Hankammer, Stephan; Kleer, Robin; Piller, Frank (Academy of Management, 2018)
In this study, we shed light on the unexplored potential of customer co-creation in a mass customization (MC) setting to contribute to the promotion of sustainable consumption. We theoretically derive and empirically test a number of opportunities for companies to improve corporate sustainability in a joint effort with consumers. Our research bridges between the MC and the sustainability literatures and shows that MC enables consumers to cohere attitude and action based on individual sustainability preferences. We use a mixed-method approach to empirically assess whether MC companies can nudge their customers successfully towards more sustainable choices by designing sustainability-based starting solutions and by providing sustainability information in MC configuration systems. We do so by portraying a simulated online buying process of a customizable TV with a realistic web-based product configurator. We find that offering goods with customizable attributes of different sustainability levels gives consumers the ability to customize products reflecting their individual consciousness for sustainable consumption (CfSC). Moreover, sustainable default settings play a significant role in promoting sustainable consumption, while providing detailed sustainability information does not show an effect. To get more insights into our results, we discuss the results on a supplementary qualitative analysis, revealing also a number of suggestions for future research
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