As human consumption is one of the key contributors to environmental problems, it is increasingly urgent to promote sustainable consumption. Drawing on the agentic-communal model of power, this research explores how the psychological feeling of power influences consumers’ preference for green products. We show that low power increases consumers’ preference for green (vs. conventional) products compared to high power (Studies 1a and 1b). Importantly, we identify two factors moderating the main effect of power on green consumption. Specifically, we find that the effect of power on green consumption is more salient among those with high green consumption values (Study 2). In addition, the effects of power are dynamic as a function of power distance belief (PDB), such that low power (vs. high power) promotes green consumption in the low-PDB context while high power (vs. low power) promotes green consumption in the high-PDB context (Study 3). Taken together, these findings provide novel insights into understanding green consumption from the perspectives of social power, green values, and PDB. Besides contributing to the literature, the findings have significant implications for marketers and policy-makers in promoting green campaigns, bridging the attitude-behavior gap, and building a more sustainable society.
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Following a reviewer’s suggestion, we tested the interaction effect of power and environmental consciousness (NEP scale) on purchase intention. Results showed that the interaction effect was not significant (b = − .18, p = .27).
Following a reviewer’s suggestion, we tested for discriminant validity between environmental consciousness (NEP scale) and GREEN values by conducting an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and calculating the average variance extracted (AVE) for both constructs. Results showed that while GREEN values (α = .93) and NEP (α = .87) were moderately correlated (r = .42), the AVE of GREEN values (AVE = .71) and NEP (AVE = .40) exceeded their shared variance (squared correlation = .178), indicating that the two constructs were distinct.
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This study was funded by the research incentive grant (1764979) awarded to Hean Tat Keh by Monash University, and the research grant (2210209) awarded to Li Yan by the University of Technology Sydney. Part of this research was conducted at the Monash Business Behavioral Laboratory.
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Appendix: Product Stimuli for Studies 1b and 3
Appendix: Product Stimuli for Studies 1b and 3
Study 1b: hand wash
Study 3: all-purpose cleaner (adapted from Haws et al. 2014)
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Yan, L., Keh, H.T. & Wang, X. Powering Sustainable Consumption: The Roles of Green Consumption Values and Power Distance Belief. J Bus Ethics 169, 499–516 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-019-04295-5
- Social power
- Sustainable consumption
- Green products
- Power distance belief