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The Contribution of Ethical Obligation and Self-identity to the Theory of Planned Behaviour: An Exploration of Ethical Consumers

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Whilst the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) has generated much research interest, many market researchers are divided over the addition of further constructs to the model. The TRA and its many modifications have been applied in numerous behavioural contexts, however, research to-date has neglected an emerging group of "ethical" consumers. This paper outlines results from a recent survey of over 1400 UK consumers that applied the TRA to this complex area of decision making. Using readers to the Ethical Consumer magazine, the study addresses issues involving proposed model modifications - specifically, by the addition of control, ethical obligation and self-identify. Management implications of the findings are discussed, including the importance of understanding consumers' self-identification with ethical issues in marketing communications programmes; and the underlying potential importance of ethical issues to mainstream consumer groups. Finally, the need to develop conceptually as well as practically robust techniques by using Structural Equation Modelling, which represents the next stage in this research, is outlined.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: November 1, 2000

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