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Event

PhD Thesis Defense Presentation: Tianfeng Shi

Friday, June 28, 2024 13:00to15:00

Tianfeng Shi

Ms. Tianfeng Shi, a doctoral student at McGill University in the area of Marketing will be presenting her thesis defense entitled:

Four Essays on Consumption Behavior in the Circular Economy

 

Friday, June 28, 2024 at 1:00 p.m.
(The defense will be conducted on Zoom)

Student Committee Chair: Professor Emine Sarigollu

Please note that the presentation will be conducted on Zoom. If you wish to attend the presentation, kindly contact the PhD Office.


ABSTRACT

The circular economic (CE) model of production and consumption serves as a sustainable alternative to the prevailing linear "take-make-waste" model by significantly reducing the environmental impacts of economic growth. For the CE to be effective, consumer participation is essential. This thesis investigates consumer participation in the CE through four essays, focusing on product purchase and usage behaviors that extend product lifespans (PLE), which is vital for the successful implementation of the CE. The first essay examines PLE-oriented product use behaviors, such as product care and upcycling. Based on a systematic literature review, this essay develops a conceptual framework that summarizes factors influencing these behaviors. This framework consists of two dimensions, product use stage and product value type, that explain how factors occurring at different product use stages shape consumers’ perceptions of product value and PLE-oriented product use behaviors. The second and third essays employ qualitative (consumer interviews) and quantitative (survey) research methods, respectively, to study a specific PLE-oriented product use behavior identified in the first essay, namely consumer upcycling. This behavior is one of the most resource-efficient practices to realize the CE vision, more so than other practices like recycling, but remains under-explored. In these two essays, we examine the internal motivations behind consumer upcycling, and further explore its relationship with purchase of commercial upcycled products. The findings show that perceived competence is the strongest internal motivation for consumer upcycling, followed by waste prevention and frugality. Moreover, we reveal a positive relationship between consumer upcycling and upcycled product purchase. This relationship is particularly evidenced by the finding that consumers who are motivated by waste prevention, social connectedness, and emotional attachment to do upcycling are more inclined to buy upcycled products. The fourth essay investigates consumer evaluation of upcycled products, specifically by examining the effect of product’s visual past identity, which is unique to upcycled products. In six experiments, we found that when upcycled products retain a high visual connection to their past identities, it negatively affects their evaluations through increasing perceived intrusiveness and decreasing perceived usefulness. Collectively, the four essays in this thesis enhance understanding of how consumers can contribute to the CE through their product purchase and use behaviors. The identified antecedents of these behaviors provide practical implications for practitioners to develop effective marketing strategies (e.g., communication, product design) to promote and facilitate consumers’ adoption of these behaviors.

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