Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Business Administration



First Advisor

Scott Vitell

Second Advisor

John P. Bentley

Third Advisor

Melissa Cinelli

Relational Format



An increasing number of consumers are making consumption decisions based on perceptions of a firm's social performance. In other words, many consumers take into account a firm's impact on society and the environment when deciding where they will spend their money. Thus, it is important for firms to understand what these consumers perceive to be important indicators of a firm's social performance. A potential element of social performance that has yet to be studied is local ownership as well as its influence on consumers' store perceptions and consumption decisions. As large, national chains increasingly threaten the existence of smaller, locally-owned businesses, some consumers have shown an aversion to these national chains and "buycott" local businesses as a way of showing support for local firms and their communities. In this research, a local shopping preference (LSP) scale that measures one's preference for shopping at locally-owned stores is proposed, developed, validated, and shown to be strongly related to consumer social responsibility. Next, localness, as a store selection criterion, is measured alongside other, more prevalent store choice determinants to evaluate the relative magnitude of localness's influence. Potential antecedents of LSP are tested, and it is found that three consumer values (materialism, consumer ethnocentrism, and environmentalism) and household income are associated with the new construct. It is also demonstrated that consumers with a high LSP are willing to pay a premium over what similar merchandise would cost at a national chain. The average premium willing to be paid was 16%. The manuscript concludes with a discussion of the results, including contributions to the theoretical understanding of the socially responsible consumer and actionable insights for managers of locally-owned stores.

Included in

Marketing Commons



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