WALK THE GREEN TALK: The Effect of Communication Styles in Corporate Green Claims on Consumers’ Green Trust and Green Skepticism

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This study examines the effect of two different communication styles, or types of language (exclusive and inclusive), on consumers’ green trust and green skepticism. The role of green expertise as a moderator is also considered. An experiment was conducted with a (net) sample of 209 respondents. MANCOVA and several other analyses were performed to test the proposed hypotheses. Surprisingly, the results of the main analysis indicated that the type of language used in corporate green claims has no effect on consumers’ green trust and skepticism, and that green expertise plays no significant role. However, the results of additional analyses suggested that the scenarios used in the experiment may not have been optimal and that the type of language used in green communications does affect consumers’ responses. Based on these results, it appears that exclusive language leads to more green trust and less green skepticism than inclusive language, as hypothesized. For business managers and marketers, these findings highlight the importance of focusing not only on the content of communications, but also on the style of communications in terms of linguistic structures. The limitations of this study are also discussed and recommendations for further research are offered.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen