Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management

Major Professor

Youn-Kyung Kim

Committee Members

Ann Fairhurst. Carole Costello. Robert Ladd


This study is designed to examine the phenomenon of organic food consumption. The overarching goal is to help researchers and marketing practitioners understand how the phenomenon is generated, how organic shoppers experience organic food consumption, and to find significant elements in organic food consumption. Thus, this study examined the phenomenon in two manners. First, a qualitative study was explored to enrich our understanding about the meaning of organic foods and how organic foods are used to achieve organic shoppers’ goals and values. In-depth interviews with fifteen organic shoppers were analyzed by laddering/HVM. The result shows that a means-end hierarchy structure was applicable to organic food consumption. Second, an empirical study tested and validated the Means-End Theory by employing both objective, othersoriented and subjective, self-oriented perspectives. Utilizing an online survey method, a total of 512 completed responses were used for the data analyses. The analysis of structural equation modeling (SEM) supported all the hypotheses testing the relationships among the four constructs (i.e., attributes, consequences, values, and behavioral outcomes) except for the moderating roles of preventive health care behavior and socially responsible behavior. The research model can motivate future researchers to further investigate factors involved in organic food consumption and assist organic food producers and retailers with practical information as they strive to better target and promote their products.

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