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Determinations of system justification versus psychological reactance consumer behaviours in taboo markets

Badewi, A. A., Eid, R. and Laker, B. ORCID: (2023) Determinations of system justification versus psychological reactance consumer behaviours in taboo markets. Information Technology & People, 36 (1). ISSN 0959-3845

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1108/ITP-12-2018-0555


Purpose This research aims to understand the determinants of consumers' behaviour and motivations to buy taboo items online. Two theoretical lenses, theories of psychological reactance and system justification, are invoked to frame the role of online shopping in shaping consumer behaviour in taboo markets. Design/methodology/approach A naturalistic inquiry paradigm was used to test a sample of 34 Saudi women who were buying taboo products online. Findings The determinant of such behaviour is based on differences in understanding the ritual restrictions between people, their society and their country. The four principal attitudes towards restrictions are justifying, accepting, rejecting and reacting. These attitudes frame five motivations: satisfying the restriction, to be unique, but aligned with social norms; breaking social norms; aligning one's self-image to liberal societies; and joy in challenging legal restrictions. The motives for online shopping are justification/utilitarian, to accommodate other restrictions in going to local markets; and reactance hedonic, to break restrictions. These motivations create seven different patterns of online shopping behaviour. Originality/value This research contributes to the literature by presenting an alternative perspective on online shopping motivations for taboo products. Furthermore, this research calls for a new socio-psychological theory for understanding the role of technology in influencing consumer behaviour in restrictive societies.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Henley Business School > Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour
ID Code:102225


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