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Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3238; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093238

The Influence of Cognitive Dimensions on the Consumer-SME Relationship: A Sustainability-Oriented View

1
Department of Pharmacy, University of Salerno, Via Giovanni Paolo II, 132, 84084 Fisciano SA, Italy
2
Department of Medicine, University of Salerno, Via Giovanni Paolo II, 132, 84084 Fisciano SA, Italy
3
Department of Management, Sapienza University of Rome, Via del Castro Laurenziano, 9, 00161 Rome RM, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 July 2018 / Revised: 2 September 2018 / Accepted: 4 September 2018 / Published: 10 September 2018
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Abstract

While companies are investing increasingly in sustainability measures, the effects of firms’ sustainability actions on consumer perceptions should not be taken for granted and deserve to be investigated. By adopting the interpretative lens of consumer culture theory, this paper defines a set of cognitive dimensions which can describe consumer perceptions of sustainability actions and the behaviors of small–medium enterprises (SMEs), with the aim of identifying the relationships between firms’ sustainability actions and the economic performance of SMEs. To this extent, the cognitive dimensions proposed by Green & Petre (1996) are re-elaborated to define a set of customer cognitive dimensions in the sustainability domain (resilience, wholeness, mapping, coding, and engagement). Thus, the relationships between SMEs’ sustainability actions and behaviors, the defined cognitive influencers and SME performance is empirically tested. In particular, a survey of a sample of 1137 customers of 175 Italian SMEs is analyzed using structural equation modelling (SEM). The findings show that the adoption of certain sustainability actions influences consumer perceptions, which in turn impacts the economic performance of SMEs. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainability; consumer culture theory; cognitive dimensions; SMEs; structural equation modelling sustainability; consumer culture theory; cognitive dimensions; SMEs; structural equation modelling
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Caputo, F.; Carrubbo, L.; Sarno, D. The Influence of Cognitive Dimensions on the Consumer-SME Relationship: A Sustainability-Oriented View. Sustainability 2018, 10, 3238.

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