The Tipping Point in the Status of Socially Responsible Consumer Behavior Research? A Bibliometric Analysis
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Socially responsible consumer behaviorSustainabilityBibliometric analysisCo-word analysis
Nova-Reyes, A., Muñoz-Leiva, F., & Luque-Martínez, T. (2020). The Tipping Point in the Status of Socially Responsible Consumer Behavior Research? A Bibliometric Analysis. Sustainability, 12(8), 3141. [doi:10.3390/su12083141]
SponsorshipThe authors are grateful for the financial assistance provided via the ADEMAR research group (University of Granada) under the auspices of the Spanish National Research Programme (R+D+i Research Project ECO2017-88458-R).
Looking at the impact of society on the environment or, as we write this manuscript in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the scenes of consumers hoarding products, we wonder if consumers really do exhibit socially responsible consumer behaviors (SRCB). An initial literature review showed that few studies have addressed this issue, which creates opportunities for the development of new research lines. Furthermore, no study had examined the conceptual evolution or whether SRCB is a developed or fragmented theme from an exhaustive compilation of all previous academic research. To address the proposed research questions, we conducted a bibliometric analysis applied to a corpus of manuscripts on SRCB indexed in the Web of Science (WoS) bibliographic database, from its inception in 1991 up to 2019. Co-word analysis provided a structure of conceptual sub-domains classified based on their density and centrality. In addition, thematic networks were extracted that showed the important associations between the main issues that the SRCB community has addressed, which enabled the authors to examine the subject’s intellectual structuring over almost three decades. The findings showed that the research, over time, has focused most on corporate social responsibility (CSR), this being a motor theme between 2013 and 2016. In general, SRCB has been a very fragmented field of study, however in the last three years, it has developed into a distinct entity; in the past, it was basically addressed through CSR. The most productive thematic areas during the last 30 years have been: (a) Research into consumer attitude, (b) research on CSR, and (c) research on social and sustainable consumption behavior. In response to calls for greater theoretical clarification of the SRCB discipline, the authors providing experts and novices with a better understanding of the current state of the art and suggest future research directions.