Individual values and motivational complexities in ethical clothing consumption: A means-end approach

Thomas Jägel, Kathy Keeling, Alexander Reppel, Thorsten Gruber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With the expansion of ethical consumption, there is an increased need to understand the variety of consumer motives for consumer engagement in such behaviour. For the rapidly growing area of ethical clothing, this study explores consumers' desired consumption outcomes and personal values that drive ethical product preferences. Analysis of data obtained through a semi-qualitative laddering approach (n = 98 ethical clothing consumers) reveals five dominant perceptual patterns relating not only to environmental and altruist ethical concerns, but also more individual motives of value for money, personal image, and well-being. Further analysis shows that consumers have to compromise and balance between their conflicting end-goals. The study augments previous findings in ethical clothing research, as researchers can better understand how specific attributes of products relate to the emotional and symbolic aspects and link back to consumer values. Though limited in scope by its exploratory character, the study contributes towards a deeper understanding of ethical consumer behaviour. Implications for theory practice and further research are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-396
JournalJournal of Marketing Management
Issue number3-4
Early online date21 Mar 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • ethical clothing
  • laddering
  • means-end approach
  • ethical consumption
  • personal values
  • complexities

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