Understanding the inherent complexity of sustainable consumption: A social cognitive framework

This article explores the potential of a theoretical framework, based on social cognitive theory (SCT), to inspire future research into sustainable consumption. The SCT framework provides a dynamic perspective on sustainable consumption through exploring the interactive nature of personal, environmental and behavioral factors of consumption. The SCT framework, which builds on prior theoretical models of sustainable consumption, incorporates the concept of reciprocal determinism, wherein personal, environmental and behavioral factors create a feedback loop to influence each other. Two examples, toy sharing in New Zealand and water conservation in Australia, illustrate the dynamic nature of sustainable consumption and the potential of an SCT based framework to provide a more nuanced view of behavioral change in this context. From these two examples, several ideas for future research emerge to help illustrate the potential of SCT to inform and inspire the next wave of research on sustainable consumption.


sustainable development  sustainable consumption  social interaction  social dynamics  social cognitive theory  sharing  reciprocal determinism  economic models  consumption (economics)  conservation  verstehen  sustainability 


Marcus Phipps, Lucie K. Ozanne, Todd Weaver, Bonnie Simpson, Michael G. Luchs, Randall L. Rose, Rebecca Walker Naylor, Roland Gau, Jesse R. Catlin, Sommer Kapitan, and Saroja Subrahmanyan (2013). Understanding the inherent complexity of sustainable consumption: A social cognitive framework. Journal of Business Research, 66(8), Pages 1227-1234. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2012.08.016



Marcus Phipps
Lucie K. Ozanne
Todd Weaver
Bonnie Simpson
Michael G. Luchs
Randall L. Rose
Rebecca Walker Naylor
Roland Gau
Jesse R. Catlin
Sommer Kapitan
Saroja Subrahmanyan

Journal of Business Research | 2013


Share Publication

Engage with Us

TCR creates opportunities for engagements between practitioners, funders and researchers, and supports efforts of scholars and practitioners to disseminate and publicize their research and work, and obtain mentoring and advice on grant applications.

While many of these opportunities are freely available, we encourage scholars and practitioners to become a member of the Association of Consumer Research to help continue funding our work and to obtain additional benefits.