Reducing Ingroup Bias in Ethical Consumption: The Role of Construal Levels and Social Goodwill

Diego Costa Pinto, Adilson Borges, Márcia Maurer Herter, Mário Boto Ferreira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
147 Downloads (Pure)


Business ethics research has long been interested in understanding the conditions under which ethical consumption is consistent versus context-dependent. Extant research suggests that many consumers fail to make consistent ethical consumption decisions and tend to engage in ethical decisions associated with ingroup (vs. outgroup) identity cues. To fill this gap, four experiments examine how construal levels moderate the influence of ingroup versus outgroup identity cues in ethical consumption. The studies support the contention that when consumers use concrete construal to process information, they will focus on ingroup cues and make ethical consumption decisions that are aligned with ingroup biases. However, when consumers use abstract construal, they will act more consistently with their inner goals rather than focusing on ingroup and outgroup cues. Social goodwill, which indicates desires to give back to society, is identified as mediating the effects. The findings have important implications for ethical consumption and social influence literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-63
Number of pages33
JournalBusiness Ethics Quarterly
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • construal level theory
  • ethical consumption
  • identity cues
  • ingroup bias
  • social influence


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