Understanding Ethical Consumers Through Person/Thing Orientation Approach

Hyemi Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Research reflects the importance of understanding the motivational variables of ethical consumer behavior. However, existing research has been limited to more narrowly construed factors that show an obvious link with ethics. Currently, empirical work on motivational factors relevant to orientations working across context is scarce. To address this gap, this project investigated ethical consumption from the perspective of person orientation (PO) and thing orientation (TO), both of which presumably motivate individual differences. For this purpose, three main studies were conducted by using correlational and experimental approaches to assess the relationships among PO, TO, and ethical consumer behavior. Across the three studies, the current research provides strong evidence for PO as a key driver of ethical consumption behavior. In contrast, the role of TO was inconsistent. Moderating effects of gender were also somewhat apparent. The findings suggest that individual orientations are important motivational variables for better understanding ethical consumers and that future researchers should further investigate PO/TO in this context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)637-658
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 10 Sep 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


  • Ecologically conscious consumer behavior
  • Ethical consumer behavior
  • Person orientation
  • Socially conscious consumer behavior
  • Thing orientation


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