The impact of involvement, certainty, values, and social norms on consumer attitudes and intentions.
Some of the key factors that influence involvement include norms, uncertainty, values and social norms. These same factors may also influence consumer’s attitude and intentions to purchase. Most consumer are more likely to become involved with a products based on the social norms, societal perception about the product, the values attached to the product and or the uncertainty associated with the products such as season ability. Based on Reno, Cialdini, and Kallgren (1993, pp. 104-12) these same values that influence involvement also influences the consumer’s attitudes as well as their intention. Consumption which is an element of involvement has for long been associated with involvement. Just them same way that purchase intention is significantly correlated with the consumer’s involvement. Consumers are willing to go to any length to get the products they desire if they feel that the product will meet their desires and goals. Therefore, involvement significantly influences consumer attitudes and purchase intentions (Vermeir, & Verbeke, 2006, pp. 169–194).
Secondly, certainty and uncertainty influences consumer attitudes and intentions. For example, consumers are likely to value seasonal products than the non seasonal products as the non seasonal products are not associated with uncertainty. This is why the involvement with sustainable products is relatively low as should have been because the consumers believe that the products will always be available to them finally. On the other hand, Terry, Hogg, &, White (2000b, pp. 67-94) argues that values and social norms also influence consumer attitudes and intentions and the consumers seek social acceptance otherwise the society’s reaction may not be favorable. Social norms can either be descriptive or prescriptive. Descriptive social norms tend to significantly affect consumer behaviors but the effect of the social norms on consumer attitudes is very low.
The overall influences of the social norms on the attitudes and intention is mainly dependent on the overall correctness of the products with the desired behaviors. Social norms may be more influential on the consumer behaviors depending on the consumer’s involvement. In conclusion, I agree with the author argument that “. Involvement with sustainability, certainty, and PCE have a significant positive impact on attitude towards buying sustainable dairy products, which in turn correlates strongly with intention to buy. Low perceived availability of sustainable products explains why intentions to buy remain low, although attitudes might be positive” (Vermeir, & Verbeke, 2008, pp. 542–553).
Analysis of the suggestions for stimulating more sustainable and ethical food consumption
To stimulator more sustainable and ethical food consumption, it is important to understand the influence of awareness and recognitions. The more environmentally aware consumers are likely to get more involved with the sustainable and environment friendly products than the less aware consumers. In the same way, social and environmentally aware behaviors can be influenced by social awareness, and education. Social awareness can help improve the perceived consumer effectiveness (PCE) as the socially aware consumers come to understand the importance of their efforts in solving the social problems. In conclusion, in order to stimulate sustainable and ethical food consumption social awareness should be given priority especially social education. Social awareness will therefore influence recognition of the ethical and social issues, ethical judgment and decision making, and pursuit of ethical actions
Comparison of findings
According to Vermeir, & Verbeke, (2006, pp. 169–194), Consumer’s ethical identity influences consumer’s ethically conscious behavior. While this is true, it is still difficult to determine if the same can be said about other products such as plastic bags and non renewable energy. The current research mainly focuses on food consumption, but poorly generalized the entire sustainable product. On the other hand, Zander, & Hamm, (2010, pp. 95–503) argues that there are a number of other extenuating factors that can also influence ethically conscious behaviors. For example, Fishbein, (1967, pp. 477-92) stated factors such as social norms and acceptance, peer pressure and disposable income.
Zander, K., and Hamm, U. (2010). ‘Consumer preferences for additional ethical attributes of organic food’. Food Quality and Preference, 21(5), 495–503.
Vermeir, I., and Verbeke, W. (2008). ‘Sustainable food consumption among young adults in Belgium: Theory of planned behavior and the role of confidence and values’. Ecological Economics, 64(3), 542–553.
Reno, R., Cialdini B., and Carl A. Kallgren (1993), “The Transsituational Influence of Social Norms,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64 (1), 104-12.
Vermeir, I. & Verbeke, W. (2006) ‘Sustainable food consumption: exploring the consumer “attitude – behavioral intention” gap’. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 19 (2), pp. 169–194
Fishbein, Martin (1967), “Attitude and the Prediction of Behavior,” in Readings in Attitude Theory and Measurement, ed. Martin Fishbein, New York: Wiley, 477-92.
Terry, J., Hogg M, and, White C. (2000b), “Attitude-Behavior Relations: Social Identity and Group Membership ” in Attitudes, Behavior, and Social Context: The Role of Norms and Group Membership, ed. Deborah J. Terry and Michael A. Hogg, London: Lawrence Erlbaum 67-94.