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Theory of Virtue Ethics: Do Consumers’ Good Traits Predict Their Socially Responsible Consumption?

Abstract

Drawing upon the theory of virtue ethics, this study builds a decision tree predictive model to explore the anticipated impact of good traits (i.e., virtuous and personality traits) on socially responsible consumption. Using R statistical software, we generate a classification tree and cross-validate the model on two independent datasets. The results indicate that the virtuous traits of self-efficacy, courage, and self-control, as well as the personality traits of openness and conscientiousness, predict socially responsible purchase and disposal behavior. Remarkably, the largest segment of socially responsible consumers in the study (41 %) scored high in self-efficacy and openness. This result suggests that marketers should focus on these good traits when creating advertisements to encourage sustainable consumption. Our study contributes to enhancing knowledge about the social and psychological aspects of the sustainability movement and provides a new analytical approach to predicting socially responsible consumption.

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Abbreviations

SRC:

Socially responsible consumer

SRPD:

Socially responsible purchase and disposal behavior

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Song, S.Y., Kim, YK. Theory of Virtue Ethics: Do Consumers’ Good Traits Predict Their Socially Responsible Consumption?. J Bus Ethics 152, 1159–1175 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-016-3331-3

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Keywords

  • Good traits
  • Personality traits
  • Socially responsible consumer
  • Sustainability
  • Theory of virtue ethics
  • Virtuous traits