This research aims to analyse how consumers in Western and Eastern societies perceive their own responsibility and the responsibility of companies for social and environmental issues that emerge in the course of the ongoing globalization.
Consumers are increasingly aware that their consumption behaviour exerts negative social and ecological effects. These effects occasionally become apparent in a particularly dramatic way when accidents and scandals occur, such as the collapse of the textile factory Rana Plaza in 2013. Many consumers recognize that their consumption habits are part of the problem and many of them even perceive a certain personal share of responsibility (consumer social responsibility). However, they often believe that they are unable to act in accordance with their own moral standards as they lack knowledge about production conditions. Supply chains are no longer transparent for consumers.
While in the past, consumers used to rely on brands and the country of origin as proxies for product quality and good production conditions, these cues now lose their inferential value, as supply chains nowadays usually span around the globe in multiple stages. So far, no study has analysed this issue in an integrative way from both, a normative and a descriptive perspective. Moreover, current research is mainly conducted from a Western perspective and thus may be biased in a Western ethnocentric way. Less is known about how consumers in Asian emerging countries evaluate and react to these issues. This research project aims to make contributions to fill these research gaps.