Unpacking the perceived opportunity to misbehave: The influence of spatio-temporal and social dimensions on consumer misbehavior

Daunt, Kate L. & Greer, Dominique A. (2015) Unpacking the perceived opportunity to misbehave: The influence of spatio-temporal and social dimensions on consumer misbehavior. European Journal of Marketing, 49(9/10), pp. 1505-1526.

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This study aims to use opportunity as a theoretical lens to investigate how the spatio-temporal and social dimensions of the consumption environment create perceived opportunities for consumers to misbehave.


Drawing on routine activity theory and social impact theory, the authors use two experiments to demonstrate that spatio-temporal and social dimensions can explain consumer theft in retail settings.


Study 1 reveals mixed empirical support for the basic dimensions of routine activity theory, which posits that the opportunity to thieve is optimised when a motivated offender, suitable target and the absence of a capable formal guardian transpire in time and space. Extending the notion of guardianship, Study 2 tests social impact theory and shows that informal guardianship impacts the likelihood of theft under optimal routine activity conditions.


The study findings highlight important implications for academicians and retail managers: rather than focusing on the uncontrollable characteristics of thieving offenders, more controllable spatio-temporal and social factors of the retail environment can be actively monitored and manipulated to reduce perceived opportunities for consumer misbehaviour.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 91663
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: consumer misbehaviour, opportunity, theft, Routine Activity Theory, Social Impact Theory, experimental design
DOI: 10.1108/EJM-01-2014-0061
ISSN: 0309-0566
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > MARKETING (150500)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright Statement: This article is (c) Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here (http://eprints.qut.edu.au). Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Deposited On: 08 Jan 2016 03:02
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2016 02:14

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