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Why we think ethical consumers should walk their talk (and why they opt to go with the flow)

Kure, Nikolaj and Laursen, Klaus Brønd (2016) Why we think ethical consumers should walk their talk (and why they opt to go with the flow). Journal of Consumer Behaviour, ?, ?-?. [Submitted]

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Markets for ethical products are seemingly faced with an inherent flaw, namely the so-called attitude-behaviour gap. The gap implies that when consumers indicate preferences for ethical products only a minor part actually walk their talk. In response, an extensive literature has developed that attempts to either explain the inconsistency or develop ways of bridging the gap. Despite all these efforts, however, the field of ethical consumption continuous to be riddled with the problem: the gap persists! In this article, instead of treating the gap as a fact to be managed, we suggest that the attitude-behaviour gap emerges as a consequence of a set of theoretical assumptions which are embedded in an neoliberal discourse and which articulate values as essentially stable, endogenous and directive of behaviour. It is our assertion that this discourse not only leaves researchers chasing a mirage, it also traps CSR-businesses in a reactive position, left to await that ethical consumers will eventually begin to walk their talk. Instead, we point to the existence of a parallel neocommunitarian discourse that articulates good consumption behaviour as the results of a flow of dialogues in which various actors (including businesses) play a role in negotiating what is considered right and wrong in a specific context. This discourse, we suggest, open for a much more proactive CSR-approach than does the ethical discourse as it construes a social universe in which it is meaningful for businesses to relate to potential customers and participate in the creation of what is considered ‘good consumption’.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Subjects: Farming Systems
Research affiliation: European Union > CORE Organic II > HealthyGrowth
Deposited By: Kirkegaard, Lene/LKI
ID Code:30868
Deposited On:01 Dec 2016 08:59
Last Modified:01 Dec 2016 08:59
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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