Examination of consumer activism and its impacts : an empirical study of the Korean consumer movement Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/9019s557s

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  • Has consumer activism been successful in its efforts to effect social, political, and economic changes and to empower consumers? This research seeks to answer this question by developing a viable evaluation framework for conceptualizing and measuring impacts of consumer activism. The Political Process Model and New Social Movement Theory provide the theoretical base and conceptual context, and previous studies on social movement outcomes provided the analytical ground for developing a framework. The framework consists of three parts: environmental context, movement actions, and impacts as changes in social structures (impacts of consumer activism). Factors that influenced impacts were identified for the first two parts of the framework, and tested on archetypal consumer campaigns in Korea. A boycott against contaminated imported wheat in 1993 and a lawsuit against fraudulent bargain sales of retail conglomerates in 1989 were the campaigns used to identify the impacts. The primary sources of information were consumer organization archives, newspaper reports, and government records. Interviews with consumer leaders were included to validate the information from written documents. The framework succeeded in identifying the influential factors and the impacts of each campaign. However, campaign goals or their achievements were not an explicit part of the evaluation. The framework was modified to incorporate explicit goals and these broader changes. Goals stated by the two campaigns were changes in policy and political structure. Goal accomplishments and broader changes were campaign impacts, including consumer attitude changes, market changes and movement (organization) growth. The campaigns sparked drastic changes in the Korean marketplace through consumption pattern and business practice changes. Applying this framework to additional campaigns in Korea, and to consumer movements in additional countries, will serve to validate and/or modify this framework as a useful tool to measure the success of consumer activism. A consistent approach to evaluating the impacts of consumer activism in cross-cultural comparisons contributes to our knowledge of consumer activism as a social movement. The framework will also encourage and help individual consumer organizations evaluate their efforts in a systematic way.
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