Inferential evaluations of sustainability attributes: Exploring how consumers imply product information

Gruber, Verena and Schlegelmilch, Bodo B. ORCID: and Houston, Michael J. (2014) Inferential evaluations of sustainability attributes: Exploring how consumers imply product information. Journal of Business Ethics, 31 (6). pp. 440-450. ISSN 1573-0697


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Consumers are often confronted with incomplete product information. In such instances, they can eliminate the product from further consideration due to higher associated uncertainty or ask for more information. Alternatively, they can apply subjective theories about covariation to infer the value of missing attributes. This paper investigates the latter option in the context of sustainability and provides an in-depth exploration of consumers' inference formations. Drawing from rich qualitative data, it offers a conceptualization of the underlying relationships consumers use to infer product sustainability based on other product attributes. The study further assesses whether these findings can be captured in a quantifiable way. To this end, inferred sustainability is conceptualized as a formative second-order construct, thereby depicting the influence of inference-triggering product attributes. (authors' abstract)

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: To see the final version of this paper please visit the publisher's website. Access to the published version requires a subscription.
Keywords: Sustainability / Inter-Attribute Inferences / Consumer Behavior
Divisions: Departments > Marketing > Internationales Marketing Management > Schlegelmilch
Version of the Document: Accepted for Publication
Variance from Published Version: None
Depositing User: ePub Administrator
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2014 13:57
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2019 09:15
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