Exploring Korean Consumers' Attitudes Toward Ethical Consumption Behavior in the Light of Affect and Cognition

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Attitudes are known to be one of the influential factors of ethical consumption behavior. However, attitudes have not yet fully proven their utility in predicting ethical consumer behaviors. The attitude-behavior gap in the area of ethical consumption may be related to a lack of understanding in the underlying structure of attitudes, which are composed of two attitudinal properties: affect and cognition. To address these concerns, this study explored 581 Korean respondents' overall attitudes, affect, cognition, and their relationship with the corresponding behaviors on four ethical consumption issues: purchasing energy-saving products; purchasing organic foods; purchasing recycled products; and participating in boycotts through a survey analysis. In detail, we assessed which attitudinal bases of either affect or cognition were better at predicting the overall attitudes toward ethical consumption and the corresponding behaviors. The results indicated that while respondents held positive attitudes toward the four ethical consumption issues, their attitudes toward them were more based on cognition rather than affect. Furthermore, the self-reported frequencies of the corresponding behaviors were also more influenced by cognition rather than affect. This research suggested the potential to improve the consistency between attitudes and behaviors by highlighting the underlying bases of attitudes–affect and cognition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-114
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of International Consumer Marketing
Issue number2
StatePublished - 15 Mar 2018

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© 2018, © 2018 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Ethical consumption
  • Korean consumers'
  • affect
  • attitudes
  • attitudinal bases
  • cognition


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