Monthly Archives: October 2012

The role of guilt and pride in sustainable purchases

Paolo Antonetti,
Cranfield PhD

A synopsis of his PhD research, by Paolo Antonetti at Cranfield School of Management.

My doctoral research investigates how emotions of guilt and pride influence consumers’ decisions to purchase ‘sustainable’ or ‘ethical’ alternatives. These are products that promote sustainable credentials such as fair-trade or environmentally friendly products. Scholars in the past assumed that sustainable consumer behaviour is the outcome of a rational decision-making process and neglected the role of emotions. On the contrary, we know that certain emotions are very important in supporting ethical behaviour and promoting self-regulation. My doctoral research redresses this imbalance in the literature, showing how guilt and pride can be key driver for the solution of environmental and social sustainability challenges and explaining how these emotions influence consumers’ purchase decisions.

I conducted three different studies adopting a multiple methods approach. The first study is a qualitative investigation based on in-depth interviews conducted with 30 consumers in the UK. It adopts a methodology called the Zaltman Metaphor Elictation Technique that uses images during the interviewing process to facilitate consumers in verbalising their emotions. The second and third study are online experiments conducted with random samples of consumers in the US.

Considering together the results of the three investigations, the research presents the following key findings. Firstly, it demonstrates that intentionality is not necessary in order to experience guilt or pride and that consumers experience these emotions even when the purchase of an ethical or unethical product is caused by the circumstances of the purchase. For example, the experiments show that consumers feel proud of buying ethical products even when the sustainable alternative is the only one available. This means that feelings of guilt or pride can be leveraged by marketers even when the purchase of an ethical or unethical product could be rationalized and attributed to situational circumstances. Furthermore the study shows that guilt and pride have a positive impact on consumers’ intentions to purchase ethical products in the future and it also shows that consumers’ efficacy beliefs about sustainability mediate this effect. This finding shows that emotional experiences are important because they influence our beliefs about sustainability. In fact, feelings of guilt and pride reinforce our beliefs that sustainable consumption choices can make a contribution to sustainability. These emotions are therefore particularly important in social marketing campaigns not just for their ability to change behaviour but also for the effect they have on our attitudes.

Finally, the qualitative study explores the process that leads to consumers’ emotional experiences and identifies five key dimensions that lead to stronger feelings of guilt and pride. I find, for example, that consumers who tend to value more altruistic goals in their lives, experience stronger feelings of guilt or pride (1). Equally when consumers believe that a certain issue is morally relevant (2), that claims about a product are credible (3), that there is a trade-off between personal and social benefits (4) and that the decision is visible to others (5); will tend to experience stronger emotions because these five dimensions reinforce the self-control process. Marketers can leverage the five dimensions in order to elicit stronger feelings of guilt or pride.

The research contributes to existing debates on ethical consumption and present important findings for scholars interested in the promotion of sustainable consumer behaviour. The implications of the research, therefore, are relevant for businesses and governments interested in the promotion of more sustainable consumption patterns.


Planned organizational change

Ruth Murray-Webster,
Cranfield DBA

A synopsis of her International Executive Doctorate (DBA) research, by Ruth Murray-Webster at Cranfield School of Management.

I’m researching planned organizational change, purposeful investments that are intended to transform strategically important work through a temporary organisational structure (a project, programme or change initiative).  There is lots of existing research in this area, but much of this focuses on change agents, the people who are tasked with bringing about the change.  My research focuses on the organizational routines that are intended to be changed, and the people whose work would change if efforts were successful – I call those people change recipients.  I’m also interested in the role of the change recipients’ line manager as they often are required to span the boundary between the change agents in the temporary team, and the change recipients in the standing organization.

I am researching this area by focusing on the organizational routines that are intended to change and ‘unpacking’ these to understand their internal dynamics, and the factors that are most influential in promoting change, or reinforcing current practices resulting in stability.

My work joins the conversation that started with a 2005 paper published by Feldman and Pentland.   This work started an interest in why routines, that are designed to bring reliability and stability are constantly changing.  The primary contribution that my research will make is to add to this conversation insights from routines that are intended to change.  My field work so far includes a case of an organisation where apparently ‘text-book’ change efforts over four years resulted in stability when change was intended.  I am in the process of researching more cases, using qualitative methods that are philosophically consistent with the conversation, i.e. the study of the internal dynamics of routines using a social practice perspective.  As a result my data collection includes reflective diaries, focus groups and review of documentation and other forms of verbal and written down ‘conversation’, e.g. emails.

I am using a research methodology that operationalizes structuration theory.  This is quite complex and my work will make a methodological contribution to the literature in this area.

I am doing a DBA however, because I want to also make a contribution to practice and practitioners, particularly those change agents who are tasked with crafting approaches to bring about strategically beneficial planned change in their organization.  My work will definitely do this.

There is one year to go before my thesis will be complete and submitted.

How is a manufacturing network configured for servitization?

Mehmet Cakkol,
Cranfield PhD

A synopsis of his PhD research, by Mehmet Cakkol at Cranfield School of Management.

“Manufacturing matters. It creates wealth, sustains jobs and is central to our economic success. It has been the foundation of our strength as a trading nation in both the past and the present” (Department of Business Innovation and Skills, 2008).

Recent reports by UK government agencies have shown that even though productivity has increased drastically for the last decades, profitability of manufacturing is proportionally decreasing. One of the main reasons for this low profitability is the rise of low-cost manufacturing in developing economies. In response to increasing competition from low cost economies, recent years have witnessed a growth of interest in western manufacturers attempting to move downstream to provide innovative solutions composed of associated services and manufactured goods.

This shift has been termed the ‘servitization of manufacturing’. The supposed move towards servitization is argued to comprise a radical departure from traditional ways of working, with an associated need for structural realignment of management principles. Extant literature on servitization predominantly focuses on changes within the manufacturing organisation. In particular, these studies focus on the focal firm’s internal processes, functions and capabilities for the provision of servitized offerings neglecting the network level relationships with customers, partners or suppliers. Especially in high value manufacturing where offerings are composed of complex products and services, organisations tend to couple with multiple stakeholders ranging from commodity suppliers to strategic alliances in order to provide and support offerings.

In addition, it is also argued that today competition is not amongst the companies but rather amongst the supply chains. Within this context, recent literature argues that strategies towards servitization significantly impact supply networks. However, little is known in both academia and practice as to how these networks are configured to provide servitized offerings. Thus, there is an emerging need to study the implications of servitization on the supply networks. This research is one of the first known studies to address this issue by adopting a case based research on the implications of servitized offerings on the supply network of a large-scale manufacturer in the UK.

The results of the case study show that servitized offerings require different network configurations in terms of structures and relationships. These offerings require more complex configurations compared to the traditional product offerings. In particular, this research identifies the key emergent attributes of inter-organisational relationships in a servitizing network. As a result, a conceptual model is developed to demonstrate the relationships amongst the emergent attributes. Of further importance is that the key attributes related to the product offerings were all based on the manufacturer and centred on the product features. On the other hand for the product-service offerings, the focus was not only on manufacturer but also supply network was equally important in the provision of these offerings. At the same time, the attributes were mainly around the service component of the offering. However as we move towards the full solution offerings, the attributes were all based around the customers’ business. Contrary to some extant literature, this research showed that there is not a wholesale migration towards services, but goods, services and solutions can be sold in parallel and most importantly these depend on customers’ demand.

For further information about the on-going research regarding the implications of servitized business models on supply networks, please contact the corresponding author.

Segmented supply chain strategy at BAT

Chris Clemmow, TOM Deployment Manager (Operations) outlines the supply chain challenges that BAT faces and how they are working to achieve organic growth through the deployment of innovation whilst also developing a network of supply which will provide them with benefits of scale.

Agile Supply Chain Research Club

“Dynamic technology leadership – the adaptive role of the CTO”


Chris van der Hoven wrote:

IRI Logo

This month Keith and I have another article in Research Technology Management  (The IRI’s Journal) co-authored with 2 Cambridge colleagues (Dave Probert and Rob Phaal). The article is called “Dynamic Technology Leadership – The Adaptive Role of the CTO” and is the feature article in the September-October 2012 edition of RTM (Volume 55, No. 5).

In essence we set out an alternative paradigm for CTO’s and Innovation Leaders in their quest to manage business critical discontinuities. We suggest that reliance on economic cycle, product / technology life-cycle, and business life-cycle models, for making strategic decisions is less useful than an understanding of what we have called “Technology Transition Points”.


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Reflections and challenges facing procurement recruitment during the recession

Doug Rode, Managing Director of Procurement and Supply Chain at Michael Page talks about some of the misconceptions around the ease of recruiting over the past few years given the current economic climate. Whilst social media and the internet have facilitated easier access to the right candidates, Doug also points out that the recruitment process itself can have a big impact on keeping the right person engaged.

Cranfield/CIPS Executive Procurement Network

The language of profit: a different perspective on the supply chain

Dr Silvia Rossi speaks to Dr Andrew Palmer about the CO3 project and how it aims to increase the efficiency of transport in Europe through increased horizontal collaboration. Andrew also runs through the characteristics of individuals who enable collaborations to succeed.

Agile Supply Chain Research Club

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