Journal of Business Ethics 168 (2):295-313 (2021)

Literature on consumers’ ethical decision making is rooted in a rationalist perspective that emphasizes the role of moral reasoning. However, the view of ethical consumption as a thorough rational and conscious process fails to capture important elements of human cognition, such as emotions and intuitions. Based on moral psychology and microsociology, this paper proposes a holistic and integrated framework showing how emotive and intuitive information processing may foster ethical consumption at individual and social levels. The model builds on social intuitionism to show how consumers’ a priori affect-laden intuitive moral judgments impact their post hoc reflective moral reasoning. Symbolic interactionism is used to interpret consumers as interdependent and socially embedded agents that self-construct their social identity through interactions with other consumers. The proposed social intuitionist framework of consumers’ ethical decision making shows that other-oriented moral emotions—such as elevation, gratitude, and empathy—interact with persuasion and social influence in ethical consumption. Consequently, moral emotions and intuition drive interpersonal persuasion among ethical consumers. Theoretical propositions and implications for consumer ethics theory and practice are discussed.
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-019-04420-4
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Ethical Decision-Making Theory: An Integrated Approach.Mark S. Schwartz - 2016 - Journal of Business Ethics 139 (4):755-776.

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