The role of social identity in green consumer behavior

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School of Business | Bachelor's thesis
Degree programme
(Mikkeli) Bachelor’s Program in International Business
72 + 4
Objectives The main objectives of this study were to contribute to limited literature regarding factors that contribute to green consumer behavior in younger-aged consumers from a social identity perspective. This study also aimed to contribute to methods to help bridge an existing attitude-behavior gap that exists within green consumer behavior. The results of this study add to the knowledge and understanding of the influence of social identity in consumer behavior and how to more effectively encourage green consumer behavior. Summary One-on-one interviews were conducted to divulge a deeper understanding of consumer perspectives about the influence of peers on green consumption. The sample for the interviews was divided among two location groups: young consumers in California, USA and young consumers in Finland. The focus of this study was on three elements that result from social identity: social group norms, social learning, and susceptibility to peer comparison. These elements were all considered within the context of green consumer behavior and their individual and combined role in promoting it. Conclusions The findings of the study convey that social identity is a strong influencer of green consumer behavior. Overwhelmingly, the participants of the interviews indicated some level of pressure from their social group to perform green consumption. The basis for this influence appeared to stem from the establishment of social group norms surrounding green consumer behavior, which exerted either extrinsic or intrinsic motivations. As such, the existence of green group norms gave way to opportunities for social learning and peer comparison influence within green consumer behavior. These findings are particularly valuable in understanding what contributes to green consumer behavior and how to more effectively promote consumption in green business.
Thesis advisor
Charles, Mirjaliisa
Green consumer behavior, social identity, social norms, social learning, peer comparison, attitude-behavior gap
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