Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 110, Issue 1, pp 15–32

Articulating the Meanings of Collective Experiences of Ethical Consumption

  • Eleni Papaoikonomou
  • Mireia Valverde
  • Gerard Ryan


In the context of the growing popularity of the ethical consumer movement and the appearance of different types of ethical collective communities, the current article explores the meanings drawn from the participation in Responsible Consumption Cooperatives. In existing research, the overriding focus has been on examining individual ethical consumer behaviour at the expense of advancing our understanding of how ethical consumers behave collectively. Hence, this article examines the meanings derived from participating in ethical consumer groups. A qualitative multi-method approach is adopted to increase the validity of findings. This includes focus groups, in-depth interviews, observation and document analysis. Results show that ethical consumption in a group project offers a greater sense of effectiveness and control when compared to individual actions. Furthermore, these groups facilitate the creation of a social circle and encourage new learning as a result of the social interaction that takes place in the ethical community of the cooperative.


Collective consumption Consumer empowerment Cooperatives Ethical consumption Ethical space Meanings of consumption Responsible consumption 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eleni Papaoikonomou
    • 1
  • Mireia Valverde
    • 1
  • Gerard Ryan
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Business ManagementUniversitat Rovira i VirgiliReusSpain

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