Powering sustainable consumption: the roles of green consumption values and power distance belief

Li Yan, Hean Tat Keh, Xiaoyu Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


As human consumption is one of the key contributors to environmental problems, it is increasingly urgent to promote sustainable consumption. Drawing on the agentic-communal model of power, this research explores how the psychological feeling of power influences consumers’ preference for green products. We show that low power increases consumers’ preference for green (vs. conventional) products compared to high power (Studies 1a and 1b). Importantly, we identify two factors moderating the main effect of power on green consumption. Specifically, we find that the effect of power on green consumption is more salient among those with high green consumption values (Study 2). In addition, the effects of power are dynamic as a function of power distance belief (PDB), such that low power (vs. high power) promotes green consumption in the low-PDB context while high power (vs. low power) promotes green consumption in the high-PDB context (Study 3). Taken together, these findings provide novel insights into understanding green consumption from the perspectives of social power, green values, and PDB. Besides contributing to the literature, the findings have significant implications for marketers and policy-makers in promoting green campaigns, bridging the attitude-behavior gap, and building a more sustainable society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-516
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Green products
  • Power distance belief
  • Social power
  • Sustainable consumption

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