Consumer Ambivalence in Ethical Intention-Behavior Process

Stefano Prestini, Roberta Sebastiani

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in libroContributo a convegno


The research goal is to explore the consumer ambivalence in the intention–behavior process of the ethically-minded consumer (Carrington et al., 2010), in which positive and negative emotions play a pivotal role, and to understand in which phases of the process consumer ambivalence intervene more. Through focus groups, we gather data transcribing all discoursed generated by group dynamics about the ethical shopping experience and related emotions. The setting of packaged food products was chosen considering the high involvement Italians have on food. Moreover, packaged food allows informants to have more information to evaluate: brand advertising and info on the product package. The two focus groups lasted f 3 hours, resulting in 60 pages of transcribed discourses. The focus groups were structured into five parts: (a) participants’ criteria for being selected, (b) participant’s definition of an ethical product, (c) participant’s responses on the intention-behavior process, (d) use of the projective technique with the simulation of an ethical packaged food choice and (e) the exploration of participant’s mixed emotions in the whole process. In the end, the abundance of information of transcribed texts supported the authors to obtain a consistent amount of data that was analyzed and compared. The text was coded and discussed in an iterative way (Spiggle, 1994). Findings – Evidences from this study underline how mixed emotions, in the shape of consumer ambivalence, emerge when ethically-minded shoppers are going to buy ethical packaged food products. Three main consumer ambivalence typologies in the ethical decisional process are Self-esteem & Skepticism; Pride & Sense of Sacrifice; Sense of Justice & Regret. According to each consumer ambivalence, ethical consumers are naturally led to adopt a specific behavior or attitude toward the ethical choice. Negative emotions coactive positive emotions leading positive consumer outcomes. Moreover, we retraced all the phases of Carrington et al.'s model (2010) to confirm the way in which ethically-minded consumers define their intention and behave during the packaged food product choice. Results evidence that the model still well represents the process through which consumers translate their ethical intentions into behaviors. However, three additional phases were identified in post-purchase sequences: consumption, post-consumption, and feedback phases. Consumer ambivalence intervenes in the process.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteSIM, Proceedings XV Convegno Annuale Della Societa’ Italiana Marketing
Numero di pagine8
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2018
EventoI Percorsi identitari nel Marketing. XV Convegno Annuale della Società Italiana Marketing - Bari (Italy).
Durata: 18 ott 201819 ott 2018


ConvegnoI Percorsi identitari nel Marketing. XV Convegno Annuale della Società Italiana Marketing
CittàBari (Italy).


  • Consumer ambivalence
  • Ethical consumption
  • intention-behavior gap


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