Dissertation: Cultural values influence consumers' decisions to buy environmentally friendly ...

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Cultural values significantly influence the motivation to buy environmentally friendly products. For example, Finns buy organic food because its high price is a guarantee of quality, while Pakistanis buy it for good taste.
Saleem ur Rahman väittelee Vaasan yliopistossa markkinoinnin alalta perjantaina 13. joulukuuta.

– There is an emerging recognition of the importance of consumers’ sustainable consumption motives within sustainable development debates, says Saleem ur Rahman, who will defend his doctoral dissertation at the University of Vaasa on 13th December.

In his dissertation, Rahman has used various quantitative methods to investigate both Finnish and Pakistani consumers and their perceptions regarding, for example, green home appliances and organic food purchasing motives. He also studied the influence of consumers’ regulatory focus and environmental responsibility on their purchase intentions of environmentally friendly products.

Rahman’s study reveals how individualistic and collectivist culture shape consumers' reasons to choose environmentally friendly products. For example, in a collectivist culture, sustainable consumption is inspired by different motives than in an individualist one.

Finnish consumers are horizontal individualistic. Cultural values such as being unique and self-reliant motivate them to choose environmentally friendly products. Vertical collectivism, for its part, depicts Pakistani consumers: Status and submission oriented values encourage them to buy environmentally friendly products.

Finns chose organic food because they believe that, high prices of these products indicate their good quality, these products are environmentally friendly, and that purchasing of organic food products supports local agriculture. The Pakistani people, on the other hand, chose organic food for taste, environmental friendliness and healthiness reasons.

In horizontally individualist culture, For example, the study found that Finns buy environmentally friendly products because they help in achieving gains like a healthy life, an ideal state of mind, satisfaction, and aspirations. However, Pakistani consumers may buy these products to prevent problems caused by environmental damage, pollution, and because of their consumption patterns.

Environmental responsibility is important for both Finnish and Pakistani consumers. They want to solve environmental problems by changing their lifestyle and buying more environmentally friendly products.

Companies should tailor culturally congruent green marketing strategies

According to Rahman, companies should not ignore the importance of cultural sustainable consumption motives of consumers, in developing effective sustainability-marketing strategies. In Finland, horizontal individualistic, and in Pakistan vertical collectivistic oriented sustainability marketing strategies may be a prerequisite to promote environmental friendly products.

For example, when marketing organic food in Finland, justifying the price as a guarantee of good quality, and help local agriculture, whereas in Pakistan, promoting organic food that, it tastes good, it is healthy and gives life satisfaction to family can be an effective advertising strategy.

– In both countries, marketers may convince consumers that it is easy to be green. Moreover, using environmental and ethical advertising appeals influencing consumers’ willingness to buy environmentally friendly products can be more persuasive, Rahman says.

Public defence

The public examination of M.Sc. Saleem ur Rahman’s doctoral dissertationToward a greener globe: In the pursuit of culturally embedded pathways to sustainable consumption” will be held on Friday 13th December at noon in auditorium Kurtén (University of Vaasa). The field of the dissertation is Marketing.

Associate Professor Anssi Tarkiainen (Lappeenranta University of Technology) will act as opponent and Professor Harri Luomala as custos. The examination will be held in English.

Further information

Saleem ur Rahman, tel. +358 400 728489, email: saleem.rahman(at)uwasa.fi, imsaleemur(at)gmail.com

Rahman, Saleem ur (2019) Toward a greener globe: In the pursuit of culturally embedded pathways to sustainable consumption. Acta Wasaensia 435. Doctoral dissertation. University of Vaasa. Vaasan yliopisto.

Publication pdf: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-476-892-4

Saleem ur Rahman was born in 1984 in Bannu, Pakistan. He received a Master’s degree in Marketing in 2012 from Iqra University of Pakistan. Before his doctoral studies at the University of Vaasa, he worked as a computer and information technology teacher, students’ coordinator and as a marketing engineer. He currently lives in Vaasa, Finland.


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