Academic journal article International Journal of Business and Information

How Customers' Perceptions of Environmental Sustainability Information Moderate the Relationship between Social Media Use and Their Intention to Purchase Technology-Based Products

Academic journal article International Journal of Business and Information

How Customers' Perceptions of Environmental Sustainability Information Moderate the Relationship between Social Media Use and Their Intention to Purchase Technology-Based Products

Article excerpt

1.INTRODUCTION

Environmental sustainability (ES) has become a significantly discussed topic (Wiemik, et al., 2013; Millson, 2012; Joiremen, et al., 2010; Melville, 2010). Many people view this topic as important especially because of the increased focus on and study of global warming (Cook, et al., 2014; Collins et al., 2010). Several authors disagree with the premise that "global warming: [is] persistent and ubiquitous" and believe instead that the issue is not global warming so much as it is changing climate (Collins et al., 2010; Cook et al., 2014). Whether global warming is ubiquitous or not, one might surmise that warnings of global warming would encourage potential consumers to have increased intentions to purchase products that are associated with environmental sustainability or the green movement. Other authors and researchers, however, have stated that ". . .there is no proof of a direct link between human-caused emissions of CO2, and global warming" (Katz, 2010, p. 6). Others have stated, "Many of us know (or at least should know) that this panic doesn't have a solid ground, that it has not been set off by rational arguments, that it demonstrates an apparent disregard of the past experience of mankind, and that its substance is not science" (Václav, 2009, p. 45). Suggestions, comments, and publications such as these can and may have the opposite effect on the thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors of potential and present consumers of new, technology-based products.

1.1. Problem Formulation

Several recent publications have pointed out that the demand for new technology-based products by both consumers and businesses is increasing at an amazing pace in a wide variety of fields and disciplines (Weller, 2017; Park, 2017; Putano, 2017; Solis, 2016; McLaughlin, 2012; Weil, 2008). Such a rapid increase in demand makes consumers' intentions to buy such products an exceptionally important area to study. Given the significant increase in demand for new technology-based products, it also becomes exceedingly important to study the factors thought to be associated with such demand.

Research by Lică and Tută (2011a) has identified two activities in which many people participate; namely, (1) the use of social media to obtain purchase information on new technology-based products (SMPI), and (2) the use of social media for communicating with friends (SMCF). It is thought that these two activities may influence consumers' intention to buy new technology-based products. It is also believed, given the importance of climate change and/or global warming, that the connections that new technology-based product producers make between their communication programs to be good stewards of the environment and their new technology-based products may also have a moderating impact on the associations between (1) the use of social media to obtain new technology-based product purchase information (SMPI), and (2) the use of social media for communicating with friends (SMCF) and consumers' intention to purchase new technology-based products. It appears that there is a paucity of knowledge and understanding about the interaction among these factors. This study aims, therefore, to fill the knowledge gap that exists regarding the strength of the associations these factors have relative to one another.

For the purpose of this study, environmentally sustainable public information is defined as a combination of marketing and other publicly available information that might be used by consumers to make product purchase decisions. In this study, technology-based products are defined as tangible products (goods) such as those produced by the communications, computer, or medical devices industries; for example, those that are of interest to this study's respondents and with which this study's respondents are familiar. It was not assumed, however, that respondents who participated in this study had already purchased these products at the time the study was conducted. …

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