Governmental policies are encouraging companies to reduce the environmental impact of their packaging and particularly overpackaging, which raises a broad range of ethical considerations. However, experiments comparing an overpackaged product with a non-overpackaged product have shown that eliminating overpackaging may have a negative influence on brand image and consumer purchase intention. In this paper, we draw on attribution theory to examine the influence of the absence (vs. presence) of overpackaging on consumers’ response, depending on their environmental consciousness and the absence (vs. presence) of overpackaging on the competing product. An experiment conducted on 218 consumers demonstrates that non-overpackaging for a target product only adversely affects purchase intention among non-environmentally conscious consumers when competing products are overpackaged. These results lead to optimistic recommendations for marketing managers and public policy makers to help them solve the ethical dilemma linked to overpackaging.
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This study was funded by Movida research programme of French Ministry of Environment, Sustainable Development and Energy.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Human and Animal Rights
This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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Monnot, E., Reniou, F., Parguel, B. et al. “Thinking Outside the Packaging Box”: Should Brands Consider Store Shelf Context When Eliminating Overpackaging?. J Bus Ethics 154, 355–370 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-017-3439-0
- Consumer behavior
- Ethical dilemma
- Environmental consciousness
- Context effects