Document Type

Theses, Ph.D

Rights

This item is available under a Creative Commons License for non-commercial use only

Disciplines

Business and Management.

Publication Details

Successfully submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) to the Dublin Institute of Technology, May, 2011.

Abstract

Responding to the sustainability imperative has emerged as a key challenge and opportunity for businesses. Developing and marketing innovative ―green‖ products in particular can be a vital strategy for businesses to increase productivity, develop new markets, improve corporate image and ultimately attain competitive advantage. But despite consumer sensitisation towards environmental issues, many sustainable products face slow rates of diffusion in mainstream markets as consumers‘ green preferences regularly fail to translate into adoption behaviour. In this thesis we take a consumer resistance perspective to investigate empirically the so-called attitude–behaviour gap in the context of green product innovation. The aim of this thesis is to advance theoretically and empirically our understanding of consumer resistance, to identify consumers‘ motives for resisting green innovation and to highlight strategic implications for marketers and policy makers. The research was conducted in the context of microgeneration – innovative technologies that can be adopted by households to produce heat and electricity from renewable energy. Microgeneration technologies are green innovations, which have experienced slow rates of diffusion and thus provide a suitable context for this research. Two national consumer surveys (n = 1010; n = 1012) were conducted to investigate specifically three research issues including consumers‘ passive resistance (i.e. awareness), active resistance (i.e. postponement, rejection and opposition) and willingness to pay for microgeneration technologies. The theoretical contribution of this study is thus threefold. First, the findings contribute to innovation literature by highlighting the importance of passive resistance in the innovation adoption process and by stressing methodological implications for the design of adoption of innovation studies. Second, the thesis contributes to the resistance literature by developing, testing and validating a new measure of active resistance behaviours. The design of the measure was built on a recent conceptualisation by Kleijnen et al. (2009) and our scale is shown to be a robust measurement instrument that accounts for more variance in consumers‘ resistance behaviour than conventional measures such as intention to adopt or attitude towards adoption scales. Third, this dissertation contributes to a growing body of literature in the energy policy domain, which questions the predominant economic perspective and gravitates towards alternative explanations of human decision making to explain and encourage behavioural change. In conclusion, the analysis significantly fills the paucity of empirical research in the area of consumer resistance, shedding light on consumers‘ motives to resist green product innovation and providing strategic recommendations for innovation managers and policy makers.

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