Why and when do consumers perform green behaviors? An examination of regulatory focus and ethical ideology

Lili Wenli Zou, Yee Kwong Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


This research builds upon Hunt and Vitell's ethical decision-making model to examine consumers' engagement in green behaviors. Using survey data collected from Hong Kong and the United States and with structural equation modelling and bootstrap analyses, it shows that consumers' prevention focus and promotion focus positively affect their ethical idealism (βHK,US= 0.29, 0.19) and relativism (βHK,US= 0.15, 0.21), respectively. Furthermore, idealism positively influences consumers' corresponding ethical judgments (βHK,US= 0.18, 0.31) and decisions, and this influence is higher when the focal green behavior is high in moral intensity (βHK,US= 0.13, 0.12). Contrarily, ethical relativism has a negative impact on the same judgments (βHK,US= −0.11, −0.10) and decisions, and this impact is stronger when consumers' attention to social comparison information is low (βHK,US= 0.10, 0.11). This research contributes to the literature on green behaviors, regulatory focus and consumer ethics, and offers practical insights into promoting green behaviors among consumers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-127
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Business Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Consumer ethics
  • Ethical ideology
  • Green behavior
  • Regulatory focus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing

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