Analyzing the effect of empathy and cynicism on green purchase intention with the mediating role of consumer ethical beliefs due to the environmental considerations

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of Business Management, Faculty of Economics and Management, Urmia University, Urmia, Iran.



Today, the environment is one of the concerns of human societies. Green products are closely related to the environment and consumers. Therefore, paying attention to the factors that affect the decision process of purchasing organic products is of particular importance. In this regard, this research examines the effect of empathy and pessimism on green purchase intention with the mediating role of consumer ethical beliefs, taking environmental considerations into account. The current research falls under the category of co-relational research in terms of its practical purpose and descriptive survey data collection method. Also, this research was conducted in the field. The statistical population of the research consists of consumers of green products in the city of Urmia. According to Morgan's table, the sample size of 400 consumers in Urmia City was selected by a simple random sampling method. The data collection tool is a standard questionnaire based on the Likert scale. Cronbach's alpha coefficient was used for the reliability of the questionnaire. Data analysis was done using the structural equation method and with the help of SPSS26, Smart PLS3 software. The results showed that empathy has a positive and significant effect on purchase beliefs and purchase intention. Also, purchase beliefs have a positive and significant effect on purchase intention. The effect of pessimism on moral beliefs and purchase intention is negative and significant. The mediating role of ethical beliefs in the relationship between empathy and pessimism with purchase intention was also confirmed.


Abraham, R., 2000. Organizational cynicism: Bases and consequences. Genetic, Social, and General Psychology Monographs 126(3), 269-292.
Alhosseini Almodarresi, S.M., Tabataba'i-Nasab, S.M., Bagheri Garabollagh, H., Mohammadi, F., 2019. Does citizenship behavior have a role in changing attitudes toward green products? International Journal of Management Science and Engineering Management 14(4), 284-292.‏
Amin, S., Tarun, M.T., 2021. Effect of consumption values on customers’ green purchase intention: a mediating role of green trust. Social Responsibility Journal 17(8), 1320-1336.
Barber. N.A.B.,  2014. Who pays more (or less) for pro-environmental consumer goods? Using the auction method to assess actual willingness - to - pay. Journal of Environmental Psychology 40, 218-227.
Baron-Cohen, S., 2012. Zero degrees of empathy: A new theory of human cruelty and kindness. London, England: Penguin Books.
Brown, K. A.-W., 2019. Empathy, place, and identity interactions for sustainability. Global Environmental Change 56, 11-17.
Chan, R.K., 2001. Determinants of Chinese consumers ' green purchase behavior. Psychology and Marketing 18(4), 389-413.
Chan, R.W., 2008. Applying ethical concepts to the study of “green” consumer behavior: An analysis of Chinese consumers' intentions to bring their own shopping bags. Journal of Business Ethics 79, 469-481.
Chan, R.Y., 2000. Antecedents of green purchases: a survey in China. Journal of Consumer Marketing 17(4), 338-357.
Chowdhury, R.M., 2014. The relationships of empathy, moral identity and cynicism with consumers’ ethical beliefs: The mediating role of moral disengagement. Journal of Business Ethics 124(4), 677-694.
Chowdhury, R.M., 2020. Personal values and consumers’ ethical beliefs: The mediating roles of moral identity and machiavellianism. Journal of Macromarketing 40(3), 415-431.
Chowdury A.,D.M., 2016. Green Banking Practics in Bangkadesh. Business Innovation 3(8), 15-23.
Dean, M.L., 2008. Predicting intentions to purchase organic food: The role of affective and moral attitudes in the Theory of Planned Behaviour. Elsevier 50(2-3), 443-454.
Dissanayake, D.S., 2022. The Mediating Mechanism of Consumer Ethical Beliefs in Determining the Influence of Cynicism and Empathy on Green Buying Intention. Vidyodaya Journal of Management 8(1).
Giammarco, E.A., Vernon, P.A., 2014. Vengeance and the Dark Triad: The role of empathy and perspective taking in trait forgivingness. Personality and Individual Differences 67, 23-29.
Haghighi, M.M., 2011. Marketing Purchasing Position in Consumer Behavior. Journal of Organizational Culture Management 9, 83-102.
Helm, A.E., 2006. Cynical consumers: dangerous enemies, loyal friends (Doctoral dissertation, University of Missouri--Columbia).
Honkanen, P. V., 2006. Ethical values and motives driving organic food choice. Journal of Consumer Behaviour: An International Research Review 5(5), 420-430.
Jaiswal, D.S., 2018. Toward sustainable consumption: Investigating the determinants of green buying behavior of Indian consumers. Business Strategy and Development 1(1), 64-73.
Jaiswal, N., 2012. Green products: Availability, awareness and preference of use by the families. Indian Journal of Environmental Education 12, 21-25.
Khan, K., 2022. Factors Influencing Green Buying Behavior of "Generation Z" in Pakistan. Pakistan: Faculty of Management and Social Sciences.
Khodami, S.N., 2017. Designing a Green Purchase Intention Model Based on Environmental and Individual Perceptual Factors with Emphasis on the Role of Consumer Value Perceptions. Journal of Socio - Cultural Development Studies 5(4), 75-103.
Lu, L.C., Chang, H.H., Chang, A., 2015. Consumer personality and green buying intention: The mediate role of consumer ethical beliefs. Journal of Business Ethics 127, 205-219.
Maniatis, P., 2015. Investigating factors influencing consumer decision-making while choosing green products. Journal of Cleaner Production 132, 215-228.
Mete, Y.A., 2013. Relationship between organizational cynicism and ethical leadership behaviour: A study at higher education. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences 89, 476-483.
Worsley, A., Wang, W.C., Burton, M., 2015. Food concerns and support for environmental food policies and purchasing. Appetite 91, 48-55.
Michaelidou, N., 2008. The role of health consciousness, food safety concern and ethical identity on attitudes and intentions towards organic food. International Journal of Consumer Studies 32(2), 163-170.
Mohajan, H., 2012. Green marketing is a sustainable marketing system in the twenty first century. International Journal of Management and Transformation 6(2), 23-39.
Mostafa, M.M., 2007. Gender differences in Egyptian consumers‟ green purchase behaviour: the effects of environmental knowledge, concern and attitude. International Journal of Consumer Studies 31(3), 220-229.
Paul, J., Modi, A., Patel, J., 2016. Predicting green product consumption using theory of planned behavior and reasoned action. Journal of retailing and consumer services  29, 123-134. (in Persian)
Shukor, M.S., Sulaiman, Z., Chin, T.A., Mas’od, A., 2019. Effect of cynicism towards environmentally responsible purchase behaviour of energy efficient vehicle among Malaysian consumers. Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai, Negotia 64(1).‏
 Samarasinghe, D.S., 2012. Green consumerism: Individual's ethics and politics as predictors of pro-environmental behaviour. Delhi Business Review 13(1), 41-48.
Smith, A., 2009. The theory of moral sentiments New York. NY: Penguin Books.
Souza, C., 2015. An Empirical Study on the Influence of Environmental Labels on Consumers. Corporate Communications , International Journal 11(2), 162-173.
Vice, S., 2011. Cynicism and morality. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 14(2), 169-184.
Vitell, S.J., 2003. Consumer ethics research: Review, synthesis and suggestions for the future. Journal of Business Ethics 43(1-2), 33-47.
Vitell, S.J., 2015. “The General Theory of Marketing Ethics: The Consumer Ethics and Intentions Issues,” in Handbook of Ethics and Marketing, Alexander Nill, ed. Cheltenham. UK: Edward Elgar 15-37.
Webb, D.J., 2008. A re-examination of socially responsible consumption and its measurement. Journal of business research 61(2), 91-98.
Wei, C.F., Chiang, C.T., 2017. Toward sustainable livelihoods: Investigating the drivers of purchase behavior for green products. Business strategy and the environment 26(5), 626-639.
Abbasi, A., Mansourabadi, Z., Mahmoud Shahi, S., 2016. The effect of corporate social responsibility on consumer trust and purchasing intention by emphasizing the mediating role of consumer satisfaction. Journal of Business Management 8(4), 883-900.
Niroumand, S., Khajedaluee, M., Khadem-Rezaiyan, M., Abrishami, M., Juya, M., Khodaee, G., Dadgarmoghaddam, M., 2015. Atherogenic Index of Plasma (AIP): A marker of cardiovascular disease. Medical Journal of the Islamic Republic of Iran 29, 240. (in Persian)
Maleki Minbashrazgah, M., Varmaghani, M., bagheri garbollagh, H., 2019. Creating Competitive Advantage: An Investigation of Dimensions Green Human Resource Management on the Green Supply Chain Management with the Moderating Role of Green Innovativeness in Industrial Firms. Journal of Executive Management 11(21), 129-152. (in persian)
Pirayesh Mayvan, R., Nabieyan, S., Khajepour, E., 2020. Consumer intention to buy green agricultural products in Kerman: Taking into account environmental considerations. Journal of Natural Environment 73(2), 243-256. (in Persian)
Zand Hessami, H., Yousefi, P., 2013. Investigation of major factors influencing green purchasing behavior: Interactive approach. European Online Journal of Natural and Social Sciences 2(4), pp-584. (in Persian)
Wu, B., Yang, Z., 2018. The impact of moral identity on consumers’ green consumption tendency: The role of perceived responsibility for environmental damage. Journal of Environmental Psychology 59, 74-84.
Toulabi, Z., Arvaneh, M., Shojaeian, P., 2021. The role of Green perceived value on the attitude towards green products and the intention to buy the consumer. Environmental Education and Sustainable Development 9(3), 81-98. (in Persian)
Ghafourian, A., Behboodi, O., Arabshahi, M., Khani Sahraei, S., 2020. Investigating factors affecting the ethical buying behavior of green product consumers. Consumer Behavior Studies Journal 7(2), 235-253. (in Persion)
Witek, L., Kuźniar, W., 2020. Green purchase behavior: The effectiveness of sociodemographic variables for explaining green purchases in the emerging market. Sustainability 13(1), 209.