Macro-level interventions in systems of wicked consumption

Davide C. Orazi, Matthias Koch, Srishti Varma

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


The consumption of addictive substances such as sugar, nicotine, and alcohol represent a major risk for noncommunicable diseases including diabetes and cancer. Despite that these wicked consumptions constitute a well-known threat to societal welfare, eradicating them is challenging for at least two reasons. First, wicked consumptions are habitual and addictive, leading to the automatisation and repetition of the consumption behaviour with minimal effort and ignoring information challenging the consumption. Habituality and addictiveness thus make wicked consumption behaviours resistant to individual-level interventions aimed at behavioural change. Second, wicked consumptions are embedded in complex and interconnected market systems we term ‘systems of wicked consumption’. These systems facilitate the proliferation of wicked consumptions through enticing promotion, placement, and pricing strategies. This chapter begins by introducing the etiology of wicked consumptions, focusing on their habituality and addictiveness. Next, we bring forth the notion of systems of wicked consumption and explain the tensions arising between the conflicting stakeholders embedded therein. We conclude by presenting a range of macro-level interventions that, by targeting the very structure of wicked systems, may prove to be far more effective than individual-level interventions in curbing the diffusion of wicked consumptions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMacro-Social Marketing Insights
Subtitle of host publicationSystems Thinking for Wicked Problems
EditorsAnne-Marie Kennedy
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780429452307
ISBN (Print)9781138322080
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameRoutledge Interpretive Marketing Research

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