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EMAC 2023 Annual

Plastic Consumption: Immoral or Practical? Implementing Implicit Attitudes into a Moral Decoupling Perspective

Published: May 24, 2023


Rebekka Böhm, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel


This paper examines plastic consumption from a moral decoupling perspective. It is hypothesized that moral decoupling mediates the effect of perceived individual relevance of the transgression (plastic consumption) on judgments of performance and morality which in turn have an influence on whether consumers intent to buy packaged products or not. To test the research model, two studies were conducted – one which focused on applying the moral decoupling model to this specific context, analyzing explicit attitudes in an online study and one which implemented the Implicit Association Test (IAT) to further extend research findings and to consider implicit attitudes as well. Results indicate that whether consumers buy plastic packaged products depends on their perception of plastic as practical or morally wrong. Further, implicit attitudes significantly influence whether or not consumers will morally decouple performance from moral aspects.