Sustainable Orientation of Consumer Generations


COVID-19 and Crisis Impact on Global Community, Special issue of the European Journal of International Management; Deadline 31 Dec 2020


Author: Pantea Foroudi

Special Issue: European Journal of International Management

Sustainable Orientation of Consumer Generations: COVID-19 and Crisis Impact on Global Community

 Speedy the COVID-19 outbreak is disrupting the global community, which has affected the whole society around the world and will irreversibly change industries.  The COVID-19 pandemic will have a much more significant influence on the world economy than the SARS epidemic in 2003 or the global financial crisis in 2008. During the pandemic, the world scrambles to battle this emergency, airline, higher education, hospitality, restaurant, tourism and businesses are knockout with direct and perhaps ongoing influence. For instance, academic had to move to online teaching and engagement, and interaction with international students are chaotic. This impacts on unpleasant and unsustainable learning-experience. Many students are facing financial hardships and face psychological and emotional issues. Also, the shopping behaviour of consumes has changed dramatically, with many people stocking up products such as hand sanitizers and toilet papers. Due to the changes, the main to achievement for global organizations is to recognize early indicators of these consumer actions and offer appropriate policy according to the existing customers’ behaviours.

Contemporary society is no longer foreign to terms such as sustainable development, environmental protection, sustainable consumption, clean technology, sustainable agriculture, biodiversity, food security, fair working conditions, fair trade, green biotechnology, selective collection, recycling, reuse, clean energy, organic food etc. All these concepts are being used more and more often to describe the current orientation towards sustainability (Martin & Schouten, 2012; Del Valle, Esteban & De Foronda-Perez, 2019). Global organizations need to align their sustainable international objectives, policies, and strategies to the changing behaviour of different consumers generations. Social media, the access to various information technologies, the desire to be part of the community, and to adopt various new and innovative social and cultural values determine consumer generations change their attitudes, perceptions, values, and traditional lifestyles towards organizations. A specific challenge for any organization is to succeed in developing an appropriate image among different consumer generations, to attract and bind them towards their business, products, services, and brands.

Nowadays, increasing importance is attributed to the methods and activities through which a business can sustainably develop itself, can help preserve resources and provide future generations with the similar advantages and benefits enjoyed by current generations. Sustainability actions (environmental protection, the sustainability of society, etc.) are also seen as an “insurance policy” for organizations, as these actions are aimed to influencing consumers and at shaping their attitudes towards a retail chain, a certain brand or a certain location.

Due to the heterogeneity of consumer generation lifestyles, desires, expectations, experiences, values, preferences, arising mainly from the particularities and specificities of socio-demographic characteristics, from traditions and purchase behaviours, the modern society and various organizations must think and act according to the principles of “multi-generational marketing”. In this approach, marketing finds support points from the sociology of generations (Pilcher, 1993), is directed towards establishing proper relations with each consumer generation (Martin & Prince, 2009). From a sociological perspective, a generation is made up of groups of individuals of similar age, who witnessed the same historical phenomena in each period of time, have a collective consciousness, based on values, common beliefs and attitudes. Despite similarities, members of a generation will never ultimately reveal homogeneous characteristics.

The literature reveals very few studies linking sustainable development to the consumption and behavioural pattern of different generations (Dabija & Bejan, 2019), regardless if we consider the Generation of the World Crises (born before the outbreak of the Second World War), Baby Boomers (born usually between 1946-1964), Xerx (born between 1965 and 1979/1980/1981), Millennials (born between 1980/1981 and 1994/1995), Zers (born after Millennials until 2010/2011) or Alpha (born after 2010/2011) (Williams & Page, 2009; Twenge et al., 2010; Gurău, 2012; Fernandez-Cruz & Dernandez-Diaz, 2016; Dabija, Bejan & Dinu, 2019).   The purpose of this call for paper is to address to the needs of global cross-generational analysis of consumers on different markets and in different cultural contexts, their behaviours, consumption patterns, expectations and desires and compile timely responses to the sustainable development and fostering wellbeing within the community. Papers can focus on the decision making the process of consumer generations on emerging versus developed markets when buying food or non-food articles online or in physical stores etc. Given the above, the proposed special issue aims to include the following (but not limited to) topics and questions of interest in the cross-cultural study of the impact of sustainable consumer generations such as cross-generational analysis of consumers on emerging markets; green behaviour of consumer generations (Xers, Millennials, Zers etc.) towards retail stores; or sustainable online versus offline consumption behaviour of consumer generations.  We would like to see profound and rigorous theoretical and managerial contributions that substantially advance and challenge existing theories used in global business research as such article must be able to demonstrate a significant contribution to the sustainable orientation of consumer generations scholarship. We have no a priori preferences regarding the theoretical stance or methodological approach. We welcome papers using traditional methodologies, survey, qualitative research, as well as emerging innovative approaches including the use of algorithms, contrarian case analysis and fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA).  All manuscripts should apply the general author guidelines for the  European Journal of International Management

( Manuscripts should not have been previously published or be under consideration by other journals. All papers must be submitted online. To submit a paper, please read our Submitting articles page

Manuscripts due by: 31 December, 2020

Guest editors:

Dan-Cristian Dabija, Babeș-Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca, Romania (

Pantea Foroudi, Middlesex University London, UK (