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Factors contributing to rural consumers' inshopping behavior: Effects of institutional environment and social capital

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to examine how shopping behavior of rural consumers is affected by perceptions of local retailers' social norm-based activities and task-oriented actions, and social capital within the community. Design/methodology/approach ‐ A mail survey is distributed using a modification of Dillman's method; 524 usable surveys are collected. Multi-group analysis in structural equation modeling is employed for the data analysis. Findings ‐ The findings of the paper reveal significant relationships between institutional action and legitimacy, legitimacy and support, and value and support. The moderating effect of social capital on the relationships between institutional action and legitimacy, legitimacy and support, and value and support are significant. Research limitations/implications ‐ This paper extends previous research by including both social environmental factors (social capital), and retailers' social actions in explaining consumer support. Limitations of the research design are discussed and directions for future research are suggested. Practical implications ‐ This research provides rural retailers with ideas for marketing solutions that use socio-norm related (i.e. institutional action) and task-oriented (i.e. performative action) factors to attract local shoppers. Originality/value ‐ This research adds to the current stream of rural research by integrating institutional theory and social capital theory to propose a conceptual framework. This research is significant as the study results provide implications to rural retailers and further to the community, as the sustainability of the rural sector is closely related to the well-being of the entire community.

Keywords: Consumer behaviour; Rural areas; Shopping; Social capital

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2010-01-01

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