Publication Date

2018-04-27

Availability

Open access

Embargo Period

2018-04-27

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

Communication (Communication)

Date of Defense

2018-04-02

First Committee Member

Cong Li

Second Committee Member

Alyse Lancaster

Third Committee Member

Juliana Fernandes

Fourth Committee Member

Nicholas Carcioppolo

Abstract

This dissertation investigated the emotive and attitudinal antecedents of consumer boycotting and buycotting behaviors in the context of brand activism. Public support was introduced as a potential moderator interacting with (a) attitude consistency, and (b) discrete emotions, in terms of their impact on attitudinal and behavioral outcome variables. The dissertation integrated the discrete emotion approach, as well as the theoretical framework of spiral of silence theory, the social loafing effect, and bystander effect. It was argued that not all discrete emotions impacted boycotting and buycotting behaviors equally. Furthermore, opposite moderation directions of public support were proposed based on two different theories: the spiral of silence theory focusing on the expressive nature of boycotting and buycotting behaviors, and the social loafing effect and bystander effect focusing on the instrumental nature of boycotting and buycotting behaviors. The study proposed 10 sets of hypotheses and four research questions which were answered through two research studies: in Study 1, an online survey was conducted where participants recalled their recent boycotting or buycotting experiences; in Study 2, the consistency of participants’ attitudes on sociopolitical issues compared to the target company, and magnitude of public support they received on their sociopolitical stance were manipulated in a hypothetical scenario. Results showed that boycotters and buycotters differed significantly in terms of the emotions of anger, contempt, disgust, authentic pride, hope, gratitude, elevation, and happiness. Moreover, gratitude was found to significantly predict brand attitude and behavior intentions (i.e., boycott and buycott intentions). Furthermore, it was found that public support interacted with both (a) emotion (e.g., gratitude) and (b) attitude consistency on brand attitude. In general, the more public support individuals obtained on their sociopolitical stance, the more they were impacted by emotions and attitude-consistency. Such an interaction can potentially be explained by spiral of silence theory, in that it was found that significant differences existed among three public support conditions (as seen in Study 2) on fear of isolation, which is the primary mediator of this theory.

Keywords

Brand activism; Emotion; Spiral of Silence Theory, Social Loafing Effect, Bystander Effect

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