Date of Award

8-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management

Major Professor

Ann E. Fairhurst

Committee Members

Rodney C. Runyan, Carol A. Costello, Daniel J. Flint

Abstract

The study examines the phenomenon of purchasing locally produced foods in retail grocery stores. Theoretical foundations from the theory of planned behavior and from the stimulus-organism-response framework were used to support and test a model that hypothesized relationships between attitude, subjective norms, perceived consumer effectiveness, perceived product availability, intention to purchase, store atmospheric responsiveness, price consciousness, and extent of purchase behavior in a retail grocery setting.

An online survey methodology was used to collect 600 responses across the United States. A two-step approach to structural equation modeling was used to test the relationships. Confirmatory factor analysis with measurement model development supported the hypotheses of store atmospheric responsiveness as a multidimensional construct reflected in four specific dimensions (1) product assortment responsiveness, (2) display factors responsiveness, (3) customer service responsiveness, and (4) store promotions responsiveness. The construct of perceived consumer effectiveness (PCE) was found to highly correlate with attitude and PCE was subsequently dropped as an independent latent construct.

Results from analysis of the fitted structural model indicated that attitude and perceived product availability were significant positive indicators of intention to purchase, while subjective norms indicated a significant negative relationship to intention to purchase. A significant positive direct effect between intention to purchase and extent of purchase and a significant positive indirect effect through that of store atmospheric responsiveness was found, suggesting that store atmospheric responsiveness partially mediates the relationship. Consumer price consciousness was found to not significantly moderate the relationship between intention to purchase and extent of purchase. From the results, academic and managerial implications were suggested. For future research directions, four distinct categories emerged; they included (1) a focus on store atmospherics, specifically store atmospheric responsiveness when shopping for locally produced foods, (2) analysis of group differences between shoppers of locally produced foods, (3) category analysis of locally produced food items, and (4) research on the pricing of locally produced foods.

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