Reducing the Attitude-Behavior Gap in Sustainable Consumption: A Theoretical Proposition and the American Electric Vehicle Market

Diane Martin, Terhi Väistö

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose The purpose of this paper is to re-evaluate the sustainable attitude-behavior gap by reconsidering the cognitive-rational aspects of consumer purchase behavior. We aim to show how companies can benefit from focusing on hedonic aspects of consumption in their marketing of sustainable products. We claim that consumer culture research needs to examine the link between hedonic, aesthetic, and cognitive-rational aspects of sustainable consumption.

Methodology/approach We use the electric vehicle marketing strategy in the United States as an example of an approach to bridge the attitude-behavior gap. More specifically, we focus on the car manufacturer Tesla as an example of marketing a sustainable product.

Findings We find that Tesla’s marketing strategy focuses on aesthetics and hedonics-ludic performance. Similarly to other luxury cars, Tesla markets itself with a full compliment of consumer benefits. Compared to economical electric vehicles, sustainability is not the primary focus of Tesla’s marketing communication strategy.

Research limitations/implications Sustainable consumption theory benefits from examining the interlinking of hedonic, aesthetic and cognitive-rational aspects product purchasing and use. Future research in the development of sustainable consumption theory in additional complex product categories is needed.

Practical implications Greater regard for consumer experience in sustainable consumption offers the potential for additional strategies to bridge the attitude-behavior gap and marketing of sustainable goods.

Originality/value We move beyond the attitude-behavior gap by not only focusing on expressed attitudes of sustainability, but also focusing on the hedonic aspects at play in sustainable consumption.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMarketing In and For a Sustainable Society
EditorsNaresh K. Malhotra
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-78635-281-1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Publication series

NameReview of marketing research
ISSN (Print)1548-6435


  • attitude-behavior gap
  • electric vehicles
  • hedonic
  • aesthetic
  • automotive consumption

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