Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 153, Issue 3, pp 839–858 | Cite as

Translating Environmental Ideologies into Action: The Amplifying Role of Commitment to Beliefs

  • Matthew A. Maxwell-SmithEmail author
  • Paul J. Conway
  • Joshua D. Wright
  • James M. Olson
Original Paper


Consumers do not always follow their ideological beliefs about the need to engage in environmentally friendly (EF) consumption. We propose that Commitment to Beliefs (CTB)—the general tendency to follow one’s value-based beliefs—can help identify who is most likely to follow their environmental ideologies. We predicted that CTB would amplify the effect of beliefs prescribing environmental stewardship (e.g., new ecological paradigm), or neglect (e.g., economic system-justification), on corresponding intentions, behavior, and purchasing decisions. In two studies, CTB amplified the positive and negative effects of relevant EF ideologies on EF purchase decisions (Study 1), and consumption and conservation attitudes, intentions, as well as future behavior (Study 2). In each study, only people with higher levels of CTB demonstrated the most ideologically consistent consumption and conservation intentions and behavior. These findings clarify who is most likely to align their decisions and lifestyles according to their sustainable consumption ideologies. The amplification effect of CTB, and the CTB variable itself, present new contributions to consumer behavior research and the domains of sustainable or ethical consumption in particular and offer wide-ranging potential for marketing practitioners and researchers.


Green marketing Commitment to beliefs Environmental sustainability/conservation Political ideology System-justification New ecological paradigm 



Environmentally Friendly


Commitment to Beliefs


New Ecological Paradigm


Economic System-Justification


Theory of Planned Behavior


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew A. Maxwell-Smith
    • 1
    Email author
  • Paul J. Conway
    • 2
  • Joshua D. Wright
    • 3
  • James M. Olson
    • 3
  1. 1.DAN Management and Organizational StudiesWestern UniversityLondonCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyWestern UniversityLondonCanada

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