The role of knowledge and environmental values on consumer beliefs, attitude, and purchase intention toward leather products Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/fx719q800

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  • Globally, it is estimated that over 2,518,200 tons of hides and skins were exported in the year 2011 alone, with an estimated world production yield of 23 billion square feet of finished leather (FA0, 2011; Mwinyihija, 2011). While some manufacturers have adopted eco-friendly production methods, most tanneries still practice the old-fashioned techniques, which can create negative impacts on the environment and the health of industry employees due to the generation of solid (e.g., chromium salts) and liquid (e.g., untreated water) waste full of toxic chemicals (Iyer, & Mastorakis, 2009). While consumer behaviors and their purchase intentions related to their beliefs have been widely studied, researchers have not investigated consumer beliefs and attitude regarding leather production and whether their environmental values and knowledge impact their beliefs about leather products, attitudes towards purchasing leather products, and intentions to purchase leather products. To fill in a gap in the current research on consumer behavior and using the Theory of Reasoned Action (Fishbein, 1967), Dickson’s (2000) extension of the theory and Dunlap's (2008) New Ecological Paradigm as a guide, the purpose of this study was to investigate whether exposure to information regarding the environmental and health impact of leather production would ultimately change consumers’ beliefs, attitudes and intentions to purchase leather products. A survey questionnaire was used to examine changes in consumers' beliefs, attitudes and intentions to purchase leather products using a modified classical experimental design with a pre-test and post-test format. Two Oregon State University undergraduate classes in the Department of Design and Human Environment were recruited to participate in the study. One class received an informational treatment lecture on leather production, while the other did not. A total of 72 Oregon State University undergraduate students participated in the study. The findings supported the previous works of the Theory of Reasoned Action and its extension, arguing that consumer knowledge and beliefs regarding specific products impact consumer attitudes, specifically consumer attitude toward leather production's health impact. It was also found that within the experimental group relative to their New Ecological Paradigm score, students with a higher New Ecological Paradigm score were found to have more significant changes when comparing pre-test and post-test results at an individual level. These findings provide evidence to support the importance of understanding how knowledge impacts consumer beliefs, attitudes and purchase intentions. Participants in the experimental group demonstrated a change in beliefs toward leather production and its health impact on tannery workers after exposure to the treatment lecture. While beliefs and attitudes toward leather production were not impacted by the treatment lecture, this study still provides information to those hoping to have an impact on consumers via knowledge delivery. Having an understanding of how beliefs, attitudes and purchase intention are impacted by information provides retailers with valuable insight of how to effectively deliver their information to consumers that will reach them on a deeper level. This will help them to better reach their target market, give their messages more impact and influence consumers' beliefs and future buying decisions. Future research in this field will add to the growing research area regarding knowledge and its impact on consumers.
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