How consumers assess sustainability claims With the focus on exclusiveness of language and consumer’s expertise on sustainability
Previous research has demonstrated that the perception of the stakeholder concerning the sustainability performance of the firm, is affected by the interaction between exclusiveness of language in the claim and the expertise of the stakeholder. However, the role of consumer has been underexposed. Furthermore, the consumer was assumed to have little expertise concerning sustainability. This study focusses on consumers and assumes that consumers can possess different levels of expertise concerning sustainability. Hence, this study investigated the effects on consumers’ perception of sustainability performance of the firm and the consumer perception of the credibility of the claim, caused by the exclusiveness of language in sustainability claims and the level of expertise of consumers in sustainability. An experiment was conducted with 165 participants. Inclusive and exclusive sustainability claims, were used as vignettes to manipulate the participants. The results demonstrated that the combination of an inclusive sustainability claim and high expertise on sustainability leaded to lower perceived sustainability performance, while this perception for other combinations of exclusiveness of language and level of expertise was assumed to be the same.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen