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Social entrepreneurship: Understanding consumer motives for buying the Big Issue

Hibbert, S.A. and Hogg, G.M. and Quinn, T. (2005) Social entrepreneurship: Understanding consumer motives for buying the Big Issue. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 4 (3). pp. 159-173. ISSN 1472-0817

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Abstract

This paper examines consumer response to a particular social entrepreneurship initiative, The Big Issue. Focusing on consumer motivation, the research explores the utilitarian value of the product as compared to the desire to help the homeless as the primary motivation for purchase. The research found that, although the utilitarian value partly motivated purchase, consumers widely perceived there to be a helping dimension to the exchange. Consumers valued the empowerment goals espoused by The Big Issue and found it rewarding to play a part in the empowerment process. The appearance and manner of The Big Issue vendors influenced consumer reactions to the initiative, indicating a need for careful management of beneficiary portrayal in this context.