Closed Call for Papers - Ethical Consumerism in Emerging Markets: Opportunities and Challenges

Guest Editors: 

Dr. Smirti Kutaula, Kingston Business School, UK,

Dr. Alvina Gillani, Surrey Business School, UK,

Dr. Diana Gregory-Smith, Newcastle University Business School, UK,

Professor Boris Bartikowski, Kedge Business School, France,

Submission Deadline: September 30, 2021 - Extended to October 31 2021!

Emerging markets attract increasing research attention, particularly in the area of business ethics (e.g., Pels & Sheth, 2017; Sharma et al., 2018; Bartikowski et al. 2018, 2020; Arunachalam et al., 2019; Cleveland & Bartsch, 2019; Gillani et al., 2019). Emerging markets include countries (a) with accelerated economic growth, (b) open to global markets and (c) in a transitional (developing to more developed) status (Shankar & Narang, 2019). Hoskisson et al. (2000, p. 249) defined emerging markets as “low-income, rapid-growth countries using liberalization as their primary engine of growth.” However, the literature does not offer a generally accepted definition of what an “emerging market” is. Broadly and inclusively, emerging markets are better characterized by what they are not rather than what they are (Buckley et al., 2007; Tiku, 2014; Rotting, 2016).

Emerging markets may be categorized into two groups: (a) developing countries in Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East, and (b) transition economies such as in the former Soviet Union and China (Hoskisson et al., 2000). Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic crisis, the 2020 global GDP growth rate was predicted to grow worldwide (J.P. Morgan, 2020). Taking into account Covid-19, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasted a reduction of 3% in global GDP for 2021. Against this trend, some argue that emerging economies may rebound, at 6.6% in 2021, subject to the availability of resources and consumer demand (IMF, 2020). It is clear that emerging markets are powerful drivers of global economic development (Papadopoulos et al., 2018), and take increasing responsibility for global sustainability (Cheung et al., 2010; Dermody et al., 2018).

Consumers increasingly expect firms to act transparently, ban exploitative labor, pay minimum wages, and contribute to a wealthy economic, social and environmental development; specifically, the middle class is a critical economic and social actor in the emerging markets (Papaoikonomou & Alarcón, 2017; Pels & Sheth, 2017; Gillani et al., 2019). An inherent paradox is that increased affluence may elicit conspicuous consumption with negative effects on sustainable development (Deloitte, 2020). Further, social and cultural norms affect ethical consumption practices (e.g., Sheth, 2011; Jung et al., 2016), however, surprisingly little research has focused on ethical consumerism within emerging markets (cf., Gregory‐Smith et al., 2017; Sharma et al., 2018; Arunachalam et al., 2019). Therefore, consumer theories that emerged for and within developed countries may not equally hold for emerging markets. Understanding such differences permits a fuller understanding of ethical consumerism (c.f., Vitell et al., 2016). This JBE special issue aims to extend and develop theoretical conceptualizations as well as expand empirical-based knowledge for a better understanding of peculiarities and dynamics of ethical consumption in emerging markets. We encourage authors to challenge existing theories and approaches in the context of emerging markets and identify new or alternative theoretical perspectives for a better understanding of ethical consumerism.

Potential Themes

Contributions may address a wide range of questions related to ethical consumerism in emerging markets including (but not limited to):

  • New theoretical perspectives to examine ethical consumption in emerging markets. Novel constructs or unique construct relationships shedding light on ethical consumption patterns in emerging markets 
  • The influence of socio-cultural, economic, political, institutional, and technological variables on ethical consumption in emerging markets. Unique, emerging country-specific characteristics that impact the ethical motivations and preferences
  • The impact of the Covid-19 crisis on ethical consumption in emerging markets. Company promotions, and effects on ethical consumerism
  • Barriers to ethical consumption in emerging markets (barriers for consumers or firms)
  • The role of the middle class in promoting ethical consumption in emerging markets
  • Factors that led to the rise of ethical consumer movements in the emerging markets
  • Methodological challenges in measuring or explaining ethical consumption in emerging markets
  • Whether consumption patterns vary culturally between emerging markets and developed economies. The impact of cross-country differences on ethical consumption. 
  • Ways socially embedded collective experiences of ethical consumption in emerging markets are studied. Examination of the interplay of ethical consumption and collective behaviors.

Submission Instructions

Submissions are welcomed from a variety of theoretical, methodological, and disciplinary perspectives, as long as they are closely in line with the topic of the Special Issue. Authors are strongly encouraged to refer to the JBE’s submission guidelines for detailed instructions on submitting a paper to this Special Issue. Please note that a paper submitted to this Special Issue is considered a submission to the JBE and therefore cannot be resubmitted to a regular issue of the journal. All submissions must be made via JBE’s online submission system  by 30th September 2021. Please be sure to indicate that the paper is for this Special Issue/Thematic Symposium, during the submission process. The online submission system will start accepting submissions 60 days prior to the call for papers submission deadline.

A paper development workshop will be held at Kingston Business School; the workshop dates will be announced with sufficient advance notice. Submitting a paper to this paper development workshop is not a requirement for submitting or publishing a paper in this special issue. If you have any questions about the special issue, please contact the guest editors through the contact details provided above.


Arunachalam, S., Bahadir, S.C., Bharadwaj, S.G. and Guesalaga, R., 2019. New product Introductions for low-income consumers in emerging markets. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science,

Bartikowski, B., Laroche, M., Jamal, A., & Yang, Z., 2018. The type-of-internet-access digital divide and the well-being of ethnic minority and majority consumers: A multi-country investigation. Journal of Business Research, 82, pp. 373–380.

Bartikowski, B., Fastoso, F. & Gierl, H., 2020.  How Nationalistic Appeals Affect Foreign Luxury Brand Reputation: A Study of Ambivalent Effects. Journal of Business Ethics.

Buckley, P.J., Clegg, L.J., Cross, A.R., Liu, X., Voss, H. and Zheng, P., 2007. The determinants of Chinese outward foreign direct investment. Journal of International Business Studies, 38(4), pp. 499-518.

Cheung, Y.L., Tan, W., Ahn, H.J. and Zhang, Z., 2010. Does corporate social responsibility matter in Asian emerging markets?. Journal of Business Ethics92(3), pp. 401-413.

Cleveland, M. and Bartsch, F., 2019. Global consumer culture: epistemology and ontology, International Marketing Review, 36(4), 556-580

Dermody, J., Koenig-Lewis, N., Zhao, A.L. and Hanmer-Lloyd, S., 2018. Appraising the influence of pro-environmental self-identity on sustainable consumption buying and curtailment in emerging markets: Evidence from China and Poland. Journal of Business Research, 86, pp. 333-343.

Gillani, A., Kutaula, S., Leonidou, L.C. and Christodoulides, P., 2019. The impact of proximity on consumer fair trade engagement and purchasing behavior: The moderating role of empathic concern and hypocrisy. Journal of Business Ethics,

Gregory‐Smith, D., Manika, D. and Demirel, P., 2017. Green intentions under the blue flag: Exploring differences in EU consumers’ willingness to pay more for environmentally friendly products. Business Ethics: A European Review, 26(3), pp. 205-222.

Hoskisson, R.E., Eden, L., Lau, C.M. and Wright, M. 2000. Strategy in emerging economies, Academy of Management Journal, 43(3), pp. 249-267.

International Monetary Fund (2020) World Economic Outlook. April 2020. [online] Available at: < 2020> [Accessed 10 May 2020].

Jung, H.J., Kim, H. and Oh, K.W., 2016. Green leather for ethical consumers in China and Korea: Facilitating ethical consumption with value–belief–attitude logic. Journal of Business Ethics135(3), pp. 483-502.

J. P. Morgan., 2020. Global Market Outlook 2020 market-outlook-2020

Papadopoulos, N., Cleveland, M., Bartikowski, B., & Yaprak, A., 2018. Of countries, places and product/brand place associations: An inventory of dispositions and issues relating to place image and its effects. Journal of Product & Brand Management, 27(7), 735-753.

Papaoikonomou, E. and Alarcón, A., 2017. Revisiting consumer empowerment: An exploration of ethical consumption communities. Journal of Macromarketing37(1), pp.40-56.

Pels, J. and Sheth, J.N., 2017. Business models to serve low-income consumers in emerging markets. Marketing Theory17(3), pp. 373-391.

Rottig, D., 2016. Institutions and emerging markets: Effects and implications for multinational corporations. International Journal of Emerging Markets, 11(1), pp. 2-17.

Shankar, V. and Narang, U., 2019. Emerging market innovations: Unique and differential drivers, practitioner implications, and research agenda. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science,

Sharma, P., Luk, S.T., Cardinali, S. and Ogasavara, M.H., 2018. Challenges and opportunities for marketers in the emerging markets. Journal of Business Research, 86, pp. 210-216.

Sheth, J. N. (2011). Impact of emerging markets on marketing: Rethinking existing perspectives and practices. Journal of Marketing75(4), pp. 166-182.

Tiku, P. 2014. The Emerging Markets Handbook: An Analysis of the Investment Potential in 18 Key Emerging Market Economies. Harriman House, Petersfield.

Vitell, S.J., King, R.A., Howie, K., Toti, J.F., Albert, L., Hidalgo, E.R. and Yacout, O., 2016. Spirituality, moral identity, and consumer ethics: A multi-cultural study. Journal of Business Ethics139(1), pp.147-160.