The mechanisms behind organic consumers' information seeking behaviour. A case study of highly educated, heavy organic consumers

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This dissertation aims to provide novel insight into the mechanisms behind highly educated, heavy organic consumers’ information seeking behaviour. Drawing from theoretical insights in the information behaviour literature, these mechanisms are unveiled in terms of information needs, motives, and barriers. The aim of this dissertation is to provide new insight into information seeking behaviour of organic consumers, to contribute to the academic documentation, and to understand organic consumer behaviour. The study is based on primary data collected from 13 in-depth interviews conducted in the Netherlands. The main conclusion is that two types of highly educated, heavy organic consumers emerge. Although all consumers were driven by physiological motives, a dichotomy exists between those who are mainly driven by cognitive motives and those mainly driven by affective motives. Both experience having extensive knowledge of organic foods. The consumers with strong affective motives rely on this knowledge, which prevents them from forming information needs. This reliance on one’s own knowledge therefore simultaneously forms this group's main barrier. In contrast, consumers driven by strong cognitive motives have a great desire for knowledge, resulting in strong information needs. These individuals’ intrinsic need for information leads them to prioritise information seeking, and experience few barriers in their behaviour.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen