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Ethical consumption has increased as a result of a more pressing environmental agenda, allowing consumers to assert their core values through marketplace decisions. The progressive secularisation of society has opened a gap on how religion and spirituality, defined in this paper as constructs that underpin core values, affect individuals through their consumption choices. An exploratory approach was taken in this research to investigate how consumers negotiate their daily shopping habits, whether they align with or diverge from their religious or secular core values, and whether an internal or external locus of control (LoC) was demonstrated. This qualitative study used the theory of reasoned action and applied an interpretative paradigm, being most interested in the lived experience of the 25 participants. They were recruited from religious, spiritual, and secular backgrounds, following a purposeful sampling strategy. The participants kept a 2-week daily diary detailing spending decisions and were interviewed, also to provide the opportunity to discuss their diary entries. Findings reveal the direction of linkage between constructs such as core values, LoC orientation and Consumer Competence strategies. The study also revealed how religious participants were subject to a moral dualism that at times created dissonance between their core values and their consumer behaviour.




© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( The article was published in Sustainability, Volume 11, Issue 1, September 2019,

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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