Counter-arguing as Barriers to Environmentally Motivated Consumption Reduction: A Multi-country Study
Authors: Wassili Lasarov, Robert Mai, Nieves Garcia de Frutos, José Manuel Ortega Egea and Stefan Hoffmann (International Journal of Research and Marketing, Vol. 36 (2), 281-305)
This research extends previous literature on environmentally motivated consumption reduction (EMCR) with a cross-cultural investigation across 28 European countries. The paper elucidates how European consumers’ knowledge and perceived seriousness of climate change inhibit the activation of counter-arguments, with implications for EMCR. More specifically, counter-arguing is a critical barrier to reduce EMCR. The developed model is based on the novel premise that the contingency variables, which qualify the impeding role of this barrier, are anchored at different levels. To account for individual and societal aspects simultaneously, multi-level analysis combines large-scale data from a Eurobarometer (n = 16,095) with secondary data at the societal level (n = 28). The results confirm that counter-arguments as barriers for EMCR and their attenuation through knowledge and perceived seriousness substantially varies across societies. Our results reveal that the collectivism/individualism dimension is most relevant in qualifying the impact of counter-arguments on EMCR. Building on our findings, impact-level-maps of counter-arguments and country clusters aid international marketers of environmentally friendly products to flexibly tailor their marketing campaigns. For policy-makers, our results further highlight that rather than raising knowledge with educative campaigns, perceptions of seriousness should be targeted to foster EMCR and inhibit counter-arguing.
Keywords: Consumption reduction, Hierarchical linear modeling, National cultural dimensions, Motivated reasoning, Neutralization techniques, Environmental values