From Slum Tourism to Smiley Selfies: The Role of Social Identity Strength in the Consumption of Morally Ambiguous Experiences

39 Pages Posted: 28 Dec 2017 Last revised: 22 Jan 2018

See all articles by Julia von Schuckmann

Julia von Schuckmann

ESADE - Ramon Llull University

Lucia S. G. Barros

FGV-EAESP

Rodrigo S. Dias

Duke University

Eduardo B. Andrade

Imperial College Business School

Date Written: December 16, 2017

Abstract

Why do some consumers find a consumption activity appealing while others see it as morally appalling? A series of five experiments in two different morally ambiguous contexts shows that differences in social identity strength can in part explain discrepant reactions to the very same consumption experience. Consumers who identify weakly (vs. strongly) with the people most related to the consumption environment are less likely to question the experience on moral grounds. As a result, they are more likely to choose a morally ambiguous consumption experience or to act in a morally ambiguous manner. The impact of social identity strength on consumer preference vanishes when the consumption experience is morally neutral or when all consumers are prompted to judge the experience on moral grounds. Statistical analyses based on post-hoc justifications provide further evidence for the mediating role of moral considerations.

Keywords: morality, social identity, unethical consumption, moral sensitivity, moral consideration

JEL Classification: M31

Suggested Citation

von Schuckmann, Julia and S. G. Barros, Lucia and S. Dias, Rodrigo and Andrade, Eduardo B., From Slum Tourism to Smiley Selfies: The Role of Social Identity Strength in the Consumption of Morally Ambiguous Experiences (December 16, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3089033 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3089033

Julia Von Schuckmann

ESADE - Ramon Llull University ( email )

Avinguda de la Torre Blanca, 59
Sant Cugat de Valles, 08172
Spain

Rodrigo S. Dias

Duke University ( email )

Durham, NC 27701
United States
9196417698 (Phone)

Eduardo B. Andrade

Imperial College Business School ( email )

South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London SW7 2AZ, SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom

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