Consumer (in)vulnerability is studied via a quasi-ethnographic longitudinal study of adolescents aged 11–15. The study focuses on how adolescents define their vulnerabilities within their adolescent consumption subcultures, the factors enhancing this vulnerability, and the social actors involved in their experience of vulnerability. The findings contribute to consumer vulnerability literature in three ways. First, by adopting an adolescent-centric approach based on an emic perspective, we go beyond the monolithic approach of studying one source of vulnerability at a time seen in present marketing literature. Instead, we introduce a polyadic or multiple simultaneous approaches that can consider risk sources. Second, the findings show that adolescents’ perceptions of consumer vulnerability are anchored within their consumption subcultures. This study introduces the concept that young consumers experience vulnerability in multiple ways, including imposed by adults or by adolescents deliberately engaging in risky behaviors. Third, this research provides ethics policy-makers and scholars with the conceptual framework of adolescent-centric vulnerability, which can help them to develop actions based on both imposed and deliberate sources of vulnerability from the perception of the adolescent.
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Travel between the faculty’s institutions was funded by a Grant from Baylor University.
Conflict of interest
The authors declares that they have no conflict of interest.
Humans were involved, and all procedures performed in studies involving human participants were completed 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. Regarding our field and the characteristics of the minor participants involved in this research, we followed the ERIC (Ethical Research Involving Children) guidance developed by UNICEF in 2013 and adapted it to our field activities.
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Batat, W., Tanner, J.F. Unveiling (In)Vulnerability in an Adolescent’s Consumption Subculture: A Framework to Understand Adolescents’ Experienced (In)Vulnerability and Ethical Implications. J Bus Ethics 169, 713–730 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-019-04309-2