Do Ethical Social Media Communities Pay Off? An Exploratory Study of the Ability of Facebook Ethical Communities to Strengthen Consumers' Ethical Consumption Behavior

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10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

It has been proposed that the social networking site Facebook is suitable for building communities and strengthening customer relationships, and also many organizations that promote ethical consumption have established online communities there. However, because of the newness of ethical online communities, little is known about the extent to which consumer participation in them produces positive outcomes. The present study aims at exploring such outcomes: first, we identify consumer-perceived benefits from ethical community participation, and second, we explore whether these benefits influence the activity promoted (in this case, ethical consumption), as well as consumer loyalty toward the ethical Facebook community. The results of an online survey of ethical community participants reveal that informational benefits reinforce consumers’ ethical consumption behavior. Social and entertainment benefits, in turn, have a positive influence on loyalty to the community. The present study further reveals that the consumers’ prior commitment to ethical consumption influences the perceived benefits: the affective commitment to ethical consumption has a positive, and the continuance commitment a negative influence on the benefits. Thus, the more consumers feel they engage in ethical consumption because of an emotional attachment, the higher the perceived benefits from online community participation are. The more consumers perceive that their ethical consumption is driven by lack of choice, the fewer the benefits. Overall, the perceived benefits were at a relatively low level, which is somewhat alarming and highlights the need to manage the communities more efficiently.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Business Ethics
Volume144
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)449-465
Number of pages17
ISSN0167-4544
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed

Keywords

  • 512 Business and Management
  • Marketing Effectiveness and Profitability
  • Customers and Relations
  • Business, Markets and Societal Dynamics

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