Chapter 20: The Arab Consumer Boycott of American Products: Motives and Intentions
Maya F. Farah INTRODUCTION Whether boycotted for acting against well-established human rights, against the environment, or even against animal rights, companies increasingly face the risk of consumers voting through their wallets for the type of societies they want to live in. Boycotts can target the goods produced by a particular company or they may target all the companies of a specific country for political reasons. By withholding purchases from companies or countries that they perceive as abusive, consumers expect to increase corporate and governmental sensitivity to their economic, environmental, political and social concerns (Sen et al., 2001). This area of research is of particular importance for a number of reasons including (1) the growth in boycott frequency accompanying the trend toward less governmental regulation of business (Friedman, 1985), (2) the sophistication of boycott organizers, who are increasingly adopting high-tech methods such as computerized mailing lists and large databases of consumers’ mobile numbers (Garrett, 1987), and (3) the growing recognition of boycotts as a legal form of social protest, whereby promoters and participants are not held liable for financial damage inflicted on targeted companies (Garrett, 1987) . An extensive review of the literature reveals that only a few attempts have been made to tackle the variables that influence consumers’ individual boycott decisions (for example, Klein and John, 2003; Klein et al., 2004; Kozinets and Handelman, 1998). This study aims to fill the gap by exploring the various beliefs that lie at the core of those decisions by adopting an established socio-psychological model,...
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