Predicting Behavioral Intentions Toward Sustainable Fashion Consumption: A Comparison of Attitude-Behavior and Value-Behavior Consistency Models

Predicting Behavioral Intentions Toward Sustainable Fashion Consumption: A Comparison of Attitude-Behavior and Value-Behavior Consistency Models

Srikant Manchiraju (Iowa State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5880-6.ch011
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In recent years, sustainable consumption has received considerable attention. In fact, to save the planet Earth and future generations, it has been proposed the issue of sustainable consumption should be addressed. Consequently, in the present chapter, two theoretical models are analyzed separately, as well as in conjunction, to understand sustainable consumption in the context of fashion. Furthermore, the present study's theoretical and managerial implications are discussed.
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In recent years, sustainability, by extension sustainable consumption, has received considerable attention by academicians (e.g., Abeliotis, Koniari, & Sardianou, 2010; Bissonnette & Contento, 2001; Manchiraju, Fiore, & Russell, 2012; Vermeir & Verbeke, 2008), organizations (e.g., United States Geological Survey, International Organization for Sustainable Development, United Nations Division for Sustainable Development), popular media (Gillis, 2011), and companies (e.g., Aventura, Hass Libre, Johnson & Johnson, Nokia, P&G, Target, Tupperware, Volvo, Walmart). Sustainable consumption is commonly defined as:

The use of goods and services that respond to basic needs and bring a better quality of life, while minimizing the use of natural resources, toxic materials, and emissions of waste and pollutants over the life cycle, so as not to jeopardize the needs of future generations.(Dolan, 2002, p. 17)

Increasingly, in Western societies overconsumption is widely prevalent, leading to the depletion of valuable natural resources (Ghadrian, 2010; Schaefer & Crane, 2005). For example, Schaefer and Crane (2005) drew upon the World Wildlife Fund for Nature statistics for the ecological footprint (assessed by the amount of land used to sustain the consumption of an individual) of an average person worldwide—2.28 hectares—whereas, the average U.S. citizen’s ecological footprint is 9.7 hectares. Likewise, in the context of fashion consumption, Claudio (2007) cited the Environmental Protection Agency Office of Solid Waste report, which suggested on the average, an American discards 68 pounds of textiles and clothing annually. Such consumption patterns are widely considered a threat to future sustainability. It has been maintained that sustainable consumption practices can lead to a decrease in consumption and, thus, help to ameliorate several environmental issues to a certain extent (Pinto, Nique, Anana, & Herter, 2011).

In recent years, in accordance with the attention gained by sustainability, sustainable fashion consumption has garnered widespread attention from academicians and practitioners alike. The organic apparel industry has been consistently growing annually. For instance, sales of products made from organic cotton fiber jumped to US$ 1.07 billion in 2006 (Hustvedt & Dickson, 2009). Consequently, apparel manufacturers and retailers are eager to cater to this growing consumer segment. However, to gain a comprehensive understanding to promote sustainable consumption, it is important to understand individuals’ purchase decision factors.

Within consumer psychology and psychology, in general, several behavioral models (e.g., attitude-behavior and value-behavior consistency models; Maio, Olson, Bernard, & Luke, 2003) have been proposed to understand human [consumption] behaviors. Consequently, research in recent years has focused on existing behavioral models (e.g., the Theory of Reasoned Action; e.g., see Sheppard, Hartwick, & Warshaw, 1988), which have been applied in different contexts—ranging from counterfeit product consumption (Kim & Karpova, 2010), to health behaviors (e.g., physical activity, Armitage, 2005), to purchasing organic products (e.g., organic food, Vermeir & Verbeke, 2008).

However, several researchers (e.g., Bissonnette&Contento,2001;Manchiraju et al., 2012; Sniehotta, 2009) have noted existing behavioral models have been used extensively. For example, the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB; Ajzen, 1985) has been employed in numerous studies in various contexts, which has not been modified, extended, or abandoned (Sniehotta, 2009); thus, halting theory development, as noted by Sniehotta (2009).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Attitude Towards a Behavior: The degree to which a person has a favorable or unfavorable evaluation to perform the behavior in question ( Kang & Kim, 2006 ).

Perceived behavioral control: An individual’s perceptions about one’s ethical or moral obligations toward performing a behavior ( Bissonnette & Contento, 2001 ).

Values: “Enduring beliefs that a specific mode of conduct is personally or socially preferable to an opposite or converse mode of conduct or end-state of existence” ( Rokeach, 1968 , p. 160).

Value-Behavior Consistency Models: Assume that [personal] values (i.e., concepts or beliefs pertaining to desirable end states; Schwartz & Bilsky, 1987 , p. 551) influence behavior ( Maio et al., 2003 ).

Social Norm: Perceived social pressure experienced by an individual to perform a particular behavior (Vermeir & Verbeke, 2008 AU58: The in-text citation "Vermeir & Verbeke, 2008" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

Attitude-Behavior Consistency Models: Assume that [individuals’] attitudes predict behavior strongly ( Maio et al., 2003 ).

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