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Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14211-14229;

Developing More Insights on Sustainable Consumption in China Based on Q Methodology

Faculty of Management and Economics, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian 116024, China
College of Communication and Information Science, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Giuseppe Ioppolo
Received: 10 July 2015 / Revised: 5 September 2015 / Accepted: 14 October 2015 / Published: 21 October 2015
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Being an important aspect of sustainable development, sustainable consumption has attracted great attention among Chinese politicians and academia, and Chinese governments have established policies that encourage sustainable consumption behaviors. However, unsustainable consumption behavior still remains predominant in China. This paper aims to classify consumers with similar traits, in terms of the characteristics of practicing sustainable consumption, into one group, so that their traits can be clearly understood, to enable governments to establish pointed policies for different groups of consumers. Q methodology, generally used to reveal the subjectivity of human beings involved in any situation, is applied in this paper to classify Chinese consumers based on Q sample design and data collection and analysis. Next, the traits of each group are analyzed in detail and comparison analyses are also conducted to compare the common and differentiating factors among the three groups. The results show that Chinese consumers can be classified into three groups: sustainable (Group 1), potential sustainable (Group 2) and unsustainable consumers (Group 3), according to their values and attitudes towards sustainable consumption. As such, Group 1 cares for the environment and has strong environmental values. They understand sustainable consumption and its functions. Group 2 needs more enlightenments and external stimuli to motivate them to consume sustainably. Group 3 needs to be informed about and educated on sustainable consumption to enable them to change their consumption behavior from unsustainable to sustainable. Suggestions and implications of encouraging each group of consumers to engage in sustainable consumption are also provided. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable consumption; consumer traits; Q method; China sustainable consumption; consumer traits; Q method; China

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Qu, Y.; Li, M.; Jia, H.; Guo, L. Developing More Insights on Sustainable Consumption in China Based on Q Methodology. Sustainability 2015, 7, 14211-14229.

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