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Sharing the Caring: Understanding Determinants and Consequences of Shared Social Responsibility
green product consumption
shared social responsibility
Family & Consumer Sciences
AdvisorHelm, Sabrina V.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractShared social responsibility (SSR) has been increasingly promoted in sustainability research. While conceptual development has been expanded, empirical developments are still in their infancy. Extant SSR literature acknowledges that entities like industry, governments, consumers, and others must accept responsibility for achieving a common goal. However, a basic understanding of how consumers view this responsibility in the shared setting is lacking. Since collaborative efforts towards sustainability may be strategically more effective than individual efforts, this research investigates SSR from the consumers' perspective in order to determine how responsibility is assigned to the various entities involved in a specific form of sustainability, "green" product consumption. Perceptions of responsibility may influence future sustainability-minded consumer behavior; hence, this research offers relevant contributions for understanding the shared social dynamic. Utilizing elements of attribution theory, equity theory, and diffusion of responsibility, this research examined how ability, perceived consumer effectiveness, perceptions of equity, and group size influence consumer attribution of responsibility for future "green" product consumption. Three experiments were conducted; the first two used an online scenario-based approach while the third was administered primarily at the University of Arizona. Data was analyzed using various statistical techniques, including multivariate analysis of variance to address the study hypotheses. Results established that consumers share responsibility for future "green" product consumption with corporations, government, and other consumers - but this responsibility is not shared evenly. Under most of the conditions evaluated, corporations, and government to a lesser degree, were attributed significantly more responsibility than consumers assigned themselves. The amount of effort required to use a "green" product, ability to positively change the environment, and equity of an interaction between a consumer and a manufacturer did not affect consumer attribution of responsibility. Group size had some impact, such that consumers who were not made explicitly aware of being in a group and those interacting with one other entity evenly shared responsibility for future "green" product consumption with the others involved. Consumers in larger groups assigned more responsibility to corporations than to themselves. Social loafing was determined not to be a factor in how consumers assigned responsibility in groups of various sizes.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Family & Consumer Sciences