Presentation on theme: "Socially Conscious Consumerism Highlights for Educators from a Systematic Review of the Body of Research Dr. June Cotte Richard Ivey School of Business."— Presentation transcript:
1Socially Conscious Consumerism Highlights for Educators from a Systematic Review of the Body of ResearchDr. June CotteRichard Ivey School of BusinessCommissioned by:Network for Business Sustainability
2The Terra Bite Case Study A case study (available here) was developed to support this project. It deals with voluntary consumer payment methodThe implicit assumption of the owners is ethical behaviour on the part of consumers, most of the timeAnother implicit assumption is that socially responsible consumers will pay enough of a premium to more than compensate for free-loadersThe results of a knowledge project undertaken for the Network for Business Sustainability looked deep into the evidence underlying these and similar assumptions
3Research Question and Approach Are consumers willing to reward firms for their positive CSR-related actions?if so, by how much?what factors influence whether they will?do they also punish (monetarily)?
4What is CSR? Keywords searched: Organic products Local purchasing RecyclingSlow foodSocially conscious consumerismEnvironmental consumerismSocial marketingGreen consumptionCause-related marketingEco-friendly productsPaying for ethical behaviourSustainable products / consumptionEthical firm behaviourCorporate social responsibility
5What is included in the study? Search found nearly 1,700 academic articles and industry reportsExcluded least relevant and worst quality studiesAnalyzed 91 articles on consumer willingness to pay for CSR initiatives
14Results: Intentions vs. Behaviours Note: based on a small set of the total studies that included specific increases (13/91).
15Conclusions Behavioural studies trump surveys Surveys yield wider range of results than observing consumer choicesAttitude-Behaviour gap confirmedIntentions > behavioursBiggest gap on the environment: consumers are willing to change but not pay moreSmallest gap on organic, ethical sourcing, and animal rights: fewer studies show willingness to change, but those that do also show that consumers are willing to pay more
16What’s a Marketer to Do?“…assuming all else is constant, consumers are more likely to purchase from companies that engage in CSR actions, particularly in domains that consumers deem appropriate and personally relevant… [but]… little is constant in the real marketplace.” (Du, Bhattacharya and Sen 2007) Messaging needs to position along the lines of “there is no trade-off” — consumers expect the “better” alternative to be at least equal in price and quality to what they are already buying If you plan to charge a premium, messaging needs to revolve around other ways your offering saves money (the ‘value in use’ argument from the B2B area)
17Future OpportunitiesWhat influences consumers? We lack consensus on the profile of the socially conscious consumer and company:My final report will have a model of possible influencesBut we must better understand the influences and the gaps between attitudes, intentions, and behavioursResearch in this area needs to be more rigorous.Price and quality are never equal, so let’s not assume they are
18Research Opportunities Enough surveys. We need better methods:Self-reported survey results simply are not up to the task of determining a price premium, or real marketplace behaviourConsumers often assume the socially conscious choice must be either more expensive, or not as effectiveMore rigorous methods include conjoint, forced-choice, traditional experiments
19Social and Peer Influence InfluencesGender, Age, EducationSEC, Culture, NationInvolvementSocial and Peer InfluenceGov’t PolicyWillingness to Change BehaviorWillingness to Pay a PremiumFirm CSR ActionsConsumer Attitudes towards CSR ActionsConsumer Behavioral IntentionsWillingness to PunishEnhancements and ImpedimentsImpediments:Contradictory firm actionsPrior negative consumer knowledge or attitude re: firmEnhancements:Consumer knowledge of actionConsumer understandingPrior positive consumer attitude re: firmCompany / issue fitImpediments:Negative consumer attributions (why? greenwashing)Effect on perceived qualityNegative perceptions of consumer efficacyConsumer sacrificeEnhancements:Positive perceptions of consumer efficacyAcceptance of firm and consumer responsibilityImpediments:Competitive actionsConfusion at POPHabitMisleading packagingRequired trade-offsEnhancements:Clear benefitPrior small commitmentConsistency/fit with brandSalience of issueSimplified claims/labelsIn-store education