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Special Issue "Consumer Perceptions, Decision-Making, and Behaviors: The Missing Link in an Organization’s Sustainability Initiatives"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2020) | Viewed by 7150

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Diane M. Phillips
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Marketing, Saint Joseph’s University, 5600 City Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19131, USA
Interests: consumer behavior, consumer psychology, sustainability

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In discussions of an organization’s sustainability measures, frequent attention is paid to a variety of organizationally-driven initiatives such as more efficient transportation systems, expanding renewable energy, more sustainable agricultural systems, or more efficient buildings. Although these are certainly commendable pursuits, there is one entity that is frequently overlooked in these types of approaches: the individual consumer. People have to utilize the transportations systems; they need to switch to renewable energy; they need to eat sustainable food; and they need to live, work, and shop in efficient buildings. The human component is essential to the success of every organization’s sustainability-related initiatives. Whether it is deciding to add solar panels to the roof, bike to work, maintain a meatless diet, vote for a particular political candidate, boycott an organization, or buy a “green” product, consumers are the critical link in bringing even the most ambitious organizational plans to fruition.

Therefore, this Special Issue will establish the consumer as the critical missing link in organization level sustainability initiatives. Research papers that focus on the consumer as the central player in moving toward a more sustainable future are welcome. We seek to understand what makes the sustainable consumer tick. More specifically, this Special Issue will seek to answer questions such as what motivates consumers to form attitudes and enact pro-environment behaviors? How do consumers interpret the actions of organizations? In what ways do important values motivate action or inaction? How might consumers differentially utilize information in the immediate environment vs. information stored in memory? In what way do social and cultural forces influence sustainable consumers? Are there different types of sustainable consumers? What types of advertising or communication strategies are likely to resonate with sustainable consumers?

Dr. Diane M. Phillips
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • sustainability
  • consumer psychology
  • decision-making
  • attitudes
  • culture
  • green consumption
  • pro-environment consumption

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Article
Communicating Sustainability to Ethnocentric Consumers in China: Focusing on Social Distance from Foreign Corporations
Sustainability 2021, 13(1), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13010047 - 23 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1446
Abstract
This study examines the relationship between social distance perception and company/sustainability campaign evaluations. The study also investigates the moderating role of consumer ethnocentrism in the relationship between the variables. This study further compares the effects of construal message framing (high-level vs. low-level construal) [...] Read more.
This study examines the relationship between social distance perception and company/sustainability campaign evaluations. The study also investigates the moderating role of consumer ethnocentrism in the relationship between the variables. This study further compares the effects of construal message framing (high-level vs. low-level construal) on social distance perception. The SPSS PROCESS macro analysis revealed that social distance perception from a corporation negatively affects company evaluations. Moreover, the results demonstrated that consumer ethnocentrism significantly moderates the relationship between social distance perception and company/sustainability campaign evaluations. Finally, the results indicate that construal message framing significantly affects the level of social distance perception from the host of a sustainability campaign. This paper provides practical suggestions for corporates’ sustainability communications and adds to the literature on the reverse effect of construal level theory and social distance reduction. Full article
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Article
A Firm’s Financial Reputation vs. Sustainability Reputation: Do Consumers Really Care?
Sustainability 2020, 12(24), 10519; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410519 - 16 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1404
Abstract
In today’s global marketplace, management teams spend a significant amount of effort on managing their organizations’ image. Stellar reputations help to secure financing, attract business partners, and entice customers. Across two studies, we examine the extent to which a firm’s financial and sustainability [...] Read more.
In today’s global marketplace, management teams spend a significant amount of effort on managing their organizations’ image. Stellar reputations help to secure financing, attract business partners, and entice customers. Across two studies, we examine the extent to which a firm’s financial and sustainability reputations are influenced by two distinct organizational activities: its status as a first mover in the field of sustainability and its chief executive officer’s actions. We accomplish this by utilizing a basic semiotics framework to analyze the process by which a firm’s reputation is created between the object (the firm), different signs (organizational activities), and an interpretant (the firm’s reputation). Among other reported findings, we confirm that a firm’s first mover status significantly impacts its financial reputation. In addition, the first mover status and the actions of its CEO both significantly impact the firm’s sustainability reputation. In examining sustainability reputation more closely, we confirm a strong and significant effect of the firm’s sustainability reputation on consumer attitudes toward the firm, which is mediated by the attitude toward the CEO and attitude toward the firm’s first mover status. Do consumers care what organizations do? The answer is yes. Full article
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Article
The Environmental Impact of Consumption Lifestyles: Ethically Minded Consumption vs. Tightwads
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 9954; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12239954 - 28 Nov 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1943
Abstract
This study investigates the environmental impact of anti-consumption lifestyles and compares it to environmental concern and ethically minded consumption. Environmental impact was measured in a sample of 357 individuals with a carbon footprint calculator capturing all greenhouse gases released by an individual’s activities. [...] Read more.
This study investigates the environmental impact of anti-consumption lifestyles and compares it to environmental concern and ethically minded consumption. Environmental impact was measured in a sample of 357 individuals with a carbon footprint calculator capturing all greenhouse gases released by an individual’s activities. Three types of anti-consumption lifestyles were considered: frugality, voluntary simplicity, and tightwadism. Results suggest that tightwadism is negatively associated with environmental impact. This negative association is stronger when participants are knowledgeable about the emissions impact of their behaviors. These findings suggest that tightwadism can lead to positive outcomes to achieve sustainability. Surprisingly, frugality and voluntary simplicity, as well as environmental concern, are not significantly associated with environmental impact, whereas ethically minded consumption correlates positively with the latter. This study demonstrates that increasing consumers’ environmental and ethical concerns alone might not be an effective way to lead them towards a more sustainable lifestyle. Such findings have important implications for sustainability and public policy makers. Full article
Article
The Impact of Self-Quantification on Consumers’ Participation in Green Consumption Activities and Behavioral Decision-Making
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 4098; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104098 - 17 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2039
Abstract
Looking at the contradiction between the prevalence of self-quantification and unclear applicable boundaries, the objective of this study is to examine the internal mechanism of how self-quantification influences consumers’ participation and behavioral decision-making in green consumption activities. Based on the goal setting theory, [...] Read more.
Looking at the contradiction between the prevalence of self-quantification and unclear applicable boundaries, the objective of this study is to examine the internal mechanism of how self-quantification influences consumers’ participation and behavioral decision-making in green consumption activities. Based on the goal setting theory, a series of research hypotheses were proposed. Four experiments were designed and performed in different situations with different subjects. Through the analysis of variance and bootstrap testing, the experimental data were analyzed and processed. The results show that, under specific goals, consumers with low self-quantification participate more in promotional activities and less in defensive activities. In promotional green consumption activities, self-quantification enables consumers with (without) goal requirements to reduce (enhance) their participation performance, and choose high-intensity promotional activity categories less (more) with better (worse) participation experience. In defensive green consumption activities, self-quantification enables consumers with (without) goal limitations to enhance (reduce) participation performance and choose high-intensity defensive categories more (less) with better (worse) participation experience. The conclusions can provide enlightenment for enterprises to guide consumers to participate in green consumption activities. Full article
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