Understanding the Inherent Complexity of Sustainable Consumption: A Social Cognitive Framework

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalJournal of Business Research
StatePublished - Aug 1 2013


  • Social cognitive theory
  • Sustainable consumption
  • Reciprocal determinism
  • Sharing
  • Conservation


  • Business
  • Economics

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