaviour of Muslim consumers.

Design/methodology/approach

A research framework was put together after consulting relevant literature, Islamic scholars and Islamic marketers. The developed research framework was tested in the Islamic State of Qatar. As an outcome of an online questionnaire-based survey targeting Muslim (Qatari) consumers in a public university, 243 usable questionnaires were collected. After reliability and validity checks, AMOS SPSS 20 was used to conduct structural equation modelling analysis on the collected data.

Findings

The results showed consumption ethics, environmentalism and fair trade attitude as significant determinants of ethical consumption behaviour. There was an insignificant association between materialism and ethical consumption behaviour. The findings suggested that most Muslim consumers within this affluent market showed an interest in ethical consumption. However, an insignificant association between materialism and ethical consumption behaviour implied that even though Muslim consumers demonstrated ethical consumption behaviour, they were not anti-materialism. The outcome suggests that due to the high levels of affluence among Muslim consumers, it is possible that they may be practising ethical and materialistic consumption simultaneously.

Practical implications

This research should assist marketers in understanding the ethical consumption behaviour of Muslim consumers who are faced with ethical and materialistic consumption options within an affluent Islamic market.

Originality/value

The research should add to the body of consumer behaviour knowledge, as it provides an insight into the consumption behaviour of Muslims who are facing social and religious ideology conflicts which makes their ethical consumption behaviours more sophisticated.

Details

Journal of Islamic Marketing, vol. 7 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1759-0833

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Article

Yiyan Li, Liyuan Wei, Xiaohua Zeng and Jianjun Zhu

Ethical consumption is an integral component for the sustainable development in the world and is especially challenging in the Western consumer society. This research…

Abstract

Purpose

Ethical consumption is an integral component for the sustainable development in the world and is especially challenging in the Western consumer society. This research demonstrates that mindfulness, a Buddhism-based notion, is associated with two related and distinctive approaches of ethical consumption: refinement and reduction. It examines the psychological mechanisms underlying the effects of mindfulness on these two approaches of ethical consumption.

Design/methodology/approach

Self-report data were collected through an online survey with consumers from western societies (N = 523).

Findings

The findings show (1) that the significance of mindfulness on both approaches of ethical consumption and (2) that the contrast between the different mechanisms underlying them. Specifically, the mindfulness–consumption refinement link is fully mediated by connectedness-to-nature whereas the mindfulness–consumption reduction link is fully mediated by connectedness-to-nature and self-control. A series of supplementary studies further confirmed the proposed model.

Research limitations/implications

It demonstrates the multifaceted and complex nature of ethical consumption, which is positively associated with mindfulness but through distinctive psychological mechanisms.

Practical implications

The multifaceted and complex nature of ethical consumption and its underlying drivers need special attention. Mindfulness can be an effective means to boost ethical consumption behavior. Meanwhile, nurturing the sense of connectedness to nature and self-control capability facilitates the path-through of the positive impacts of mindfulness

Social implications

The findings can be adopted to enhance the effectiveness of mindfulness practice in promoting ethical consumption towards achieving the Sustainable Consumption goal, especially in the West.

Originality/value

The paper makes original contribution by conceptualizing two interrelated and distinctive approaches of ethical consumption and shows how mindfulness promotes both through different mediating pathways. Overall, this study paints a clearer picture how mindfulness relates to ethical consumption.

Details

International Marketing Review, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0265-1335

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Article

Masudul Alam Choudhury

Argues that ethics and values are systemic realities and can be scientifically programmed in cybernetically oriented socio‐scientific systems. The case taken is of…

Abstract

Argues that ethics and values are systemic realities and can be scientifically programmed in cybernetically oriented socio‐scientific systems. The case taken is of economic general equilibrium with possibilities of multiple equilibria. The treatment of ethics and values in this sense in economic theory makes them endogenous phenomena of socio‐economic reality. This substantive idea of ethics and values as endogenous phenomena in socio‐scientific systems is termed the principle of ethical endogeneity. Its social cybernetical possibilities are developed mathematically. While the mathematical treatment uses bilinear algebra for the formulation, greater importance may be seen in the scientific essence of the principle of ethical endogeneity applicable universally. This is particularly true of systems which need to be epistemologically unified.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 24 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

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Book part

James G. Carrier

Ethical consumption exemplifies thinking locally and acting globally, and the political economy in which it exists makes its ethics problematic. This chapter uses…

Abstract

Ethical consumption exemplifies thinking locally and acting globally, and the political economy in which it exists makes its ethics problematic. This chapter uses ecotourism to illustrate two aspects of thinking locally in ethical consumption. One is the local institutions and practices that this form of consumption reflects, embodied in the Western commercial capitalism that provides what Westerners consume ethically. Ethical consumption extends the reach of that local capital and its logic. The second is the local understandings and values it reflects, embodied in the desires of ethical consumers and met by commodity producers and the institutions that influence them. Ethical consumption does not, however, only impose local institutions and values globally; but it also shapes local consumers, by portraying individual market choice as an appropriate vehicle for bringing about an ethical world, thereby diverting attention from other sorts of ethical action.

Details

Hidden Hands in the Market: Ethnographies of Fair Trade, Ethical Consumption, and Corporate Social Responsibility
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-059-9

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Article

Antonia Delistavrou, Hristo Katrandjiev, Hamdi Sadeh and Irene Tilikidou

The purpose of this paper is to examine the three types of ethical consumption (positive, negative and discursive) simultaneously in three different geographical areas…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the three types of ethical consumption (positive, negative and discursive) simultaneously in three different geographical areas, namely, Hebron (PL), Sofia (BG) and Thessaloniki (GR).

Design/methodology/approach

Personal interviews were conducted in the three cities during autumn 2016 with the use of a structured questionnaire. Large enough samples were selected with the one-stage area sampling. The sampling unit was one adult person of all households in each randomly selected city block.

Findings

The consumers of all cities were not found frequently engaged in any ethical consumption type. Demographic analysis revealed extensive differences across each one of the behaviours in each one of the cities. Attitudinal and psychographic analyses indicated that consumers, who are less ethically disinterested and more generous, were found to be more frequently engaged in ethical purchase in all the three cities. Evidence was found that less ethically disinterested and more generous consumers are more likely to get engaged in boycotting calls, in Hebron and in Thessaloniki. Less ethically disinterested consumers were also found more active in discursive activities in Sofia and Thessaloniki.

Research limitations/implications

Certain amendments of the behavioural and attitudinal scales could be essential to ensure the same level of measurement accuracy in different geographical areas. Larger and more representative of the overall population samples are needed to facilitate the generalisation of the results. Examination of cultural and political perspectives might add to the understanding of consumers’ ethical consumption in different contexts.

Practical implications

Firms interested in adopting ethical strategies or consumer groups that would like to call a boycotting or a consumer activism campaign should address their communication strategies towards targets that are described by the results in regard to each geographical area.

Originality/value

This study added to the limited so far relevant knowledge about the simultaneous examination of the three types of the overall ethical consumption in three different cities; interesting differences and similarities were revealed.

Details

EuroMed Journal of Business, vol. 14 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1450-2194

Keywords

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