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How Understanding Consumer Mindsets Can Contribute to Sustainable Consumption:

The influence of the Fresh Start Mindset on the behavioral transformation towards pro-environmental fashion consumption and the moderating effects of sub-goal

achievement and goal commitment

Jip Imke Pauline de Rivecourt Student number: 13422154

Master’s Thesis University of Amsterdam MSc. in Business and Administration

Consumer Marketing Track Supervisor: Hsin-Hsuan Meg Lee EBEC approval number: 20220107050119

Date: 26-01-2022

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Statement of Originality

This document is written by Jip Imke Pauline de Rivecourt who declares to take full responsibility for the content of this document.

I declare that the text and the work presented in this document is original and that no sources other than those mentioned in the text and its references have been used in creating it.

The Faculty of Economics and Business is responsible solely for the supervision of completion of the work, not for the contents.

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Table of Contents

Abstract ... 4

Introduction ... 5

Literature Review ... 9

Sustainable Consumption ... 9

Consumer Mindsets and Sustainable Consumption ... 11

Goal Progress and Goal Commitment ... 17

Methodology ... 21

Research Setting ... 21

Research Design ... 22

Research Procedure ... 23

Measurements ... 25

Participants... 26

Data Analysis ... 27

Results ... 30

Validation Analysis: Sustainable Consumption Behavior... 35

Discussion ... 38

The Fresh Start Mindset and Sustainable Consumption Behavior ... 39

The Fresh Start Mindset and Sub-Goal Achievement of Sustainable Consumption ... 40

The Fresh Start Mindset and Goal Commitment towards Sustainable Consumption ... 41

Limitations and Future Research ... 44

Conclusion ... 47

References ... 50

Appendix A ... 55

Survey 1 ... 55

Survey 2 ... 58

Survey 3 ... 62

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Abstract

This article explores the influence of the Fresh Start Mindset on sustainable consumption behavior in the fashion industry, and the moderating effects of sub-goal achievement information cues (to-date vs. to-go) and goal commitment. The Fresh Start Mindset (FSM) – conceptualized as the belief in self that sailing a new course is always possible regardless of the circumstances, has only recently been introduced to the academic field (Price et al., 2018). This study aimed to further explore actual behavior on how people with a strong FSM can be motivated to transform their routines towards more sustainable consumption. Through a longitudinal self-reported survey design with a half-way experiment (n = 89) a significant positive relationship could be established between the FSM and actual sustainable consumption behavior. Additionally, it was found that people with a strong FSM can be motivated towards more sustainable consumption by emphasizing the road that can still be travelled towards improvement (to-go progress information cues). The surprising result of to-date progress cues showing a decrease in sustainable consumption behavior demands future studies to further examine this effect. Lastly, the insignificant effect of goal commitment on this moderated relationship should be further explored with a valid and reliable measurement method, to fill the gap in transformational behavior literature that this study could not bridge. Nonetheless, this article adds to the current literature on transformative consumer research and the effect of consumer mindsets in sustainable consumption, by investigating the latest dimension of consumer mindsets: the Fresh Start Mindset.

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Introduction

The global retail industry, valued at 3000 Billion dollars and accounting for 2% of the world’s GDP, is being increasingly dominated by fast fashion production and consumption, through selling large quantities of cheap clothing produced in low- and middle-income countries with inhuman working conditions (Bick et al., 2018; Clark, 2008; Fashion United, 2021). Fast fashion is creating a serious environmental crisis, as it speeds up fashion trends, shortens fashion seasons, and discourages recycling textiles because of its low resale value and poor quality, leading to a yearly clothing spillage of 400 Billion dollars and 2/3rd of the global retail production being buried in landfills (Wicker, 2016; Reichart & Drew, 2019). The environmental consequences of both synthetic and natural buried textiles are extremely worrying, as it takes about 200 years for the synthetic fibers to break down. In addition, biodegradable fibers release methane and carbon dioxide, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions (Degenstein et al., 2020;

ABC News, 2017). A substantial environmental footprint is additionally generated by water pollution from micro-plastic and micro-textile waste (Shirvanimoghaddam et al., 2020). To fight the deterioration of the environment and promote a sustainable economy, it is vital to change traditional consumption and transform consumer behavior into the direction of a sustainable economy. The motivational factors toward sustainable consumption and contributors to pro-environmental behavior therefore need to be explored (Chekima et al., 2016;

Shirvanimoghaddam et al., 2020).

Although consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the aforementioned environmental issues and are investing more in both quality and integrity within the retail industry, factors such as lack of familiarity and perceived value are forming barriers to sustainable fashion consumption (Stahel, 2016; Diddi et al., 2019). The discrepancy between environmental awareness and action presents an important opportunity for research, as it could provide insights into how psychological factors stimulate pro-environmental behavior and

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potentially bridge this intention-behavior gap in sustainable consumption (Duchi et al., 2020;

Nguyen et al., 2018). Previous studies emphasize the limitation of social desirability bias, as most research on this gap measures predicted behavior through self-reported surveys (Mathur et al., 2014; Strizhakova et al., 2021). Adding to this, the ambiguousness of the results of these studies regarding the influence of consumer mindsets on sustainable consumption behavior clearly presents a demand for further research (Mathur et al., 2014; Soliman & Wilson, 2017;

Sun et al., 2020; Pater et al., 2017). In order to increase damage control and establish a circular economy it is thus extremely relevant to discover how consumer mindsets have an impact on actual sustainable consumption behavior and intention of environmental commitment (Devezer et al., 2014).

Dweck (1999) states that people can be divided into fixed and growth mindsets, implying a respective focus on performance and learning goals (Murphy & Dweck, 2016).

Although its theory forms a strong basis in the consumer mindset literature, Rucker and Galinsky (2016) encourage further exploration of the various dimensions of mindsets, as behavioral science has taught us that consumers’ beliefs and mindsets need to be understood when striving for behavioral change (Charm et al., 2020). Stemming from the growth mindset, Price et al. (2018) consequently introduced the Fresh Start Mindset (FSM), conceptualized as

“the belief in self that sailing a new course is always possible, regardless of the circumstances”.

Since the FSM stimulates self-transformational behavior through variety-seeking consumption practices, it poses the perfect opportunity to discover how such a mindset could increase sustainable consumption (Price et al., 2018; Strizhakova et al., 2021). This is especially relevant as the concept of the FSM has only recently been introduced to the academic field, thus demanding for future research to apply the concept in different contexts, cultures, and settings (Strizhakova et al., 2020). Strizhakova et al. (2021) therefore encourage researchers to further

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examine consumer transformation initiatives appointed towards environmentally-friendly behavior.

Understanding consumer mindsets is an important first step in pursuing a transformation towards more sustainable consumption behavior. However, to actually bridge the intention- behavior gap, it is pertinent to investigate how behavior-change interventions with altered environmental conditions could stimulate breaking unsustainable consumption habits and establishing more environmentally-friendly ones (Verplanken & Wood, 2006; Newson et al., 2013). Previous literature found that the framing of sub-goal achievement has important implications for end-goal motivation depending on people’s mindsets (Koo & Fishbach, 2014).

This provides an interesting opportunity for research on behavior-change interventions, considering how environmental conditions around sub-goal achievement can be altered for end- goal motivation to increase. Additionally, the moderating effect of goal commitment is measured in this study, as Devezer et al. (2014) state that demotivation should not occur when goal commitment is high, acting as a buffer against demotivating effects.

This research contributes to transformational behavioral science literature by being the first in conducting research on the FSM and its impact on sustainable consumption behavior, and the moderating effects of sub-goal achievement and goal commitment. These effects were measured through a prospective longitudinal self-reported survey design with a half-way experiment, testing the impact of the two sub-goal achievement conditions. The research combines previous findings on the impact of consumer mindsets on sustainable consumption, and the effects of sub-goal achievement and goal commitment on motivation towards higher- order end-goals. It is conducted within the context of the fashion industry, which is especially relevant since sustainable fashion is a highly under-investigated topic within the general studies on sustainable consumption (Tey et al., 2018). Encouraging a circular economy has the

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potential to yield extremely positive results for people, business, and planet (Wijman &

Skanberg, 2017).

Consequently, this study aims to address the following research question: “How does the fresh start mindset influence the transformation towards more sustainable consumption behavior in the fashion industry, and how is this relationship affected by sub-goal achievement and goal commitment?”

By answering this question, the research will gain insights into how people with a strong FSM can be motivated to transform their consumption routines towards more environmentally- friendly fashion consumption behavior. In a practical context this is highly relevant to marketers and public policy makers, as taking such information into account can increase the effectiveness of campaigns around sustainable consumption by adapting the communication accordingly.

Lastly, by looking at the impact of sub-goal achievement and goal commitment, new theoretical insights on how to bridge the intention-behavior gap will be provided (Diddi et al., 2019;

Nguyen et al., 2018).

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Literature Review

Many researchers have conducted studies in the fields of consumer mindsets and consumption behavior. However, a combination of the two has only recently been introduced to the field of consumer research (Murphy & Dweck, 2016), which has presented new insights into the reasoning for consumers to make certain purchase decisions. The purpose of this study is to extend previous theories on consumer mindsets and consumption behavior, and therewith focus on the behavioral transformation towards more sustainable consumption.

Sustainable Consumption

Sustainability has become an increasingly important topic over the past years – perhaps even decades. Countries, states, companies, and consumers are becoming more aware of the effect they have on the environment they live in. Sustainable development – referring to satisfaction of the present generation’s needs without compromising the future generation’s needs – has been found necessary to preserve this environment (Ghose & Chandra, 2020). On a consumerism level, this means changing individual behavior towards more sustainable consumption. Such behavior is defined as the socially beneficial and environmentally benign use of a product over its entire life cycle (Azapagic, 2021) – and long-term environmental commitment (Devezer et al., 2014).

The slow fashion movement of ethical consumerism seeks to change the traditional modes of production and consumption towards sustainable consumption, demanding that goods do not harm the environment and the people concerned with the production process (Pookulangara & Shephard, 2013; Legere & Kang, 2020). An alternative to this traditional economy is a ‘circular economy’, in which resources are kept in a loop as long as possible, repurposing them throughout users and maintaining their value during usage

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(Shirvanimoghaddam et al., 2020). However, for this to work, it is vital to increase awareness around the importance of consuming durable and green products that are environmentally friendly. These products should be unharmful to the environment, safe for human consumption, and energy efficient – this also emphasizes reduction of (new) materials and recycling (Ghose

& Chandra, 2020).

Stahel (2016) describes recycling as the opposite of newness and explains that it is consequently often considered as undesirable or not resourceful. Changing such economic logic can be a challenge, however turning production into sufficiency and shifting towards a ‘circular economy’ would have the beneficial result of a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by up to 70% and simultaneously an expansion of the workforce by around 4% (Wijkman & Skanberg, 2017). People are central to this circular-economy business model in the three dimensions of economic, environmental, and social sustainability, as they need to take ownership in becoming the users and creators of such behavior (Korhonen et al., 2018). Unfortunately, even though consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental issues and the importance of a circular economy, an intention-behavior gap continues to exist (Nguyen et al, 2018). This gap has been explored by various studies, finding that factors such as a lack of familiarity, fear of the unknown, budget constraints, and perceived value are forming key barriers in making the shift (Stahel, 2016; Diddi et al., 2019). Additionally, as Stahel (2016) mentioned, remanufactured or recycled products are considered unattractive, and thus the stiff transition from old to new patterns of behavior is directly influenced by consumers’ attitudes and mindsets (Hazen et al., 2017). Particularly within the fashion industry, consumption is often influenced by the desire to express one’s identity, where being ‘fashionable’ usually serves this purpose better than being sustainable or ethical (McNeill & Moore, 2015).

The literature describes that although the environmental awareness and even willingness to change is present amongst consumers, the image around recycling and thus acting

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environmentally conscious is causing a gap between desired and actual behavior. This discrepancy presents an interesting opportunity for research, since behavioral science has taught us that to drive behavioral change, consumers’ beliefs and mindsets first need to be understood (Charm et al., 2020). To be able to increase environmental damage control it is therefore highly relevant to discover how consumer mindsets have an impact on pro-environmental behavior (Duchi et al., 2020).

Consumer Mindsets and Sustainable Consumption

Consumer motivations are shaped by the mindset of the consumer, which includes their beliefs about the nature of human characteristics (Murphy & Dweck, 2016). In consumer behavior these mindsets are relevant to understand, in view of the fact that they explain what kinds of products or services consumers are drawn to. Dweck (1999) divides these mindsets into fixed and growth mindsets, meaning that consumers either believe in human traits (people are who they are) or that they can substantially change by gaining experience and putting in effort.

Mathur et al. (2016) define these groups as entity theorists (fixed mindset) and incremental theorists (growth mindset), stating that both groups aim for self-enhancement, however doing so differently.

Fixed Mindsets

People with a fixed mindset focus on displaying positive human traits, towards others as well as oneself. Since they believe that human traits cannot be changed, they will put forth a great deal of effort to ‘prove’ that they own these characteristics and are successful. Consequently, they are oriented towards performance goals, meaning that their primary goal is to show their worth and competence and improve their (self-)image and/or ego. Especially when reaching

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this performance goal is an effortless activity, it feels most rewarding to them as this implies a high level of competence. (Murphy & Dweck, 2016)

Relating a fixed mindset to sustainable consumption behavior, different views have been established on the results. Mathur et al. (2014) predicted a fixed mindset could lead to an increase in sustainable consumption behavior, since these individuals might feel they can signal their engagement in prosocial behavior to others as well as themselves and feel that they are good citizens. However, Soliman and Wilson (2017) studied the actual behavior of people with fixed mindsets within an environmental context and found a negative relationship between entity beliefs and engaging in pro-environmental behavior. This effect can be explained by the fact that people with a fixed mindset believe that human traits cannot be changed, and therefore remain skeptical about the possibility of changing human behavior for the better in a general context. To conclude, they suggest that a fixed mindset can form an important psychological barrier to environmental action.

Furthermore, Sun et al. (2020) studied the effect of fixed mindsets on engagement in conspicuous consumption, which refers to the consumption of goods that show off their wealth and social status. They found that fixed mindset consumers indeed tend to have a performance goal orientation by demonstrating luxury and expensive goods with well-known brands.

Unfortunately, one of the last reasons for choosing sustainable products is related to brand, meaning that consumers do not feel they can express their status through sustainable consumption (Pater et al., 2017). This confirms the theory of McNeill & Moore (2015), stating that sustainable products do not serve the purpose of expressing a high degree of wealth or social status.

In summary, the efforts of several studies with different results present dubious interpretations on how fixed mindsets influence sustainable consumption. However, most of

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the theories point towards the conclusion that a fixed (vs. growth) mindset relates negatively to sustainable consumption behavior.

Growth Mindsets

People with a growth (vs. fixed) mindset focus on learning rather than performing through practice and persistence, as they feel that high effort indicates development – you cannot learn out of your comfort zone. In this mindset, failing is also perceived as part of the process of improvement towards their learning goal, and reflection will help them not to make the same mistakes again. To them, putting in a lot of effort means taking that step out of their comfort zones and realizing their full potential (Murphy & Dweck, 2016). When desiring to drive behavioral change, their attention should be directed towards how this change will help them improve and allow them to signal values of growth and learning.

Duchi et al. (2020) conducted a study that explored how a growth mindset could motivate pro-environmental behavior and found that indeed growth mindsets were positively related to more accepting attitudes towards climate change after reading an illustrative and persuasive text on this topic. Soliman and Wilson (2017) confirm this theory by stating that growth mindset individuals have a malleable view on the world and consequently have more faith in the potential of pro-environmental behavioral change. This shows that the mindset of a consumer has significant implications for psychological barriers to environmental action, however still leaves room for research on the different dimensions of (pro-environmental) change involved in this topic (Duchi et al., 2020).

The Fresh Start Mindset (FSM)

Rucker and Galinsky (2016) respond to Murphy and Dweck’s (2016) article by stating that the authors indeed make a compelling argument. However, they believe that mindsets extend far

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beyond solely fixed or growth divisions and encourage other researchers to continue studying the many dimensions of mindset. Price et al. (2018) build upon Dweck’s mindset theory and indirectly respond to Rucker and Galinsky’s raised question by introducing the ‘Fresh Start Mindset’ (FSM), rooted in the American culture milieu and stemming from neoliberalism. They conceptualize it as the belief in self that sailing a new course and becoming a changed or new

‘self’ is always possible regardless of the circumstances, which is similar to the growth mindset in emphasizing the possibility for change through self-reliance.

The FSM differs from the growth mindset in the fact that the growth mindset is associated with need for cognition and the FSM with variety-seeking consumption practices (Price et al., 2018). This means that people with a strong FSM pursue personal transformation through choosing new and different products as a path to change. The FSM is focused on variety seeking through consumption as a way to personal transformation, rather than focusing on cognitive learning and changing intelligence characteristics – being the case with the growth mindset (Murphy & Dweck, 2016; Price et al., 2018). The study of Price et al. (2018) showed that consumers with a stronger (vs. weaker) FSM – positively related to belief in personal capacity to change and internal locus of control – put more effort into self-focused self- transformative activities (contrasted with the growth mindset). The studied self-transformation activities included budget and health efforts, personal relationships, and disposition and acquisition consumption efforts, however none of these included sustainable consumption efforts (Price et al., 2018).

Strizhakova et al. (2021) did take this concept of the FSM down the ‘sustainability road’

by examining it as a predictor of interest in environmentally-friendly global brands. Although the study focused on multinational corporate stakeholders and their interest in discovering how the FSM could benefit them rather than on a consumer level, it did establish a positive and consistent relationship between the FSM and environmental consciousness, resulting in a

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relevant finding for this research when studying the same relationship for consumers. The experiment of Strizhakova et al. (2021) included fictitious sustainable fashion brands proving the relevance of the study context, however solely studied predicted instead of actual behavior, leaving a gap in this academic field of interest.

All previous findings are relevant to take into consideration when desiring to establish the relationship between the FSM and sustainable consumption. To start, the ambiguousness of the influence of consumer mindsets on sustainable consumption behavior clearly presents a demand for further research (Mathur et al., 2014; Soliman & Wilson, 2017; Sun et al., 2020; Pater et al., 2017). Mathur et al. (2014) make a compelling statement, however the follow-up studies have been found more convincing, as they present actual rather than predicted behavior. Although previous literature does not link the fixed mindset to the FSM, this information is relevant to take into consideration. For the reason that the fixed mindset is considered the opposite of the growth mindset, and the growth mindset is positively related to the FSM (Villa, 2019; Price et al., 2018), the assumption can be made that a weak FSM compares to a fixed mindset, and a strong FSM compares to a growth mindset.

Consequently, it is hypothesized that a strong FSM leads to high, and a weak FSM to low sustainable consumption behavior.

Fixed Mindset

Weak Fresh Start Mindset Strong

Growth Mindset

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H1a: There is a positive relationship between the FSM and sustainable consumption behavior. When the FSM is strong (vs. weak), the sustainable consumption behavior will be higher (vs. lower).

The more relevant matter to study however is the effect of the FSM on behavior transition, by considering to what extent people commit to sustainable consumption behavior in striving for desired self-transformation (Devezer et al., 2014; Price et al., 2018). Referring back to the study of Hazen et al. (2017), the transition from old to new patterns of behavior is directly influenced by consumers’ attitudes. Price et al. (2018) state in their study that the FSM has the power to positively influence a large range of consumer behaviors, partly because the FSM is significantly related to temporal focus (.39), referring to one’s intention to look forward. The result of considering future consequences is positively related to self-regulatory intentions and therefore the FSM is expected to have a positive effect on the change in sustainable consumption behavior (Buhrau & Sujan, 2015). This is especially relevant for the current study, as Price et al. (2018) speculate that when it comes to goal progress, the FSM should aid consumers adapt to the circumstances and focus on the opportunity for change.

In the context of changing consumer behavior, altering environmental conditions might therefore be a successful strategy for breaking bad habits or establishing more positive ones (Verplanken & Wood, 2006). The FSM could encourage such behavioral changes and help consumers ‘get back on track’ towards their goal after a setback (Price et al., 2018). However, Price et al. (2018) also mention that having a strong FSM might potentially backfire on the path to sustained commitments due to overemphasis on the next new thing. Therefore, the need for future research on this relationship is emphasized. In addition to H1a, the element of transformation will thus be considered for H1b, in order to assess the influence of the FSM on the change in sustainable consumption behavior over time after goal activation.

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H1b: There is a positive relationship between the FSM and the change in sustainable consumption behavior over time. When the FSM is strong (vs. weak), the increase in sustainable consumption behavior will be higher (vs. lower).

Goal Progress and Goal Commitment

The relationship between consumer mindsets and sustainable consumption behavior and their abilities to (through interventions) motivate and change consumer well-being for the better has been studied in many contexts (Verplanken & Wood, 2006; Price et al., 2018; Newson et al., 2013). Designing evidence-based behavior change interventions presents the key challenge in such studies (Newson et al., 2013), and therefore the speculation of Price et al. (2018) with regards to goal progress presents an interesting opportunity for experimental research.

It has generally been found that low goal progress results in demotivation towards the end-goal, as consumers are concerned about its attainability (Zhang & Huang, 2010). Consequently, when goal progress accumulates, and a consumer moves towards goal attainment, goal motivation increases. However, this goal commitment is also highly influenced by the extent to which the consumer values the attainment of this goal (Koo & Fishbach, 2008).

Devezer et al. (2014) contributed to the academic field by considering what influences commitment to higher-order consumer well-being end-goals, of which several experiments covered environmentally-friendly behaviors as higher-order end-goals. These higher-order end- goals refer to striving for a desired long-term state, being relevant for a sustained change in behavior (Austin & Vancouver, 1996). The findings showed that failing at an environmental sub-goal results in lowered commitment towards the end-goal, however goal importance acts as a buffer against these demotivating effects, serving as a moderator. This means that under

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the boundary condition of high goal importance, sub-goal failure did not result in demotivation to reach the higher-order end-goal (Devezer et al., 2014).

Taking the topic of goal importance one step further, goal commitment will be considered an important attribute when it comes to goal progress and achievement. Even though they sound similar, goal commitment and goal importance are distinct constructs, as consumers do not always equally commit to every important goal. Therefore, this study regarding motivations to achieve a certain goal will take goal commitment into consideration rather than solely goal importance (Koo & Fishbach, 2014).

Koo & Fishbach (2014) studied the effects of provided progress information cues when it comes to goal commitment, being divided into ‘to-date’ and ‘to-go’ information. In particular, they found that consumers with low goal commitment were more motivated by emphasizing to-date information (the road travelled) and consumers with high goal commitment were motivated by emphasizing to-go information (the road ahead). Mathur et al. (2014) explain this occurrence by referring to the diversity in mindsets and consequently the different responses to goal progress cues. They illustrate that because people with a fixed mindset aim to portray their capabilities, motivation comes from progress cues that inform them about the extent to which they have completed a task. On the other end, people with growth mindsets focus on growth and learning, and are relatively unaffected by emphasizing what they have already achieved.

Rather, they like to be informed about cues that refer to the progress of their learning goals, as they consider mistakes as part of the learning process (Murphy & Dweck, 2016).

If indeed the FSM stems from the growth mindset, it could be hypothesized that failing to achieve a sub-goal could actually increase (vs. decrease) end-goal motivation and therefore strengthen this relationship. The findings of Koo & Fishbach (2014) will be included in the

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hypotheses, by using to-go progress cues as a way to emphasize room for improvement and therefore a part of the learning goal. Consequently, sub-goal success is emphasized through using to-date cues and therefore as part of the performance goal.

For the hypotheses it means that when the FSM is weak (vs. strong), to-date (vs. to-go) progress information cues will result in an increase in sustainable consumption behavior. On the other hand, when the FSM is strong (vs. weak), to-go (vs. to-date) progress information cues will result in an increase in sustainable consumption behavior, and therefore strengthen the relationship.

H2a: The positive relationship between the FSM and sustainable consumption behavior is moderated by sub-goal achievement.

H2b: The positive relationship between the FSM and sustainable consumption behavior is strengthened by to-go (vs. to-date) progress information cues.

Referring back to the findings of Devezer et al. (2014), the effect of sub-goal achievement on the relationship between the FSM and sustainable consumption behavior is additionally affected by goal commitment. In the current study, demotivation occurs when the FSM is weak and to-go information is provided. However, Devezer et al. (2014) state that this effect does not occur when goal commitment is high, acting as a buffer against demotivating effects. This effect will be validated with the following hypothesis.

H3: Goal commitment moderates the moderated relationship between the FSM and sustainable consumption behavior. When goal commitment is high (vs. low), the moderating effect of sub-goal achievement is weak (vs. strong).

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Based on the hypotheses, this study will cover the following main research question: “How does the fresh start mindset influence the transformation towards more sustainable consumption behavior in the fashion industry, and how is this relationship affected by sub-goal achievement and goal commitment?”

Please refer to Figure 1 for the Conceptual Model belonging to this research question.

Figure 1: Conceptual Model

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Methodology

Through the review of previous studies, a gap in the literature on transformational consumption behavior has been established. The next chapter will outline how the current study investigates the relationship between the FSM and sustainable consumption behavior in the fashion industry, and the moderating roles of sub-goal achievement and goal commitment.

Research Setting

This study around the FSM and sustainable consumption behavior is conducted within the context of the fashion industry, which is especially relevant since sustainable fashion is a highly under-investigated topic within the general studies on sustainable consumption (Tey et al., 2018). The fashion industry is responsible for 4% of the global greenhouse gas emissions, expected to increase with 2% per annum, and causes over 85% of thrown-away clothing ending up in landfills (Berg et al., 2020). Although consumers are becoming increasingly aware of such sustainability topics and show willingness to adjust, self-interest factors are still forming key barriers to sustainable fashion consumption (Berg et al., 2020; Gleim et al., 2013;

Pookulangara & Shephard, 2013). The discrepancy between the awareness and consciousness around the importance of sustainable consumption, and the actual degree of sustainable consumption, proves the potential for improved consumption behavior and the positive impact of such a behavioral change (Wijkman & Skanberg, 2017). Stahel (2016) emphasizes the benefits of introducing a circular economy business model and its potential to save resources and energy as well as create local jobs, and the necessity for further innovation and research to realize a sustainable economy.

The intention-behavior gap in sustainable clothing consumption has been studied by Diddi et al. (2019), who emphasize the important role of consumers in extending clothing

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lifecycles. They found many reasons for consumers (not) to engage in sustainable clothing consumption behaviors. However, behavioral science has taught us that if we strive for behavioral change, consumers’ beliefs and mindsets first need to be understood (Charm et al., 2020). Strizhakova et al. (2021) therefore encourage researchers to further examine consumer transformation initiatives appointed towards environmentally friendly behavior. In this study, the impact of provided progress information cues (to-date vs. to-go) is investigated to establish how this can impact motivation of people with a strong FSM to transform their consumption routines into more sustainable behavior, with a focus on a circular fashion economy and the recycling and repurposing of existing clothing items.

Research Design

The quantitative data necessary to answer the hypotheses was collected throughout a prospective longitudinal self-reported survey design over a period of three months, with three measurement moments. Longitudinal studies are considered suitable for research on behavioral change or transformation, as it is a successful method to analyze developmental trends and change observations (Miller, 2022). Such studies should allow for an examination of transformation in sustainable consumption behavior patterns and investigate whether mindset changes have impact on environmentally friendly behavior (Siegrist et al., 2015).

With this survey, the transformation of the dependent variable ‘sustainable consumption behavior’ was analyzed by comparing the results at the start and end of the study and thus establish the change over time; the behavioral transformation. The independent variable ‘Fresh Start Mindset’ was measured once at the start of the study, to determine the level of the FSM per participant. The moderating variables ‘Sub-goal Achievement’ and ‘Goal Commitment’

were measured halfway the study, where the survey included a one-way between-subjects

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groups under the intervention of either to-date or to-go progress information cues. All in all, the three survey measures were used to establish the relationship between the FSM and sustainable consumption behavior, and the moderating effect of sub-goal achievement (to-date vs. to-go) and goal commitment.

Research Procedure

For this longitudinal study the participants were asked to join a 3-month ‘challenge’ that would measure their sustainable consumption behavior, with a specific focus on their commitment to a circular fashion economy. The instructed goal was to not buy any new clothing during the entire challenge, and instead actively buy, sell, share, reuse, repair and recycle existing clothing (Shirvanimoghaddam et al., 2020). The survey design consisted of three surveys that were conducted with the same sample over a period of three months: 1) start September 2021, 2) mid-October 2021, 3) end November 2021. The participants were instructed to use the same

‘nickname’ during the entire challenge in order for the collected data to be correctly registered and ordered while ensuring full anonymity.

The first survey had the purpose of collecting demographic data, as well as measuring one’s FSM and the original degree of sustainable consumption behavior (pre-intervention). In the second survey the participants were asked to again rate their degree of sustainable consumption behavior as well as commitment to reaching the end-goal. Afterwards the participants received the ‘results’ on their goal progress (or: sub-goal achievement) – this is where the experimental design was activated. The actual results that the participants received after completing the second survey were however manipulated, examining whether focus on to-go vs. to-date progress information cues would increase the motivation to reach improved sustainable consumption behavior. To allow for this manipulation to focus on completed (performance-oriented) versus remaining (learning-oriented) actions, the participants were

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randomly allocated into one of the two experimental conditions. They received a chart after completing the survey representing their road-travelled (to-date) towards the end-goal, or the efforts that could still be made (to-go). The chart showed a bar from 0 to 100% with an arrow presenting their presumable level of performance based on the measurement scale of Fischer et al. (2017), which was established at 48% for both conditions (please refer to Figure 2). It was necessary to have equal levels of performance close to the mid-point (50%) regardless of the self-reported results, to control for possible systematic differences in motivation and allow for reliable manipulation (Koo & Fishbach, 2014).

Figure 2: to-date vs. to-go condition

The purpose of this experiment was thus to see if the to-go condition would increase motivation towards the end-goal and therefore strengthen the relationship between the FSM and sustainable consumption behavior. This moderating effect was measured with the third and last survey, where the participants were asked to rate their degree of sustainable consumption after the research period of three months and their expectations towards future commitment to a circular economy, measuring the intention towards sustainable consumption behavior. This final survey scale was used as a back-up question in case the construct of sustainable consumption behavior would have to be validated.

Please refer to Appendix A for a complete overview of the survey design.

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Measurements

The surveys were created with the online data collection tool ‘Qualtrics’ and pre-tested with a small convenience sample of 10% (n = 8), in order to check for potential problems or errors (Fisher, 2020). Afterwards, the pre-test sample was requested to share a respondent debriefing to describe the logic, comprehension, length and adherence of the survey, and the questionnaire was adjusted accordingly where deemed to be necessary (please refer to Appendix A for the final version of the surveys). In terms of measurements, the variables were analyzed through applying scales from previous studies that measured the same constructs. These were mostly measured with either 7- or 5-points Likert scale.

Fresh Start Mindset (FSM). Price et al. (2018) developed a valid and reliable six-item scale with discriminant and predictive validity, to measure the FSM and the consequent ability to invest in transformative consumption choices. The scale was established with item generation, scale refinement and preliminary scale assessment of nine different studies. The six items were measured through the first self-reported survey design, using a 7-point Likert scale ranging from ‘strongly disagree’ to ‘strongly agree’. An example of the statements that were self-reported is: ‘Regardless of present circumstances, someone can chart a new course in life’.

Sustainable Consumption Behavior (SCB). To establish the degree of and change in sustainable consumption behavior per participant throughout the study, the valid and reliable scale to measure sustainable consumption behavior in the areas of food and clothing by Fischer et al. (2017) was used. This scale was developed through an initial qualitative interview and validated through a subsequent quantitative study. To measure sustainable consumption behavior in a fashion context, it was necessary to go more in-depth than using a general sustainable consumption behavior scale, such as the SCB-cube of Geiger et al. (2018). The scale of Fischer et al. (2017) is however based on exactly this SCB-cube, with a specific focus

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on food and clothing. For the context of this research, solely the clothing-items of the scale were used to assess sustainable consumption behavior. The original scale consists of eight items, however two of these were eliminated because of its inapplicability (e.g.: ‘I air my clothing items properly before deciding whether they need washing’). The six items were measured through all self-reported survey designs, using a 5-point Likert scale ranging from

‘never’ to ‘always’. An example of the statements that were self-reported is: ‘I buy secondhand clothing’.

Goal Commitment (GC). Given the critical role of goal commitment in goal setting theory, Hollenbeck et al. (1989) developed a 9-item scale that measures the degree of commitment towards a certain end-goal. This HWK scale has since been reviewed by various studies, such as DeShon and Landis (1997), Seijts and Latham (2000) and Klein et al. (2001), proving the validity of the scale. The nine items were measured through the second self-reported survey design, using a 7-point Likert scale ranging from ‘strongly disagree’ to ‘strongly agree’.

An example of the statements that were self-reported is: ‘I am strongly committed to pursuing this goal’. Out of these nine items, six needed to be reverse-coded for data analysis.

Sub-goal Achievement (SGA). The experimental variable for this research was sub- goal achievement, being divided into two conditions: to-date and to-go. The experimental design did not demand a manipulation check, as it was copied from the study of Koo and Fishbach (2014), adjusted to the current research context and setting.

Please refer to Appendix A for a complete overview of the measured scale items per construct.

Participants

For a study on consumption behavior, everyone who is a consumer has the possibility of being

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population. As it is rather impossible to establish a sample that is a 100% representative for a population as such, non-probability sampling was applied (Taherdoost, 2016). More specifically, convenience sampling was used to find participants that were readily and easily available, and willing to participate in a longitudinal study for which they had to adjust their consumption behavior and routines.

With quantitative experimental research, a minimum sample of 40 participants per condition is required to produce a reasonable prediction of the population’s behavior (Budiu &

Moran, 2021). The minimum for this study was 80 participants as two conditions were examined, however in the end a number of 97 participants was assembled for the original data set. Due to various incomplete responses, the final number of participants amounted to 89 (n = 89) after data cleaning. Through a randomization check it was observed that there were no significant differences in demographics between the two conditional effects (to-date vs. to-go), and that the different genders were equally divided over the two conditions. The sample showed an average age of 34.5 (M = 34.5, SD = 16.9). Moreover, 48 participants were female (53.9%) and 41 participants were male (46.1%). Most of these participants were Dutch, employed or student, and had an above-average level of education.

Data Analysis

The first step in the data analysis process was to clean the data, by checking for missing values and recode the six counter indicative items on the goal commitment scale of Hollenbeck et al.

(1989). Afterwards, a factor analysis was run to check for co-variation amongst the items of all constructs: Fresh Start Mindset (FSM), Goal Commitment (GC), Sustainable Consumption Behavior (SCB). The factor analysis proved itself to be the right tool to interpret this data (p = .000, KMO = .676), and showed that, amongst the aforementioned factors, there were three problematic cross-loads within GC and SCB (GC7: “I think this goal is a good goal to shoot

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for”, GC9: “There is not much to be gained by trying to achieve this goal”, and SCB3: “I give away or swap unwanted clothing items that I no longer wear”). Consequently, these items were deleted to establish a perfect factor analysis without cross-loads, where every item belongs to solely one factor, and every factor exists exactly of the expected items.

Following the establishment of unidimensional scales that measure one single construct, the reliability and validity of the measurements of these scales were tested through a reliability analysis. All factors showed an excellent Cronbach’s Alpha of above .7 (FSM a = .984, GC a

= .953, SCB a = .942) and were consequently computed into new variables presenting the means of the included items.

Next, a correlation analysis was conducted in order to provide initial insights into the relationships between the variables (FSM, GC, SCB, and Sub-Goal Achievement (SGA)). It is important to note here that SCB actually consists of two separate variables to be able to test both the standard consideration of the effect of the FSM on SCB and the longitudinal aspect to measure the change over time. Consequently, the following dependent variables were measured: one variable for the general level of SCB (SCBtotal), and another variable for the change within SCB over the 3-month study timeframe (SCBdelta). Please refer to Table 1 for a correlation analysis of the main constructs.

Lastly, a linear regression analysis was performed to test the interaction significance of FSM and SCB. This was followed by Hayes’ (2017) PROCESS Model 1 with a moderated regression analysis to test for the initial moderation effect of SGA on the relationship between FSM and SCB without inclusion of GC. The data analysis process ends with Hayes’ (2017) PROCESS Model 3 to test for the moderated moderation effect of GC on the moderating effect of SGA on the relationship between FSM and SCB. These regression analyses were conducted for both SCBtotal and SCBdelta.

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Table 1: Correlation Analysis amongst main constructs

VARIABLE MEAN SD SGA FSM GC SCBTOTAL SCBDELTA

SGA .48 .50 -

FSM 4.86 1.81 .214* -

GC 4.97 1.20 -.073 .315** -

SCBTOTAL 2.85 1.19 .159 .510** .537** -

SCBDELTA .65 .90 .213* .227* .267* .838** -

Notes: N = 89. SGA: Sub-Goal Achievement. FSM: Fresh Start Mindset. GC: Goal Commitment. SCBtotal:

Sustainable Consumption Behavior (measurement 3). SCBdelta: Sustainable Consumption Behavior (change between measurement 1 and 3).

* p < .05, ** p < .01, all two-tailed tests.

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Results

The correlation analysis in Table 1 shows a preliminary descriptive analysis of relationships between variables and reliability. The SGA mean (M = .49) shows that the experimental conditions were successfully equally divided over the participants (n = 89). Moreover, all constructs scored positively with a means on the right side of the Likert scales (FSM M = 4.86 on a 7-point scale, GC M = 4.97 on a 7-point scale, SCBtotal M = 2.85 on a 5-point scale).

Furthermore, the average change in sustainable consumption behavior from the start till the end of the longitudinal study was positive with a means of 0.65 (SCBdelta M = .65). It is important to highlight the difference between SCBtotal and SCBdelta in the current study. SCBtotal was relevant to measure to validate the expected result of the effect of the FSM on sustainable consumption behavior; a standard consideration to measure the general influence of the FSM.

After establishing a positive relationship between these two variables, the more relevant matter to highlight for this research is the change in sustainable consumption over time (SCBdelta), as the results of measuring this variable would actually add value to and fill a gap in the literature around behavioral transformation towards sustainable consumption.

The correlation analysis showed that there is a highly significant positive relationship between the FSM and SCBtotal (p < .01), as well as between the FSM and SCBdelta (p < .05).

Furthermore, the FSM is significantly positively related to SGA (p < .05) and GC (p < .01), GC to SCBdelta (p < .01) and SCBdelta (p < .05), and SCBtotal to SCBdelta (p < .01). These results are not surprising; however, they are encouraging to continue the data analysis process and continue with a preliminary regression analysis to test the effect of the FSM on sustainable consumption behavior.

While testing the first hypothesis it could be established that the assumptions of a linear regression were violated, as the residuals were not normally distributed (which was established

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scatterplot). The conclusion of this violation is that the results needed to be interpreted with caution. The ANOVA regression analysis showed that the variance in SCBtotal could for a highly significant part of 26% be explained by the FSM, and that when the FSM increases with 1 unit, SCBtotal increases with .335 (F(1.87) = 30.591, p < .01, R2 = .260, b = .335).

Furthermore, the spread in SCBdelta was observed to be explained by a significant part of 5.1%

by the FSM, where when FSM increases with 1 unit, SCBdelta increases with .113 (F(1.87) = 4.723, p < .05, R2 = .051, b = .113). Through conducting these linear regression analyses it can be concluded that evidence has been found to support both hypothesis 1a and 1b.

Prior to analyzing the moderated moderation that the conceptual model of Figure 1 illustrates, a moderated regression analysis was conducted based on the PROCESS Model 1 by Hayes (2017). This analysis tested the moderating effect of sub-goal achievement (to-go vs. to- date) on the positive relationship between the FSM and sustainable consumption behavior (SCBtotal and SCBdelta); these were visualized in Figure 3a and 3b. For dependent variable SCBtotal, the interaction effect proved to be significant for both conditions with an increase of .679 on SCBtotal with every FSM unit for the to-go condition (R2 = .679), as was predicted with H2b. The same could be established for the dependent variable SCBdelta, where the interaction effect showed to be significant for both conditions with an increase of .421 for every FSM unit in the to-go condition (R2 = .421).

As can be seen in both Figures, the general sustainable consumption behavior as well as the behavioral transformation both show an increase when the FSM is stronger. For example, when the FSM was strong (between 5 and 7) and the participants were provided with to-go progress information cues, the mean of SCBtotal was between 2.95 and 4.11 and the mean of SCBdelta between .64 and 1.24 (respectively). The surprising part of this regression analysis were the results for the to-date condition, which actually showed a decline of .320 on SCBtotal (R2 = .320) and .487 on SCBdelta (R2 = .487) with every increased FSM unit. For example,

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when the FSM was strong (between 5 and 7) and the participants were provided with to-date progress information cues, the mean of SCBtotal was between 3.1 and 2.48 and the mean of SCBdelta between .94 and .12 (respectively). This shows the unexpected decline in sustainable consumption behavior when having a strong FSM and being provided with to-date progress cues. Please refer to Table 2a and 2b for the moderation analyses and Figure 3a and 3b for the interaction effects.

Table 2a: Moderation analysis (DV = SCBtotal) – PROCESS Model 1

VARIABLE COEFF SE T P LLCI ULCI

CONSTANT .0504 .2627 .1920 .8482 -.4719 .5727

FSM .5829 .0532 10.9596 .0000** .4772 .6887

SGA 4.6006 .5253 8.7581 .0000** 3.5562 5.6450

FSM X SGA -.8891 .0993 -8.9575 .0000** -1.0865 -.6918

Notes: N = 89. SCBtotal = Sustainable Consumption Behavior, FSM = Fresh Start Mindset, SGA = Sub-Goal Achievement (to-go vs. to-date). * p < .05, ** p < .01

Table 2b: Moderation analysis (DV = SCBdelta) – PROCESS Model 1

VARIABLE COEFF SE T P LLCI ULCI

CONSTANT -.8605 .2344 -3.6703 .0004** -1.3266 -.3943

FSM .2965 .0475 6.2463 .0000** .2021 .3909

SGA 3.8523 .4688 8.2171 .0000** 2.9202 4.7844

FSM X SGA -.7038 .0886 -7.9449 .0000** -.8799 -.5277

Notes: N = 89. DV = Sustainable Consumption Behavior (SCBdelta), FSM = Fresh Start Mindset, SGA = Sub- Goal Achievement (to-go vs. to-date). * p < .05, ** p < .01

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Figure 3a: Interaction effect FSM and SGA on SCBtotal

Figure 3b: Interaction effect FSM and SGA on SCBdelta

To-go: R2 Linear = .679 To-date: R2 Linear = .320

To-go: R2 Linear = .421 To-date: R2 Linear = .487

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The significant moderation effect of sub-goal achievement on the relationship between the FSM and sustainable consumption behavior requests for a next step in the data analysis process: a moderated moderation analysis with the PROCESS Model 3 of Hayes (2017). This model was used to test the moderation effect of goal commitment on the moderation effect of sub-goal achievement on the relationship between the FSM and sustainable consumption behavior. With the analysis a significant interaction effect could not be found between any of the variables with SCBtotal as dependent variable. When conducting a moderated moderation regression analysis with DV = SCBdelta the results did show some interaction effects between GC and FSM as well as SGA, however no significant interaction effect for FSM X SGA X GC (p > .05). These differences in significant interaction effects between the two outputs does signify why SCBtotal and SCBdelta had to be separated into two different variables and highlight the added value of measuring behavioral transformation. Please refer to Table 3a and 3b for the moderated moderation analyses.

Table 3a: Moderated moderation analysis (DV = SCBtotal) – PROCESS Model 3

VARIABLE COEFF SE T P LLCI ULCI

CONSTANT -.6265 1.8227 -.3437 .7320 -4.2530 3.0001

FSM .2890 .3090 .9351 .3525 -.3259 .9039

SGA 11.5620 7.2028 1.6052 .1123 -2.7695 25.8934

GC .2511 .3982 .6307 .5300 -.5411 1.0434

FSM X SGA -1.6575 1.1520 -1.4388 .1541 -3.9497 .6347

FSM X GC .0301 .0639 .4706 .6392 -.0970 .1571

SGA X GC -1.5163 1.4517 -1.0445 .2994 -4.4047 1.3721

FSM X SGA X GC .1843 .2314 .7966 .4280 -.2761 .6447

Notes: N = 89. SCBtotal = Sustainable Consumption Behavior, FSM = Fresh Start Mindset, SGA = Sub-Goal

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Table 3b: Moderated moderation analysis (DV = SCBdelta) – PROCESS Model 3

VARIABLE COEFF SE T P LLCI ULCI

CONSTANT 1.4543 1.5106 .9627 .3386 -1.5513 4.4599

FSM -.4018 .2561 -1.5688 .1206 -.9114 .1078

SGA 16.9440 5.9696 2.8384 .0057** 5.0664 28.8216

GC -.4277 .3300 -1.2959 .1987 -1.0842 .2289

FSM X SGA -2.2486 .9548 -2.3551 .0209* -4.1483 -.3489

FSM X GC .1233 .0529 2.3296 .0223* .0180 .2286

SGA X GC -2.6514 1.2031 -2.2038 .0304* -5.0452 -.2575

FSM X SGA X GC .3236 .1918 1.6874 .0954 -.0580 .7051

Notes: N = 89. SCBdelta = Sustainable Consumption Behavior, FSM = Fresh Start Mindset, SGA = Sub-Goal Achievement (to-go vs. to-date, GC = Goal Commitment). * p < .05, ** p < .01

Validation Analysis: Sustainable Consumption Behavior

The insignificant three-way interaction models for both SCBtotal and SCBdelta as dependent variable demanded a validation of the construct of sustainable consumption behavior. To check for the most valid indicator of sustainable consumption in this model, another measurement scale was used to measure the same construct, also referred to as Ajzen’s (1985) theory of planned behavior. This proved to be a relevant validation, because when looking for co- variation amongst the two scales through a factor analysis (Fischer, 2017 and Ajzen, 1985) the two concepts appeared to have many cross-loads and thus a significant overlap. Therefore, the following concept was used to perform the same PROCESS Model 3 of Hayes (2017) from a different standpoint.

Sustainable Consumption Behavior (SCBint). Ajzen’s (1985) theory of planned behavior was used to establish the survey questions on sustainable consumption intention rather

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than action. This theory was used in order to validate the sustainable consumption behavior construct measured with the scale of Fischer (2017). The construction of the questions was based on the study of Fishbein and Ajzen (2010), which includes a 6-item scale to assess the constructs of attitude, subjective norm, perceived behavioral control, and intention. The six items were adjusted to the research context of sustainable clothing consumption, and measured through the third self-reported survey design, using a 7-point Likert scale ranging from

‘strongly disagree’ to ‘strongly agree’. An example of the statements that were self-reported is: ‘I intend to continue to commit to a circular economy in the future’.

The results of the moderated moderation regression analysis of PROCESS Model 3 with sustainable consumption intention as dependent variable showed an insignificant result on the three-way interaction effect (please refer to Table 4). The conclusion of this result is that the measurement scale of Ajzen (1985) on planned behavior does not present a more valid construct for the dependent variable of sustainable consumption behavior than Fischer’s (2017).

Table 4: Moderated moderation analysis (DV = SCBint) – PROCESS Model 3

VARIABLE COEFF SE T P LLCI ULCI

CONSTANT 5.5954 1.3363 4.1872 .0001** 2.9365 8.2542

FSM -.0728 .2266 -.3215 .7487 -.5237 .3780

SGA 4.3823 5.3809 .8298 .4091 -6.1251 14.8896

GC -.5785 .2919 -1.9818 .0509 -1.1594 .0023

FSM X SGA -.7091 .8446 -.8395 .4037 -2.3896 .9715

FSM X GC .1176 .0468 2.5108 .0140* .0244 .2107

SGA X GC -.1337 1.0643 -.1256 .9004 -2.2513 1.9840

FSM X SGA X GC .0001 .1696 .0003 .9997 -.3375 .3376

Notes: N = 89. SCBint = Sustainable Consumption Behavior Intention, FSM = Fresh Start Mindset, SGA = Sub-

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To summarize, when measuring sustainable consumption behavior at the end of the longitudinal study or the change over time, several interesting findings present themselves. Firstly, a positive correlation has been established between FSM and both SCBtotal as well as SCBdelta.

Secondly, there is very significant moderation effect of SGA on this relationship. This moderation effect is especially interesting, since it reverses in direction when comparing between the two conditions of to-date and to-go progress information cues. Lastly, a moderated moderation effect of GC cannot be established within the current study, neither with the results of the sustainable consumption dependent variable on action (Fischer, 2017) nor intention (Ajzen, 1985) (p > .05).

Please refer to Table 5 for an overview of the hypotheses’ outcomes.

Table 5: Overview of Tested Hypotheses

Hypothesis Result

H1a: There is a positive relationship between the FSM and sustainable consumption behavior. When the FSM is strong (vs. weak), the sustainable consumption behavior will be higher (vs. lower).

Accepted

H1b: There is a positive relationship between the FSM and the change in sustainable consumption behavior over time. When the FSM is strong (vs. weak), the increase in sustainable consumption behavior will be higher (vs. lower).

Accepted

H2a: The positive relationship between the FSM and sustainable consumption

behavior is moderated by sub-goal achievement. Accepted

H2b: The positive relationship between the FSM and sustainable consumption

behavior is strengthened by to-go (vs. to-date) progress information cues. Accepted H3: Goal commitment moderates the moderated relationship between the FSM

and sustainable consumption behavior. When goal commitment is high (vs. low), the moderating effect of sub-goal achievement is weak (vs. strong).

Rejected

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Discussion

The current study aimed to extend theories on the influence of consumer mindsets on sustainable consumption behavior. More specifically, the influence of having a Fresh Start Mindset on the behavioral transition of sustainable consumption, and the three-way interaction including the moderating effects of sub-goal achievement and goal commitment. The Fresh Start Mindset theory of Price et al. (2018) served as the theoretical base for this study, stemming from the growth mindset theory of Dweck (1999), relating to someone’s belief in the ability to always be able to make a fresh start, regardless of the circumstances. The aim of this research was focused on moving towards a more sustainable economy, as even though the need for energy efficient consumption is high and consumer awareness around this topic is increasingly present (Ghose & Chandra, 2020), an intention-behavior gap continues to exist (Nguyen et al., 2018; Diddi et al., 2019). Charm et al. (2020) hereby emphasize the need for understanding around consumer mindsets when desiring to drive behavioral change, which could ultimately lead to a global reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and an expansion of the workforce (Wijkman & Skanberg, 2017). Therefore, the influence of the FSM on the transformation towards more sustainable consumption behavior and the effects of sub-goal achievement and goal commitment demanded quantitative research in the context of fashion and clothing, as this is a fairly under-investigated context within general studies on sustainable consumption (Tey et al., 2018). The beforementioned hypotheses were tested throughout a longitudinal study design with three survey measurement moments and a half-way experiment, in order to analyze such behavioral transformation (Miller, 2022).

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