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Article
Publication date: 1 September 2006

Deirdre Shaw, Terry Newholm and Roger Dickinson

Increasing numbers of consumers are expressing concerns about reports of questionable corporate practices and are responding through boycotts and buycotts. This paper…

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14759

Abstract

Purpose

Increasing numbers of consumers are expressing concerns about reports of questionable corporate practices and are responding through boycotts and buycotts. This paper compares competing theories of consumer empowerment and details findings that examine the applicability of the theory to “ethical consumer” narratives. The nature and impact of consumer empowerment in consumer decision making is then discussed.

Design/methodology/approach

The study takes an exploratory approach by conducting semi‐structured in‐depth interviews with a purposive sample of ten consumers. These were recruited from an “ethical product” fair in Scotland.

Findings

Results indicate that the participating consumers embraced a voting metaphor, either explicitly or implicitly, to view consumption as an ethical/political domain. Setting their choices within perceived collective consumer behaviour, they characterised their consumption as empowering. This results in an ethical consumer project that can be seen as operating within the market. It, therefore, suggests some tensions between consumer power and sustainable living.

Research limitations/implications

This small‐scale study relates to a single country and location. A particular group of accentuated consumers was recruited. Studies of the narratives of other consumer groupings would clearly be valuable.

Practical implications

To the extent that political democracy is perceived as failing, it appears that the profile of the market as a site of consumer engagement is raised. Marketers would be wise, therefore, to take increasingly account of “empowered” consumers.

Originality/value

Little attention has been paid to the theory of consumption as voting. However, a continuing rise in the consideration of ethics among consumers and producers suggests its rehabilitation and further exploration would be worthwhile.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 40 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

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Article
Publication date: 24 April 2009

Angus Laing, Terry Newholm and Gill Hogg

The internet driven information revolution is frequently cited as one of the key drivers (re‐)shaping contemporary consumption. In particular, the internet has been seen…

Abstract

Purpose

The internet driven information revolution is frequently cited as one of the key drivers (re‐)shaping contemporary consumption. In particular, the internet has been seen as disrupting established conventions in professional services. Popularly, it has been viewed as a liberating medium, a mechanism by which consumers and citizens have been able to challenge the authority of the professional establishment. Yet for consumers, the internet can equally be viewed as generating new uncertainties and challenges in terms of negotiating a new settlement with professionals and reconfiguring the service encounter. The purpose of this paper is to explore experiences of consumers with the use of internet derived information in respect of complex professional services and the impact of such information utilisation on the format of the service encounter.

Design/methodology/approach

Empirical data is generated through interviews with professionals (n=24) and consumer focus groups (n=10/53).

Findings

The paper argues that the multi‐faceted nature of the internet creates informational “spaces” which present both opportunities and threats to consumers in renegotiating the service encounter. Balancing the paradoxes created by these informational spaces is at the core of the challenge confronting contemporary service consumers. Irrespective of the nature of that space, the effect is to create a driver for change, challenging the established practices of both consumer and professional to reshape the service encounter.

Research limitations/implications

Focus group research does not enable a judgement about the prevalence or distribution of behaviours among consumers. Nevertheless, this paper advances understanding of contemporary consumption practices and provides a new perspective on nature of consumer utilisation of information within the consumption process.

Practical implications

It is inevitable that professionals and service organisations will be required to respond to a complex and rapidly evolving set of consumer behaviours and rethink approaches to the delivery of professional services.

Originality/value

The paper addresses an emergent phenomenon and provides unique insights into the changing dynamics of consumption practices in the contemporary knowledge economy.

Details

Journal of Service Management, vol. 20 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-5818

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Article
Publication date: 22 February 2013

Debbie Keeling, Amna Khan and Terry Newholm

Internet forums are an important arena for information exchange between consumers. Despite healthcare being one of the most accessed information categories on the…

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1557

Abstract

Purpose

Internet forums are an important arena for information exchange between consumers. Despite healthcare being one of the most accessed information categories on the internet, knowledge of exchange between patients in online communities remains limited. Specifically, little is known about how patients negotiate knowledge in online forums to understand and manage their diseases. This paper aims to illustrate this by presenting data that demonstrate the construction of tacit knowledge within online health communities, and how consumers exercise their “voice” within complex professional services.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper reports an exploratory single case study of an online discussion forum for breast cancer sufferers, in which participants discuss their experience with healthcare services and related pharmaceutical products. Textual data were collected and analysed from the forum retrospectively from an 11-month period, entailing contributions from 252 participants.

Findings

The paper challenges prevalent managerial and professional perspectives that evaluate online health information in terms of its correspondence with conventional medical information. In the absence of normative assumptions that broadly guide health service encounters, forum participants negotiate their understandings in the context of their personal experience.

Practical implications

This novel culture offers potential for developing rich and sometimes more appropriate understandings of health than available from the medical establishment. It discusses how service providers can exploit such opportunities towards improving service provision, facilitating the consumer voice within a complex service.

Originality/value

Re-evaluating the value of online forums, the paper identifies the mechanisms through which health consumers co-create knowledge within online communities, and how these mechanisms can inform and complement future service provision.

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 2006

Terry Newholm, Angus Laing and Gillian Hogg

This paper considers the notion of consumer empowerment across the financial, legal and medical service sectors in the UK. Although the advent of the internet is generally…

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2468

Abstract

Purpose

This paper considers the notion of consumer empowerment across the financial, legal and medical service sectors in the UK. Although the advent of the internet is generally seen as potentially enabling consumer empowerment, theoretical papers divide on the question of efficacy. On the one hand, it is argued the much‐vaunted internet opportunity must not be simply taken as evidence of change in the consumer‐producer relationship. On the other the change must not be unquestioningly be taken as advantageous to the consumer.

Design/methodology/approach

Empirical data were generated through ten consumer focus groups and eight interviews with professionals.

Findings

The paper supports the contention that empowerment is partial and unevenly distributed among consumers. It is argued that characterisations of consumer indifference and producer discipline as preventing effective empowerment are too simplistic. Additionally, any taboo restraining the questioning of professional judgement is largely absent from the assumption of choice and of recognition/respect among the consumers participating in the research.

Research limitations/implications

Focus group research does not enable a judgement about the prevalence or distribution of empowerment assumptions among consumers.

Practical implications

It is inevitable that in the broader consumer market professionals will be required to respond to a complex of consumer assumptions and these will include an assumption of empowerment.

Originality/value

Much of the services research in marketing has been set within the service recovery paradigm; given information, consumer power is an implied function of the market. In this paper, we see consumer empowerment as a process of negotiation partially facilitated by information.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 40 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 1 September 2006

Len Tiu Wright

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2000

Abstract

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 40 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 26 March 2021

Shruti Gulati

While researchers have studied the impact of social media on tourist behaviour Milano et al. (2011) and Hays et al. (2013), very few studies have explored the impact of…

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2004

Abstract

Purpose

While researchers have studied the impact of social media on tourist behaviour Milano et al. (2011) and Hays et al. (2013), very few studies have explored the impact of social media on sustainable tourism, and thus, it can be said to be in its “infancy” (Han et al., 2017). There exists a “knowledge gap” not just with tourists but also with researchers, as the issue on sustainable tourism consumption is “rarely investigated directly in tourism researches” or consumer behaviour studies, and there is often discrepancy in literature on the issue (Cohen et al., 2014; Bray et al., 2011). While the potential for social media in promoting sustainable tourism is known considering the use of it for socialisation and knowledge sharing, empirical researches to make in depth enquiry on the same is “rare” (Ali and Frew, 2010; Sarkar et al., 2014). Also, the differences between markets for sustainable tourism amongst different markets needs to explored further (Weber, 2019). The purpose of this study is to fill this gap by proposing a conceptual framework and empirically testing how social media can be used to generate and promote sustainable tourism demand among through evidences from Indian tourists. RQ1: what are the key drivers to use social media by sustainable tourists? RQ2: can social media promotions help sustainable demand generation through spreading awareness and connecting fellow sustainable tourists?

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 350 Indian tourists were reached through Google forms distributed through various channels, amongst which 265 responded with a response rate of 75.7%. The data were coded and checked for any outliers and missing values. To avoid any biases, incomplete forms were not counted and after data cleaning, 250 respondents were found to be appropriate with all the responses. Analysis of demographic and travel profile was done through SPSS 22 to check variances in the groups, frequencies and chi square values were calculated. Since this is an exploratory study, the aim was more on prediction rather than model confirmation, thus the technique used and found to be appropriate was partial least squares structural equation modelling (PLS-SEM).

Findings

Variances of social media were used in the demographic groups and found that there was no significant difference found as per age and education. Even variation of travel habits was found to be not significant with social media use. It can be seen that social media promotion activities indeed create awareness amongst people about sustainability; creating awareness about sustainability indeed leads to connecting green tourists together. On the other hand, social media promotional activities may not necessarily connect potential green tourists together; awareness positively impacts the generation of sustainable demand is also supported. It can be seen that merely connecting potential green tourists does not necessarily create demand. Social media promotion activities are indeed instrumental in creating a sustainable demand amongst tourist.

Research limitations/implications

This study takes into account the informational and environmental knowledge aspect of sustainable behaviour adoption by green tourists (Swarbrooke and Horner, 2007; Miller, 2003; Chan et al., 2014). This study draws implications based on the behaviour of Indian tourists and thus, the generalisation to other countries may not be as accurate as Indians differ culturally from the world at large. Even though the study involves different age groups, the mean age is of younger Indian tourists, which is also often considered as the most active users of social media and thus likely to be impacted more. Also, it is believed that these younger green consumers who are already inclined towards sustainability tend to seek more information on ethical issues (Finney, 2014). The sample size of the study is very small (n = 250) and was only checked for variation amongst gender and profession; other aspects such as income and employment (Swarbrooke and Horner, 2007; Miller, 2003) have been kept out of the study and thus not included as a part of demographics. More demographic characteristics can be taken into account to study if they play a mediating role in generating sustainable demand as a part of the analysis of this conceptual framework proposed.

Practical implications

Internet allows users to obtain information about products and brands to its users through various social media such as blogs, forums, wikis content sharing, etc. (Hennig-Thurau and Walsh, 2003; Reilly and Weirup, 2010). Strategies can thus be formulated to target sustainable tourists with sustainable destinations and amenities, so as to attract those tourists who appreciate and commit to the cause of sustainability (López-Sánchez and Pulido-Fernández, 2016). Using social media as a promotion tool can help in educating customers (Xiang and Gretzel, 2010) on the various sustainable tourism services they intend to offer, as the results supports the use of social media promotion for generating sustainable demand amongst the tourists. Also, the sustainable tourism providers can make use of promotional activities focussing on building online pro environmental tourist-based communities using the user generated contents which can positively lead to adoption of collective social behaviour and sustainable practices (Han et al., 2017). Specifically, the use of short interactive messages can be used for social media promotions, so as to increase “organisation prominence” amongst the green target groups online (Strähle and Gräff, 2017). While it was noted that different markets react differently to the idea of sustainability, and thus, different markets need to be explored deeper (Weber, 2019); this study attempts to provide a perspective of Indian tourists which not just adds to the literature on Indian tourist behaviour but also provides a viewpoint of the Asian tourists. It also enriches the existing literature on the use of AIDA model for services and tourism specifically which as a theoretical base is unexplored.

Originality/value

The study adds to the rising interest in understanding the behavioural changes in tourists (Hall, 2016) and provides insights on “the versatility of the topic of relationship between sustainable tourism and marketing” (Font and McCabe, 2017). While ethical consumption is essential to preserve resources, the study of this area of consumer behaviour is “under examined”, as majority studies focus on products, very few studies elucidate on encouraging it through social marketing (Newholm and Shaw, 2007). Thus, this study attempts to fill the gap in the literature by proposing a framework for generating sustainable demand amongst tourists so that they are inclined socially and sustainably both through the use of social media. It is often noted that tourists are unwilling to change their travel behaviour as a result of lack of awareness or due to hesitance of sacrificing (Juvan and Dolnicar, 2014; Miller et al., 2010). This study provides empirical evidence that supports the awareness of sustainability as a means of generating sustainable demand amongst tourists. Knowledge regarding tourism demand helps in the further development of tourism products and its marketing initiatives (Weber, 2019). Thus, it allows tourism players to understand that Indian tourists are open to sustainable tourist practices if enough information is provided to them.

Details

International Hospitality Review, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2516-8142

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Article
Publication date: 4 February 2020

Bettina Lis and Maximilian Fischer

This study aims to investigate if different types of negative electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) have various negative effects on the attitude of the consumer toward a…

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1072

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate if different types of negative electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) have various negative effects on the attitude of the consumer toward a product (Laptop) and whether this newfound attitude remains unaffected by the subsequent influence of positive eWOM.

Design/methodology/approach

A quantitative study in Germany was conducted. In the two-part experimental setting, first, a factorial repeated-measures between-subjects design was used in which the types of negative eWOM have been manipulated. The second part is characterized by a mixed between–within subjects design to test the durability of attitudinal changes.

Findings

The results demonstrate that destructive and ethical eWOM only provoke a small decline in consumer attitude compared to functional product criticism. Furthermore, the examination shows that renewed positive eWOM can improve the attitude, whereas ethical criticism is the most difficult to correct.

Research limitations/implications

The study views negative eWOM differentiated. Researchers could adopt this approach by analyzing online communication more precisely. Ambivalent relationships between negative eWOM and their outcomes can be explained.

Practical implications

The findings lessen the fear of permanent loss of brand reputation caused by negative reviews. The harmful effects on the attitude can be compensated through targeted marketing management actions. The study shows which content companies need to focus on.

Originality/value

Previous literature has predominantly overlooked the complex nature of negative eWOM. Therefore, the study provides first empirical results about the divergent effect of different content types of negative eWOM on consumer attitude toward a product. Additionally, the durability of consumer negativity could be measured over time.

Details

Journal of Product & Brand Management, vol. 29 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1061-0421

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Article
Publication date: 8 May 2019

Sedki Karoui and Romdhane Khemakhem

This study aims to better understand the Islamic consumption incentives because the spectacular flourishing of the halal market in different places around the world has…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to better understand the Islamic consumption incentives because the spectacular flourishing of the halal market in different places around the world has grown the interest in understanding and deciphering the mechanisms behind its development.

Design/methodology/approach

Through an exploratory study of some Tunisia-based Islamic groups’ purchasing behavior, this paper investigates factors leading to the purchasing of halal goods (Islamic consumption).

Findings

Findings show that the Islamic consumer is more of an Islamist than simply a Muslim. In addition, findings show that halal consumption is not merely related to religious affiliations but also the product of numerous cultural, social and psychological factors.

Originality/value

In addition to Islamism and Islamic activism, this paper puts in evidence the role of some post-structural factors such as identity, nostalgia and hedonism in relation to the buying intention of halal products and services.

Details

Journal of Islamic Marketing, vol. 10 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1759-0833

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 November 2018

Guida Helal, Wilson Ozuem and Geoff Lancaster

A phenomenon that has revolutionized society is the technological millennial approach to communication. Social media has matured into a prime channel for regular…

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8906

Abstract

Purpose

A phenomenon that has revolutionized society is the technological millennial approach to communication. Social media has matured into a prime channel for regular interactions and development of brand–customer relationships that enrich a social identity. The purpose of this paper is to investigate how this affects business communications.

Design/methodology/approach

The study utilized a social constructivist perspective, adopting an inductive and embedded case study strategy.

Findings

Drawing on the social identity theory, this paper examines how evolving social media platforms have impacted on brand perceptions in the fashion apparel and accessories industries. Fashion brands’ online presence provide a platform for customers to supplement social identity based on associations with brands, and ultimately this can shape brand perceptions among customers through promised functional and symbolic benefits.

Research limitations/implications

The paper investigates a specialized marketing activity in the UK. A broader internationally based study would add strength to these findings.

Practical implications

The paper focuses on theoretical and managerial implications and proffers significant roles that social media and identity may play in keeping up with the design and development of marketing communications programs.

Social implications

Multinational corporations have embraced internet technologies and social media in adopting platforms that their brands can use to contribute content to followers.

Originality/value

In total, 30 potential participants, drawn from diverse backgrounds, were contacted via social networking sites, e-mails and telephone. In total, 22 agreed to participate and their mean age was 26. An open-ended questionnaire allowed for elaboration, providing appropriate responses for a second interviewing phase. Four industry professionals were recruited through the researchers’ personal networks to participate in in-depth interviews that sought to investigate the significance of social media as a marketing tool from an industry perspective.

Details

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, vol. 46 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-0552

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Article
Publication date: 1 November 2006

Andrew Alexander and Alex Nicholls

The paper aims to investigate the value of a network perspective in enhancing the understanding of the business to consumer marketing of high‐involvement product…

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8575

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to investigate the value of a network perspective in enhancing the understanding of the business to consumer marketing of high‐involvement product categories. This is achieved through the analysis of the development of fair trade marketing in the UK.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper addresses the research question through an analysis of relevant literatures from both marketing and other disciplinary areas. The paper is thus multidisciplinary in nature. Findings from a series of in depth, semi‐structured interviews with senior representatives of a fair trade wholesaler, of a specialist fair trade brand, of supermarket retailers involved with fair trade and of other fair trade labelling and support organisations are reported and discussed.

Findings

The relevance of an actor network theory (ANT) informed interpretation of the development of the fair trade marketing network is revealed. Its emphases on the processes of exchange and the role of human and non‐human actants in enabling interactions within the network are shown to be important. fair trade marketing is shown as occurring within an unfolding network of information exchanges. Analysis of this emerging network highlights a shift of emphasis in fair trade marketing from the fair trade process to fair trade products and, latterly, fair trade places.

Originality/value

The paper highlights the requirement for further conceptualisation of the business to consumer marketing of high‐involvement product categories, and reveals the potential of ANT as one approach to meet this need. The paper also provides a detailed insight into the development of fair trade marketing in the UK.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 40 no. 11/12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Keywords

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