گمشده در ترجمه : بررسی و شکاف قصد و رفتار اخلاقی مصرف کننده
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|1664||2012||9 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||6750 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Business Research, Available online 5 October 2012
Ethical consumerism is a burgeoning movement, yet ethically-minded consumers rarely purchase ethically. Understanding obstacles to ethical consumption is limited. This study explores the underlying mechanics of the ethical purchase intention–behavior gap in the context of consumers' daily lives. The study employs multiple qualitative methods across multiple sites, explores the intention–behavior gap in observed modes of shopping behavior, and uses an interpretive approach. The analysis reveals four interrelated factors affecting the ethical intention–behavior gap: (1) prioritization of ethical concerns; (2) formation of plans/habits; (3) willingness to commit and sacrifice; and (4) modes of shopping behavior. Awareness of these four factors provides both strategic and tactical implications for marketing managers seeking to reach the elusive ethical consumer. Understanding and enhancing ethical consumption – closing the gap – has positive outcomes for the future sustainability of economies, societies and environments.
Ethical consumerism is a burgeoning social movement. Mainstream consumers increasingly express concerns about the ethicality and impact of their consumption choices upon the environment, animals and/or society (De Pelsmacker et al., 2005 and Shaw and Shui, 2002). For example, recent UK market data, suggests the ethical food and drink market represents 8% of the total food and drink market (Cooperative Bank, 2009). Despite embracing the values of ethical consumerism, most consumers rarely support their beliefs at the check-out counter (Auger and Devinney, 2007, Belk et al., 2005 and Szmigin et al., 2009). For example, 89% of UK consumers report they have ethical issues of concern (Lazzarini & de Mello, 2001), however, a 2005 study reports that only 30% of UK consumers convert these concerns into ethical purchase intentions, and only 3% actually purchase ethical products (Futerra Sustainability Communications Ltd, 2005). Researchers refer to the misalignment of ethical intentions into actual behavior alternately as the attitude–behavior, intention–behavior or words–deeds gap (Carrigan and Attalla, 2001 and Elliot and Jankel-Elliot, 2003). The ethical consumerism, psychology, social psychology and consumer behavior domains variously document, but they do not explain the intention–behavior gap (Bagozzi, 2000, Sheeran et al., 2003 and Szmigin et al., 2009). A growing body of research attempts to understand ethical purchase decision-making (e.g., De Pelsmacker et al., 2005, Shaw and Clarke, 1999, Shaw and Shui, 2002, Shaw et al, 2006, Shaw et al., 2007 and Vermeir and Verbeke, 2008), but these studies primarily focus on the formation of ethical purchase intentions. The translation from intentions to actual buying behavior remains poorly understood (Auger et al., 2003, Belk et al., 2005, De Pelsmacker et al., 2005 and Szmigin et al., 2009). This study sheds light on the intention–behavior (I–B) gap in an ethical consumption (EC) context. The study addresses Fisk's (1998, p.661) reflection that: “a sustainable society is a great idea, but how can the world's 5.7 billion people be redirected to adopt sustainable society practices? No one knows”. Marketers express similar frustrations and acknowledge that marketing strategies to reduce the EC I–B gap provide marginal impact at best (Crane and Matten, 2004 and Polonsky, 1995). Understanding and bridging the inconsistencies between what ethically-minded consumers intend to purchase and actually consume hold significant benefits for academia, industry, and society at large. To provide insights into the mechanics of why ethically-minded consumers often fail to enact their ethical purchasing/consuming intentions, the study draws upon the methodological framework presented by Edmondson and McManus (2007). The study combines a qualitative research methodology with grounded analysis (Glasser & Strauss, 1967) to explore the EC I–B gap.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
5.1. Prioritization underpins the I–B gap The study reveals that the translation of intentions into behavior is contingent upon the prioritization of ethical concerns, and that not all concerns are of equal salience. Ethical issue prioritization is integral to the observed mechanisms of plans and habits, and commitment and sacrifice. This core process significantly impacts which ethical concerns translate into purchasing/consumption, and which fall into the I–B gap. The prioritization process's complete influence is apparent when integrated with the related concepts of plans, habits, sacrifice, commitment, and behavioral modes emergent in the study. 5.2. Implications for plans and habits theory Simple acts of making plans and developing habits create a powerful platform to successfully bridge the EC I–B gap in an ongoing, sustainable way. This planning conceptually aligns with the notions of implementation intentions (Gollwitzer, 1999 and Gollwitzer and Sheeran, 2006), and implementation plans (Dholakia, Bagozzi, & Gopinath, 2007). This finding provides evidence for Carrington et al.'s (2010) notion of implementation intentions as a mediator of the relationship between EC intentions and behavior, thus contributes to the ethical consumption literature. In addition, the study extends the conceptions of these plan constructs to view the act of planning as a multi-dimensional, multi-layered concept. Planning to facilitate behavioral change requires practical knowledge, the de-construction of existing and habitual consumption patterns, and the construction of new habitual routines. This conscious effort is relevant particularly in contexts where consumers must move outside the mainstream market to change habits and enact desired behaviors. As a multi-dimensional construct that creates a web of enabling structures, planning includes elements such as transport, shopping location, time dimensions, links to other routines such as work activities, as well as the product. The effort required to develop these multi-dimensional plans renders the individual capable of building specific plans for primary ethical issues only. The study also extends the notions of implementation intentions/plans with the integration of habits into an overarching concept. Subsuming habits within the broader concept aligns with a renewed interest in the habits construct within the social psychology literature (e.g., Papies et al., 2009 and Webb et al., 2009). Whether founded upon implementation plans or shopping habits, the resulting behavior for informants is identical — rapid and pre-meditated enactments of planned/habitual behavior in a state of automaticity. This finding is consistent with Holland, Aarts, and Langendam's (2006) conceptual merging of plans and habits. Plan repetition and reinforcement leads to the breaking of old habits and forming of new habits (Webb et al., 2009), gradually reducing the EC I–B gap. 5.3. Understanding the salience of ethical concerns and theoretical implications The conscious consumption participants in Szmigin et al.'s (2009) study display flexibility in ethical and non-ethical purchase choices “dependent on their own mood and factors such as price, quality, convenience, taste and the desires of others close to them” (p. 228). This flexibility results in participants displaying minimal cognitive dissonance with their EC I–B gaps. In contrast, the present study's informants display and articulate significant cognitive dissonance when consuming in contradiction to their primary ethical concerns, but displayed flexibility for their secondary ethical concerns. To grasp the discord felt by informants when consuming in contradiction with primary ethical concerns and their willingness to sacrifice for these primary causes, requires an understanding of how primary ethical concerns differ from other salient concerns such as price, social acceptance and other ethical issues. Informants experience a deep sense of discord with misaligned choices and they are prepared to make sacrifices because shopping/consuming in alignment with their ethical consumption values provides a sense of “connecting with who you are and where you come from, it feels like you are living your truth” (Sally, HC). Ethical choices alignment with primary ethical concerns is highly salient because they align with one's sense of self and deeply rooted personal values (Tybout and Yalch, 1980 and Vinson et al., 1977). Awareness of an ethical issue that strongly resonates with this ethical value framework (e.g., through word-of-mouth or mainstream media) sparks this previously latent ethical value system to life in the consumption context. Once switched-on, deep commitment to this value-driven consumption results in an ideal identity shift (Kleine & Kleine, 2000), and the subsequent prioritization of this ethical personal value to guide everyday consumption behavior (Tybout & Yalch, 1980). Insight into personal values and the sense of discord when these values are violated provides an understanding of what sets the primary ethical concerns of ethically-minded consumers apart from other salient factors. 5.4. Integrating the emergent concepts and conceptualizing relationships The analysis reveals four factors that influence the ethical I–B gap: (1) prioritization of ethical concerns into primary or secondary; (2) formation of plans or habits; (3) willingness to commit and sacrifice; and (4) shopping behavior modes. These factors interconnect across the three conceptual levels illustrated in Fig. 1, and work as an integrated whole to influence purchasing/consumption behavior. The three levels and relationships between the four factors are interconnected as follows. It is a characteristic of primary ethical concerns that consumers are more likely to construct plans and make commitments/sacrifices. Gradually, these actions facilitate the development of ethically-aligned habits. Habitual behavior becomes automatic and effortless, resulting in pre-meditated and rapid shopping behaviors and consistent ethically aligned consumption. Similarly, it is in the very nature of secondary ethical issues that consumers are less likely to research and develop purchase plans for them. Specific commitments are rarely made resulting in unplanned effortful shopping behavior, erratic ethically aligned consuming practices and the EC I–B gap. These relationships and their cumulative effect upon the EC I–B gap provide a theoretical contribution to the ethical consumerism literature (see Fig. 2). This figure also draws attention to the complexity involved in EC decision making, with shaded lines illustrating that secondary ethical concerns do sometimes influence the shopping basket's contents, while primary ethical issues may at times be forgotten or put aside. Brigit illustrates this complexity when spontaneously purchasing a ‘Big Issue’ magazine from a homeless street vendor, making an impulsive and unplanned shopping decision consistent with one of her secondary ethical concerns. The analysis suggests that the process of prioritization, commitment/sacrifice, plans/habits, and the shopping mode influence the translation between EC intentions and actual buying/consuming behavior. The analysis also highlights a number of obstacles to ethical consumption, all of which could be the subject of future research. Obstacles include alternative personal values, extant habits, inability to form plans, unwillingness to make a commitment/sacrifice, lack of available information and an unwillingness to conduct effortful searches for information, and the distraction of the situational environment in effortful and spontaneous shopping modes. 5.5. Limitations and future research The study takes a qualitative approach with the aim of theoretical contribution. One strength of this research strategy lies in the element of realism, yet therein also lays a prominent methodological limitation as the quest for authenticity comes at the cost of generalizability (McGrath, 1994). Concepts emergent in this study may benefit from taking a hybrid/mixed approach to further research, employing complimentary quantitative methods to further explore and generalize their properties and dimensions (Carrington et al., 2010). Employing quantitative methods in further study would assist the exploration of mediating and moderating properties of the four emergent factors upon the relationship between intentions and behavior. In addition, similar immersive studies could elicit further understanding of the meanings associated with this complex and important phenomenon in the lives of ethically-minded consumers and their communities.