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Green consumer behavior: Being good or seeming good?

Journal article
Authors Ulf Aagerup
Jonas Nilsson
Published in Journal of Product & Brand Management
Volume 25
Issue 3
Pages 274-284
ISSN 1061-0421
Publication year 2016
Published at Centre for Business in Society
Department of Business Administration, Marketing Group
Pages 274-284
Language en
Keywords Green consumer behavior, Self-enhancement, Branding, ATSCI, Attention to social comparison information, Self-monitoring ability
Subject categories Business Administration


Purpose This paper aims to expand the emerging field of symbolic green consumer behavior (GCB) by investigating the impact of anticipated conspicuousness of the consumption situation on consumers’ choice of organic products. In addition, the paper also explores whether self-monitoring ability and attention to social comparison information (ATSCI) influence GCB in situations of anticipated high conspicuousness. Design/methodology/approach Two experiments test the study’s hypotheses. Findings The results of both experiments show that the anticipation of conspicuousness has a significant effect on GCB. Moreover, in Experiment 2, this effect is moderated by consumers’ level of ATSCI but not by their self-monitoring ability. Research limitations/implications Because ATSCI significantly interacts with green consumption because of the anticipation of a conspicuous setting, although self-monitoring ability does not, we conclude that social identification is an important determinant of green consumption. Practical implications Marketers who focus on building green brands could consider designing conspicuous consumption situations to increase GCB. Social implications Policymakers could enact change by making the environmental unfriendliness of non-eco-friendly products visible to the public and thus increase the potential for GCB. Originality/value The results validate the emerging understanding that green products are consumed for self-enhancement, but also expand the literature by highlighting that a key motivating factor of GCB is the desire to fit in.

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