Lee, Jin-Myong, Hyo-Jung Kim, & Jong-Youn Rha (2017, November). Shopping for society? Consumers’ value conflicts in socially responsible consumption affected by retail regulation. Sustainability, 9(11), art. 1968. (doi: 10.3390/su9111968). (Open Access)

Abstract: Consumers have a dual role as economic actors who purchase products and as citizens comprising society. Thus, consumers may experience conflict between pursuing personal values (i.e., low price and high quality) and social values (i.e., equity and common good). In addition, these choices can be affected by governmental regulation of retail markets. This study aimed to identify consumer perspectives toward socially responsible consumption (SRC) in the choice of grocery store format and to investigate actual store choice behavior across consumer groups with those different perspectives while considering the role of retail regulation. For this purpose, we conducted a Q methodological study in which 30 South Korean consumers rank-ordered 40 statements regarding SRC. After performing Q factor analysis using PQ-Method software, we classified four distinctive consumer groups: “ethical conformist”, “market liberalist”, “ambivalent bystander”, and “internally conflicted”. After investigating similarities and differences between these consumer groups, we found major criteria for understanding consumer perspectives to SRC such as the priority of values pursued, the experience of a value-action gap, and internal conflicts in the decision-making process.

Hyo-Jung Kim <hyojungkim@snu.ac.kr> is in the Department of Consumer Science, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.