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Modern religious verdicts on consumption.pdf

Modern religious verdicts on consumption.pdf

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Modern Religious Verdicts on Consumption: Who Bothers and Who Does Not?
 Nazlida Muhamad*.
Unversiti Brunei Darussalam
The University of Western Asutralia
. dickm@uwa.biz.edu.au  Keywords; decision-making, religion influence, Muslim consumers, fatwa ruling
Abstract
This study contributes to the marketing literature on the role of religious doctrines on
consumers’ marketplace behaviors.
Although religious influence on such behaviors has been widely reported, knowledge on
consumers’ reaction toward
contemporary religious rulings is limited. These rulings, which are sometimes controversial, forbid con
sumers’ consumption of specific product, brand
, service, or behavior. This study explores religion and gender influences on
consumers’ perception on
the purchase of  products and performance of behaviors subject to Islamic contemporary ruling
 — 
fatwa. The MANCOVA analysis used on the survey data from 400 respondents shows the
respondents’
 religious orientation, gender, and interaction terms
 unique effects on their responses subject to fatwa rulings. Possible implications and areas for future research are discussed.
Introduction
The recognition of religious influence on consumer behaviors is gaining momentum in various marketing areas (advertising: e.g., Kim & Fam, 2004; branding: Alserhan, 2010; consumer behavior and product choice: Essoo & Dibb, 2004; Pace, 2012; Hirshman, 1983; segmentation and positioning: e.g., Muhamad, Melewar, & Syed Alwi, 2012). Generally, previous studies tested religious influence on behaviors or issues related to well-established religious beliefs and values but not on specific religious doctrines (Pace, 2012). Contemporary religious rulings are new rulings declared by the authority to guide  believers on modern issues including marketplace behaviors. Two major world religions, Christianity and Islam, issue contemporary rulings as an ongoing effort to guide followers. In many cases the ruling involves use and purchase of various goods such as medical and pharmaceutical products, financial and banking products, and consumer goods (Muhamad & Mizerski, 2010). Consumers reported to have rejected  products subjected to ruling, which sometimes led to anticonsumption movements (e.g., Murphy, 2003; Jensen, 2008). However, the extents of its influences on consumers are not well understood. Amid growing conservatism among a number of religious followers (Ibrahim, 2010) and suggested trends of returning to religion in life affairs (Oborne, 2012; Bokhari, 2007), knowledge on the effect of contemporary rulings on consumers
 perceptions may benefit marketers who deal with a predominantly religious conscious market. This may assist marketers to estimate the importance of such rulings in the marketplace and to strategize actions. This paper aims to explore Muslim consumers
 responses to the purchase of products or performing behaviours subject to fatwa.
Background
 Religion and Consumer Behavior.
 Religious influences on consumer behavior have captured the interest of marketing scholars. Studies on religious influences have taken momentum from the 1980s and cover various marketing areas-especially in the context of Islamic religion influence on marketplace product offering and Muslim consumer behaviours. Muslim consumers show concerns about the halal status of a
 
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 product (e.g., Rajagopal & Ramanan, 2011) and attitudes, subjective norms, and  perceived control found to explain their intention to choose a halal product (e.g., Mukhtar & Muhammad Butt, 2012). Previous studies focus on halal products  particularly certification, which
do not reflect consumers’ awareness of fatwa.
The current certification is concerned with the use of ingredients in products and sometimes the hygiene of the production process. Certification, so far, has not incorporated all fatwa. Limited studies on fatwa suggest that
Muslim consumers’ religious motivation
explain their sources for information (Muhamad & Mizerski, 2010), and their intention to purchase product subject to fatwa is related to religiosity (Muhamad & Mizerski, 2007). Their commitment to religion was found related to beliefs about the  boycott of Danish products (Al-Hyari, Muhammed & Muhamed, 2012). The study focuses on one fatwa; thus, it is insufficient to explain the overall effects of fatwa.
 Islamic Law.
 Religions such as Islam continuously issue rulings to adapt to its 1,400- year-old principles and rulings to modern lifestyles. The two main sources of Islamic law are the Quran and the Sunnah. After Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) died, prominent Muslim scholars met and applied the general ruling from the main references to  provide ruling for contemporary issues not explicitly explained in the main texts
 — 
the ruling is known as fatwa (Wiechman, Kendall, & Azarian, 1996). For example, financial interest or
riba
 is explicitly prohibited in the Quran, but not contemporary financial products. Upon request from the Muslim community, an authorized local fatwa committee made up of prominent scholars will declare rulings on goods based on the main texts, relevant precedence, and expert opinions (Wiechman, Kendall, & Azarian, 1996). The rulings could be against businesses by a prohibition on consumers from buying and consuming everyday consumer products and brands (Muhamad & Mizerski, 2010) and could lead to global consumer movements to boycott products and brands. The fatwa against American products or brands that support Israel
’s
 stands on the Palestine issues spread within global Muslim communities. Because of this, in  predominantly Muslim countries, some businesses find that they continuously have to convince the public of their contribution to the local economy. In other cases, financial and banking institutions quickly develop products that comply or adopt
Shariah
 concepts in response to fatwa (Bokhari, 2007). In reality, learning about contemporary fatwa rulings can be challenging for many Muslims. Fatwa rulings sometimes are not well received and surrounded with arguments and controversies (Azizan, 2008). Consumers gather fatwa information from various sources such as the Internet, religious speeches, and magazines and are not only limited to local declarations (Muhamad & Mizerski, 2010). The Internet  provides communities access to information on rulings, opinions, and debates from all over the world; and they are free to decide which to adopt (Roy, 2004). Consequently, a Middle East fatwa easily spreads to consumers around the world. Despite the richness of information, the proliferation of fatwa information sources may, however, confuse consumers. Some who are intrinsically motivated to follow their religious teachings are more inclined to conform to rulings than their extrinsic counterparts.
 Religious orientation
measures the individual’s motivation
to follow their religion.
Based on this measure, one’s approach
to follow a religion can be identified as either intrinsic or extrinsic (Allport & Ross, 1967). Intrinsic individuals are those who put
 
 3
religion as their purpose in life while other objectives are brought in line with their religion
’s
 expectations, which they attempt to incorporate fully in life (Allport & Ross, 1967). The intrinsic individuals tend to have a greater commitment to religious teachings and rulings (Wiebe & Fleck, 1980). On the other hand,
 
religion is not the  prime motivation in the life of extrinsic individuals, although they still benefit from religion such as providing support in grief, providing social acceptance or status, or  providing justification in life situations such as when facing hardships (Allport & Ross, 1967). Thus, religious teachings are selectively and timely adopted to suit their other more primary objectives (Allport & Ross, 1967). Previous report suggests that intrinsically religious motivated individuals are more submissive to others, are more conscientious, and have more consistencies in their life (Wiebe & Fleck, 1980). In contrast, the extrinsics tend to be more flexible, self-reliant, and pragmatic (Wiebe & Fleck, 1980). Personality traits may lead to their intrinsic or extrinsic motivation to follow religion. The intrinsics may attend to religious teachings and ruling because of stronger needs for structure and consistency. The extrinsics turn to religious teachings when necessary to suit their pragmatic approach and their personality in handling matters in life. This aspect of the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is expected to affect Muslim consumers
 responses to
 fatwa
.
Hypotheses
The exploratory nature of this study on
 fatwa
 among consumers and the limited study on gender effects in religious motivation do not provide a strong expectancy of directional effects. The nature of any relationship of motivation and gender is viewed as exploratory. Earlier studies suggest that Muslims tend to socialize or interact more with others who have the same motivation to adhere to Islamic rulings and teachings (Muhamad & Mizerski, 2007). Therefore, it is possible for the intrinsically motivated to socialize more with similar Muslims. The intrinsics may perceive that their similar friends would disapprove if they behave in ways prohibited by
 fatwa
. They are also expected to report less social pressure to perform the taboo behaviors than the extrinsics.
H1:
 The intrinsics will report less social pressure (subjective norm) to perform behaviors subject to fatwa than the extrinsics. There is no gender by motivation interaction expected. Based on past experience and the availability of resources and opportunities, there are  barriers to perform a behavior (Ajzen, 1991) and thus perceive incomplete volitional control over performance of behavior (Ajzen, 1991). Intrinsics may experience  psychological barrier (Allport & Ross, 1967) to perform the taboo behaviors out of a stronger motivation to abide by religious rulings. The intrinsics are expected to report less perceived control over the taboo behaviors than the extrinsics.
H2
: The intrinsics will report less perceived control over the chosen behaviors than the extrinsics. There is no gender by motivation interaction expected.
 
The intrinsics have a greater tendency to comply with religious rulings (Allport & Ross, 1967) and are expected to report less intention to perform and less of the taboo behaviors, compared to the extrinsics.
H3:
The intrinsics will report less intention to perform the chosen  behaviors than the extrinsics. There is no gender by motivation interaction expected.
 
H4:
 The intrinsics will report less performance of the chosen behaviors than the extrinsics. There is no gender by motivation interaction expected.
 
Religion influences the
followers’ beliefs and attitudes toward a particular element
through its doctrines (Bailey & Sood, 1993). Intrinsics and extrinsics tend to have

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