The nature of slacktivism: How the social observability of an initial act of token support affects subsequent prosocial action

Kirk Kristofferson, Katherine White, John Peloza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

141 Scopus citations

Abstract

Prior research offers competing predictions regarding whether an initial token display of support for a cause (such as wearing a ribbon, signing a petition, or joining a Facebook group) subsequently leads to increased and otherwise more meaningful contributions to the cause. The present research proposes a conceptual framework elucidating two primary motivations that underlie subsequent helping behavior: a desire to present a positive image to others and a desire to be consistent with one's own values. Importantly, the socially observable nature (public vs. private) of initial token support is identified as a key moderator that influences when and why token support does or does not lead to meaningful support for the cause. Consumers exhibit greater helping on a subsequent, more meaningful task after providing an initial private (vs. public) display of token support for a cause. Finally, the authors demonstrate how value alignment and connection to the cause moderate the observed effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1149-1166
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Volume40
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing

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