Research Article
Lei Wang*, Qi Zhang
Corresponding Author: Lei Wang, Department of Hospitality and Tourism, School of Management, Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province, China
Received: 01 July 2020; Revised: 22 July 2020; Accepted: 24 July 2020 Available Online: October 09, 2020
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Despite the known impact of religiosity has on certain consumption related consumers’ attitudes and behaviors, however, research investigating the influence of religion as an antecedent to pro-environmental attitudes and behaviors remain unexamined or even yields mixed results. In particular, there is a limited amount of empirical studies has focused on the potential effectiveness of religiosity as an important predictor in understanding consumer green purchase behavior in China. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between extrinsic religiosity, green purchase attitude, and intention toward green hotel selection. A survey questionnaire was developed where a total of 421 questionnaires were ultimately collected followed by subsequent empirical testing of the postulated hypotheses, which was conducted using SPSS and Structural Equation Modeling. The results suggested that extrinsic religiosity significantly and positively influences attitude and intention respectively. The attitude also displayed a significant positive influence on intention. Further, the Buddhism group has a higher level of green purchase attitude and intention compared with Taoism group and Islam group respectively. Lastly, the practical and theoretical implications were discussed accordingly, as well as the limitations associated in this work.

 Keywords: Green purchase attitude, Green purchase intention, Extrinsic religiosity, Religious affiliation, Social identity theory, Green hotel selection.


In the last three decades, researchers have endeavored to establish a causal relationship between cultural and subcultural values, and the diverse aspects of consumer behavior (Alam, Mohd & Hisham, 2011; Wang, Wong & Elangkovan, 2019a), because culture and subculture are the central issues in any consumer behavior research (Alam et al., 2011). According to Alam et al. (2011), three compositions constitute towards culture: the overall culture, subculture and social class, and culture is the most basic determinate of individual’s desire and behavior.

However, the religious groups are one of the major deciding factor in subculture influencing consumer behavior, because individuals are belong to many tiny subculture groups, where provide a specific sense of identification and social process (Alam et al., 2011). Furthermore, subculture can be divided into four distinct groups: nationality, race, geography and religion, where each subcultural factor can influence human behavior (Mokhlis, 2009; Alam et al., 2011). Nevertheless, religion is one of the most important determinant subcultural factors that can influence consumer’s attitude and behavior to purchase or consume products or brands (Madni, Hamid & Rashid, 2016).

 Basically, the influence of religion on consumer behavior found in different areas, such as switching behavior (Choi, 2010), shopping behavior (Patel, 2012), political orientation (Sidorova, 2015), corporate social responsibility (Guo, Webb, Abzug & Peck, 2013), green purchase behavior (Wang et al., 2019), and more. However, as per Al-Hyari, Alnsour, Al-Weshah & Haffar (2012) demonstrated that although researchers have recognized the importance of religion in sociology and psychology settings, the impact of consumer attitudes and behaviors directly influenced by different aspects of religion has scarcely been investigated. The literature is evident that there is an insufficient investigation of the role of religion in influencing consumer behavior (Madni et al., 2016).

Therefore, it is very important to improve the understanding of the religion influences different aspects of consumer behavior (De Run, Butt, Fam & Jong, 2010). Moreover, despite the known impact of religion has on certain consumption related consumers’ attitudes and behaviors, however, research investigating the influence of religion as an antecedent to pro-environmental attitudes and behaviors remains unexamined or even yields mixed results (Martin & Bateman, 2014; Mas’od & Chin, 2014). In general, previous studies only investigated the consumers’ pro-environmental attitude-behavioral process from consumers’ demographic and psychographic characteristics viewpoint,  as well as the extrinsic incentive variables to increase the consumers’ participation in pro-environmental consumption (Minton, Kahle & Kim, 2015). However, researchers have inadequately investigate consumer intrinsic incentive variables (Wang et al., 2019), such as the  consumers’ core values and the consumers’ fundamental belief system, which is religion (Engelland, 2014; Wang & Wong, 2020).

In the marketing literature, there is no approach to religiousness has had greater impact on the empirical studies of religion than (Allport & Ross, 1967) concepts of religiosity (Chai & Tan, 2013). According to Allport & Ross (1967), religious motivation has been discovered in two dimensions; which are intrinsic/orientation and extrinsic/affiliation. The extrinsically motivated person uses his/her religion, where the intrinsically motivated person lives his/her religion (Wang et al., 2019). However, some studies have exposed the limited value of extrinsic religiosity for predicting consumer purchasing behavior. For instance, Yanu, Fianto, Hadiwidjojo & Aisjah (2014) indicated that the nature of the extrinsic religiosity (i.e., religious affiliation) as an identification factor difficulty explains much about religious influences in consumer behavior. Martin & Bateman (2014) argued that intrinsic religiosity could help to explain consumer behavior more as compared to extrinsic religiosity; in contrast, Muhamad & Mizerski (2010) claimed that extrinsic religiosity (e.g., church attendance) rather than intrinsic religiosity to religion, was found to be more predictive towards explaining consumer purchase behavior. Nevertheless, the extrinsic religiosity is the traditional measurement of explaining consumer behavior, which conceptualized as a unidimensional construct with religious affiliation (Mokhlis, 2009a). As well as the extrinsic religiosity (e.g., religious affiliation, church attendance) is the most widely used by researchers to predict consumer behavior (Abd Aziz, Jusoh & Amlus, 2015). Indeed, the point has been made that if extrinsic religiosity has no role to play in influencing consumer’s behavior, then researchers should find an alternative way of predicting consumer behavior.

Therefore, this study has attempted to address the relationship between extrinsic religiosity, attitude and intention, especially for explaining the influence of different religious affiliation on consumer green hotel selection. There are, in fact, two reasons for this study being needed in order to update this field. First, the past studies that measured the influence of religiosity were usually carried out in developed countries and from a Christian perspective using Christian subjects (Shukor & Jamal, 2013), the concept of religiosity from the perspective of Buddhism and Taoism remains scant (Wang et al., 2019). Based on Du (2013), the number of religious activities and adherents are increasing, the influence of religion has increased in all major societal domains within China (Liu & Koenig, 2013). However, the relationship between religiosity and consumer green purchase behavior in the Chinese context has been understudied (Wang & Wong, 2020). Second, most previous studies related to green purchase behavior are written from the perspective of the western countries and US (Wang, Wong, Elangkovan & Chee, 2019). More importantly, research on green hotel selection literature in China is still in its preliminary stage, lacking a unified definition and a systematic framework (Wang, Wong & Elangkovan, 2020; Wang et al., 2019). Therefore, two major research objectives are henceforth proposed:

  • To examine the relationship between extrinsic religiosity and consumers’ green purchase attitude and intention towards green hotel selection.
  • To investigate the influence of various religious affiliation on consumers’ green purchase attitude and intention towards green hotel selection.


The Underpinning Theory

This research proposes a theoretical research model (Figure 1) based on theory of planned behavior (TPB) model (Ajzen, 1991). The theory of reasoned action (TRA) (Ajzen and Fishbein, 1975) and TPB are two most popular theories used to predict consumer purchase intention and behavior in marketing literature (Wang et al., 2020b). To overcome consumers cannot purely have made purchase behavior based on volitional factors alone because perceived constraints under TRA model (Paul, Modi & Patel, 2016), therefore, in TPB model, there is an additional predictor named perceived behavioral control added into the TPB model; which is defined as the perceived ease or difficulty in performing the given behavior (Ajzen, 1991). As postulated, the TPB model has three predictors of intention which lead to actual purchase behavior: Attitude, which is defined as the extent to which an individual has a positive or negative evaluation of a particular behavior (Ajzen, 1991); subjective norm, which is defined as the perceived social pressure to perform or not to perform the behavior in question (Ajzen, 1991); and perceived behavioral control.

Notably, many researchers have suggested that the both theories can be a reliable theory to explain consumer purchase/green purchase behavior (Paul et al., 2016; Jaiswal & Kant, 2018). However, there remains a persistent in using subjective norm and perceived behavioral control as predictors of consumer behavior (Wang et al., 2020). This is because, some studies have shown that the subjective norm has an insignificant or non-significant relationship with consumer purchase intention (Sinnappan & Rahman, 2011; Wang et al., 2019). Similarly, other studies have shown that the perceived behavioral control also cannot lead to consumers’ purchase intention and behavior (Tarkiainen & Sundqvist, 2005; Paul et al., 2016). Moreover, some studies have shown that attitude has a mediating role between subjective norm and intention (Wang et al., 2019; Wang & Wong, 2020). All of these results have stood in contrast with studies dependent on models originating with the theoretical frameworks of the TRA and TPB. Nevertheless, attitude has always played an important role in determining consumer intention and behavior (Paul et al., 2016; Wang et al., 2019b). Thus, this study adopts the attitude variable solely in analyzing consumers green hotel selection.

Extrinsic Religiosity

Religion is defined as a specific faith or belief like Buddhism, which is a faith or belief of Buddhists in Buddhism, there is an also sub-divided Mahayana and Theravada. Religion is a set of beliefs that are taught since childhood, and individuals gradually commit to the religion as thy have greater understandings toward its teachings (Shah Alam et al., 2011). It is a system of beliefs and practices by which group of individuals interpret an respond to what they feel is mystical and revered (Chai & Tan, 2013). Furthermore, religion is a social institution that shapes and controls the beliefs and behavior of its followers (Chai & Tan, 2013), thus, it is a combination of beliefs and values that lead values and their structure of any society (Madni et al., 2016). According to Khraim (2010), religion is one of the most universal and influential social institutions that has significant influence on individual’s attitudes, values, and behaviors at both the individual and societal levels.

Religion affects individual’s behavior through two aspects (Chai & Tan, 2013); first, religion stipulates rules and obligations as well as sanctions that directly control and influence individual’s behavior (Chai & Tan, 2013). In general, the religions practiced in a society influence the emphasis placed on the material life, and the attitudes toward owning and using goods and services (Alam et al., 2011). It and its associated practices often plays an important role in influencing many of the important life transitions (Khraim, 2010), due to religious traditions may prohibit the use of certain goods and services (Alam et al., 2011). Such as in what is allowed and forbidden for consumption (e.g., restriction on eating and drinking) (Khraim, 2010).  One example might be the Islamic teachings forbid its followers from drinking liquor and eating pork, while the veneration of the cow among the Hindus excludes them from eating beef (Alam et al., 2011).

Second, religion as an influential social institution has an indirect role in shaping culture, norms, attitudes and values in society (Chai & Tan, 2013). According to Alam et al. (2011), religion affects the sanctity of different acts and rituals, for example, by officially prohibiting the use of certain method of contraception; individual’s life experience (e.g., births, marriages); in shaping public opinion on cohabitation, premarital sex; and in values that recognized the moral values of right and wrong to them (Khraim, 2010). Therefore, religion can effect individual behavior directly through the rules and taboos it inspires and indirectly through classification of all social phenomena (Chai & Tan, 2013). Furthermore, religious values are rooted in religious scripture and provide consistent insight into beliefs, whereas it transcends geographic bounds, thereby providing more implications to marketers, regardless of locations (Minton et al., 2015).

Extrinsic religiosity or so called ‘inter-personal religiosity’ refers to religious affiliation, devotional practices, or membership within a religious community (Borzooei & Asgari, 2014), and it reflects the behavioral aspect of religiosity of individual participation in the organized religious activities that have effect on purchase intention (Mukhtar & Butt, 2012). According to Wang et al. (2019), extrinsic religiosity is determined applying two behavioral aspects: (1) frequency of church attendance, and (2) the amount of monetary donations offered to religious organizations. Therefore, traditionally religiosity has been conceptualized as a unidimensional construct with church attendance and denomination (i.e., religious affiliation) being the primary measure (Mokhlis, 2009).

Allport & Ross (1967) have demonstrated that extrinsic religiosity has always accompanied by instrumental and utilitarian individuals with extrinsic orientation who find religion useful in a number of ways. This is because the extrinsic religiosity individuals are motivated to use their religion for their own purposes (Allport & Ross, 1967). In other words, extrinsic religiosity is merely a social convention (Mukhtar & Butt, 2012), and individuals who hold extrinsic religiosity tend to embrace the doctrines which shape the values which suit their primary needs (Allport & Ross, 1967). For instance, extrinsic religiosity can provide spiritual security and comfort, sociability, and distraction or self-justification (Allport & Ross, 1967). An individual may attend worship in conviction for various reasons, such as to avoid religious communities or social isolation, to prove self-values over others, or to merely manifest and distinguish himself/herself as religious followers from others (Mokhlis, 2009; Wang et al., 2019). As such, extrinsic religiosity is compartmentalized, prejudiced and exclusionary; immature, dependent and seeking comfort and security (Chai & Tan, 2013).

The conception of pro-environment is rooted in particular religious beliefs and doctrines, this is evident per Buddhism’s emphasis on the concept of ‘Karma’, Taoism’s emphasis on ‘Man and Nature’, Islam’s emphasis on ‘the Earth is a Sacred and Holy place’, and the Protestantism and Catholic’s emphasis on ‘Nature and Human Responsibility’ (Wang et al., 2019). Prior empirical studies have investigated the role of extrinsic religiosity in influencing consumer pro-environmental purchasing beliefs, attitudes, intention and behaviors. For example, the study by Martin and Bateman (2014) has explored the relationship between religiosity and consumers’ eco-centric attitudes and behaviors via an analysis of 416 students respondents. It indicates that extrinsic religiosity positively and significantly influences consumers’ eco-behaviors. The Judeo-Christians respondents who evidence their religion in their daily lives will be more likely to donate money for environmental cases, and more likely to buy recycled products, recycle, and vote for officials with pro-environmental records. A study by Hassan (2014) has investigated Muslim consumers’ extrinsic religiosity on green purchase intention in Malaysia. This study has analyzed of 140 respondents by purposive sampling, which found that there is a positive and significant relationship between extrinsic religiosity and consumers’ natural environmental orientation and environmental concerns. Meanwhile, Posri (2014) has explored extrinsic religiosity as an antecedent predictor that influences the consumer green purchase attitude and behavior in Thailand. After understanding a non-probability sampling with purposive and snowball method of 15 in-depth interviews, it shows that extrinsic religiosity is considered to shape Thai consumers’ perspectives on the natural environment and seemed to impact Thai consumers’ motivation to take part in expert pro-environmental practices and green consumption. Therefore, the following hypotheses are proposed.

H1: There is a significant positive relationship between extrinsic religiosity and green purchase attitude.

H2: There is a significant positive relationship between extrinsic religiosity and green purchase intention.

Religious Affiliation

Differences in religious affiliations tend to influence the way people live, the choice they make, what they eat and whom they associate with (Khraim, 2010). According to Muhamad & Mizerski (2010), religious affiliation refers to a categorical measure of the religion to which the individual is affiliated. It represents the identification of individuals or denomination membership towards particular religious sect (Madni et al., 2016). For example, an individual who is born into a religious identity and through the action of its institutional teachings develops a religious identity or affiliation (Mokhlis, 2009b). Therefore, religious affiliation can be described as cognitive systems of the society, and followers of the same religion are viewed as sharing a common cognitive system of beliefs, values, expectations and behaviors (Mokhlis, 2009).

This corresponds to the Social Identity Theory (SIT) which formulated by Tajfel & Turner (1979) to explain the relationship between in-group and out-group behavior, as well as to identify individuals in terms of their characteristics and their own group memberships to prevent prototyping and discriminating others (Hogg, Adelman & Blagg, 2010). According to Tajfel & Turner (1979), there are three mental processes involved in evaluating SIT: the first process is social categorization. It is the process of classifying people into groups based on similar characteristics in order to understand the social environment (McLeod, 2008). Thus, there are two groups which is in-group and out-groups, where the in-group is a group of people with a common interest or identity, whereas the out-group is the people who do not belong to a specific group. The second stage is social identification, it is accepting as self-descriptive the qualities attributes to particular groups (Tajfel & Turner, 1979). It will be an emotional significance to individuals identification with a group, and self-esteem will become bound up with particular memberships (McLeod, 2008). The last process is social comparison, which is an evaluation of individuals’ selves or their own group by comparing with others. Once individuals have categorized themselves as part of a particular group, and have identified with this group, they then tend to compare this group with other groups (McLeod, 2008). Therefore, individuals cognitively express social groups as prototypes that describe and prescribe the perceptions, beliefs, attitudes, values, feelings and behaviors that characterize particular group and its members and differentiate it from relevant other groups and their own members (Hogg et al., 2010). When individuals are belonging in particular group, they become depersonalized due to their in-groups’ prototype, viewing them orthodoxly and creating ideology and normative practices are consistently with expectations about their attitudes and behaviors (Hogg et al., 2010).

Religion is a social group that defined by a common shared ideologies and worldviews that invokes the sacred in pursuing not only the nature of existence but also daily moral practices and wider attitudes, behaviors, customs, and rituals (Kimball, 2009; Hogg et al., 2010). Religious followers are those who identify with a particular religion and thus define themselves in religious status, adhere to its ideologies and worldviews, and conform to its behavioral prescriptions (Hogg et al., 2010). Therefore, individuals who belong to different religious affiliations in terms of their perceptions, beliefs, attitudes, values, feelings and behaviors based on their own religious prototypes and ideologies. There are many empirical studies have indicated a significant effect of religious affiliation in various consumer behaviors (Muhamad & Mizerski, 2010; Madni et al., 2016), such as purchasing behavior (Muhamad & Mizerski, 2010), shopping behavior (Essoo & Dibb, 2004), store attributes (Mokhlis, 2009), participation in social change organizations (Guo et al., 2013), switching behaviors (Choi, 2010) and many more.

Furthermore, the little empirical evidence that has been documented indicates that religious affiliation has the potential to be valuable predictor of pro-environmental behavior. For instance, Minton et al. (2015) argued that western religions (e.g., Christianity, Judaism, Islam) believe that God created nature, whereas God and humans hold a superior position to nature; on the other hand, eastern religions (e.g., Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism) follow a pantheistic view that God is in and via everything, include nature. Therefore, Sarre (1995) noticed that western religions should be less perform environmental behavior and more willing to alter the environment, because God created nature, thus God gave control of nature to humans. Furthermore, Martin & Bateman (2014) demonstrated that among Judeo-Christian’s, individuals who manifest their religious beliefs in their daily activities appear to neither embrace eco-centrism nor rely on their religious faith to perform environmental behaviors. In a study by Clements, McCright & Xiao (2014) also reported that Christians followers have lower levels of environmental concern than do non-Christian and non-religious respondents.

In the context of China, the Chinese place heavy emphasis on living in harmony with nature (Chan & Lau, 2000). Taoist philosophies and doctrines portray man’s relationship with nature by maintaining that an individual is only a part of nature and should not try to master and control it. In addition, individuals should to learn how to adapt to or even integrate with it to achieve a ‘Man-Nature unity’ (Chan & Lau, 2000). The Chinese conceive flowers, trees, and grass have their own ‘consciousness’ and thus should not be destroyed without good cause, nature has the own ‘way’ by which all things become what they are (Chan & Lau, 2000). Therefore, people should behave according to the way of nature which and is believed to be unalterable. All above mentioned suggested that Taoism should has a positive influence on ecological behaviors. Similarly, some previous studies also suggested that other eastern religions (i.e., Buddhism, Hinduism) have a positive influence on pro-environmental behavior (Mawdsley, 2004; Minton et al., 2015; Wang et al., 2019). Therefore:

H3: There is a significant difference between religious affiliation towards green purchase attitude.

H4: There is a significant difference between religious affiliation towards green purchase intention.

Green Purchase Attitude

Attitude refers to the degree to which a person has a favorable or unfavorable evaluation of the behavior in question (Ajzen, 1991). It is a psychological emotion, whereby a positive or negative evaluation arises when an individual participates with it in certain giving behavior (Chen & Tung, 2014). Thus, attitude includes judgement on whether the given behavior under consideration is good or bad and whether or not the actor wants to perform this behavior (Paul et al., 2016), and represents an individual’s consistently favorable or unfavorable evaluations, feelings, and tendencies towards any given behavior or ideas (Wang et al., 2019). In other words, an individual’s positive attitude towards a certain giving behaviour strengthens his/her intention to perform the behavior, and vice-versa (Wang et al., 2019). Many researchers agreed that attitude has always played an important role in determining consumer intention and behavior (Mohamad, Arifin, Samsuri & Munir, 2014; Wang, Wong & Elangkovan, 2020; Wang & Wong, 2020).

In line with the definition, in the green marketing, the green purchase attitude (GPA) is defined as individualistic value judgement, drawing upon cerebral faculties, about the importance of green products, and his/her cognitive assessment regarding the value of environmental protection (Wang et al., 2019, Wang et al., 2019). According to Levine & Strube (2012), individuals generally claim favorable views about the environment as they prefer to act out the environmental practices, through purchasing pro-environmental products or services, such as products with recyclable packaging or through properly disposing of non-biodegradable garbage, these actions can collectively and significantly contribute towards an improved environment quality (Chen & Chai, 2010). Furthermore, individuals recognize the seriousness of environmental issues which are possibly caused by excessive use of energy and non-durable natural resources, ample supplies of foods and products, environmentally-unfriendly production processes, environmental disasters and others (Vazifehdoust, Taleghani, Esmaeilpour, Nazari & Khadang, 2013). Such recognition of environmental awareness or concerns instills in the individual’s a positive attitude towards pro-environmental activities will encourage frequent engagement with pro-environmental behaviors in his/her daily lives (Vazifehdoust et al., 2013).

The relationship between GPA and intention and behavior has been established across many prior studies, and results have shown that GPA positively and significantly influenced intention and behavior towards performing specific pro-environmental behavior (Paul et al., 2016; Jaiswal & Kant, 2018; Wang et al., 2019). As per study by Wang et al. (2019) has explored the influence of TPB on intention towards green hotel selection in the China. An analysis of a web-based sampling of 261 respondents showed that the GPA was the strongest predictor compared to other predictors on intention to visit green hotels. In another study, Paul et al. (2016) investigated the relationship between environmental concern, TPB, and green purchase intention to visit green hotels in India. Using a quota sampling method and statistically analyzing a sample of 521 respondents, the results showed that the GPA was the most important predictor among all antecedents on the intention to visit green hotels. Meanwhile, Jaiswal & Kant (2018) analyzed a purposive convenient sampling of 351 respondents to explore the variables influencing green purchase behavior in India. The authors concluded that environmental concern, perceived consumer effectiveness, and GPA were the most important factors in predicting consumers’ green purchase intention, as well as there is a positive significant relationship between intention and behavior. However, GPA is underlined as the most important factor that can significantly impact intention among all predictors. Therefore, the following hypothesis is established (Figure 1):

H5: There is a positive significant relationship between GPA and intention to visit green hotels.


Measurement and Survey Questionnaire Development

A well-established, self-administered, and closed-ended format questionnaire was adopted in this study, because it being formal construction that incorporated a set of verified scales (Vaus, 2013). This method of data collection offered various advantages, such as enables a greater geographical coverage, saving costs, provides anonymity, less pressure, allows for quicker collection, and reduces levels of bias compared with the interviewer technique (Hair, Black, Babin & Tatham, 2010; Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2011).

The questionnaire was comprised and categorized into four sections: The first section includes the variable of consumer GPA, and seven items were developed by Wang et al. (2019); the second section includes questions to establish consumer green purchase intention, and four items were adopted from Wang et al. (2019); the third section revolved around extrinsic religiosity and consisted of four items developed by Worthington et al. (2003). Lastly, the fourth section elicited relevant demographic characteristics and religious affiliation. Furthermore, the 5-point Likert scale was adopted and utilized, as a five or seven-point Likert scale will more likely produce slightly higher mean scores within the highest possible attainable score, as well as this made the data comparison process much easier (Dawes, 2008).

Data Collection

The non-probability sampling method was adopted, whereby the purposive sampling technique was selected to collect sample. This is because in social science research, researchers usually have difficulty acquiring an accurate sampling frame from organizations and companies or difficulty locating appropriate respondents to answer research questions (Saunders et al., 2011). For these reasons, the purposive sampling technique was selected to collect samples as it allows the researchers to exercise self-judgment in selecting cases that would best fit their research objectives, enable respondents to answer the research questions (Hair et al., 2010). The limited reasonable number requirement for sample size was based on Cochran’s formula of 384 detected samples. This formula is frequent use when the target population is unknown or infinite in number (Cochran, 2007; Burstein, 2011; Sarmah, Hazarika & Choudhury, 2013). Furthermore, some researchers recommended using structural equation modeling (SEM) sample sizes of at least 200, and between 10 and 20 cases per parameter (Tabachnick & Fidell, 2012; Kline, 2015). Therefore, in this study, 421 responses were considered for analysis, which was higher than the recommended values for SEM and Cochran’s formula. Moreover, a pilot test with 30 samples was conducted to ensure that the questionnaire was usable and reduce any issues that could influence the results of the study, due to many researchers suggest that a sample size of around 10% for the pilot survey is appropriate (Connelly, 2008; Hill, 1998).

To classify the product class for study, the criteria were outlined per Shaanxi Tourism Government Bureau (2014,2016) revealed that there are only two green hotels operating in Xi’an city of Shaanxi province in China: Wanda Hilton Green Hotel (Golden ginkgo level Green hotel) and the Westin Green Hotel (Silver ginkgo level Green hotel). Therefore, a total of 900 questionnaires were distributed to the domestic tourist who are customers of these two green hotels while staying or have stayed these two green hotels between January and March, due to the Chinese New Year which usually comes between January and March. During this period, most local Chinese will undertake touristic activities, making it easier to collect data which is more representative of the population (Wang et al., 2020). A set of 500 questionnaires was collected from customers who were staying at these two green hotels by Xi’an local travel agencies, and another 400 completed questionnaires were gathered from customers who stayed and were staying at both green hotels manually by the researcher (i.e., onsite interception in front office department and F&B department).


Statistic Package for Social Science (SPSS) 19 was utilized for the descriptive statistic and ANOVA test, whereby confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and structural equation modeling (SEM) test with AMOS 22 were performed. The CFA would make used to help exploration what is more hypotheses by extending on which the recommended what is more observed variables match about not with those latent variables (Suhr, 2006). Next, the results were observed from SEM test, it works not only with a single simple or multiple linear regression, but also with a system of regression equations (Nachtigall, Kroehne, Funke & Steyer, 2003).

Descriptive Statistic

A total of 864 questionnaires were returned, however, 443 questionnaires were eliminated as the respondents were atheists. Therefore, the remaining 421 respondents were eligible for data analysis, rendering a total of 49% of the response rate to be usable. Of those 421 respondents, 59.9% of them were female and 46.3% of respondents had completed a 4-year bachelor’s degree. In total, 61.5% of the respondents belonged to the 18-30 age group, the monthly income of the most of respondents (34.9%) was less than 1700 Chinese Yuan (CNY). Most of the respondents with 29.9% believed in Taoism. Table 1 shows the descriptive statistic for all demographics.

Measurement Model

In the measurement model, all of the factor loadings considered must be at least 0.5, and ideally 0.7 or higher (Hair et al., 2010). Thus, the items of GPA1, GPA2, GPA3, GPA4, and GPI4 were dropped off from this study. For reliability, the composite reliability (CR) considered should greater than 0.7, whereas for convergent validity, the average variance extracted value (AVE) should be greater than 0.5 (Hair et al., 2010). For discriminate validity, the AVE should have been more than maximum shared squared variance (MSV) and average shared squared variance (ASV) (Byrne, 2016). As well as the correlation between each construct must be less than 0.9 for the measurement model. Therefore, the reliability and validity were established. In addition, the internal consistency was conducted as per many researchers’ recommended to use an index form for Cronbach’s Alpha values (Hair et al., 2010) (Tables 2 and Table 3).

Subsequently, the model fit was checked accordingly. Based on Hair et al. (2010), the chi-square divided by the df value (CMIN/DF) < 3.0 was deemed as good, while < 5.0 was sometimes permissible. In the model fit summary, the results showed that CMIN/DF = 1.417, p < 0.05. Furthermore, in the model for this study the GFI = 0.976, the CFI = 0.986, the AGFI = 0.961, the PGFI = 0.606, the IFI = 0.986, the TLI = 0.981, the NFI = 0.955, the RFI = 0.939, the PNFI = 0.712, the PCFI = 0.735, the RMSEA = 0.032. According to Ho (2006), there were at least three indices to be met to ensure the model fit.

Structural Model

The next step was to perform structural equation modeling (SEM) to evaluate the structural model and test the hypotheses. In the SEM, all of the path diagrams and the calculation of relationships are produced from the methodology of path analysis simultaneously (Nachtigall et al., 2003). The model fit indices of the structural model are as follow: CMIN/DF = 1.478, p < 0.05. Furthermore, in the model for this study the GFI = 0.964, the CFI = 0.962, the AGFI = 0.938, the PGFI = 0.561, the IFI = 0.963, the TLI = 0.947, the NFI = 0.939, the RFI = 0.914, the PNFI = 0.668, the PCFI = 0.684, the RMSEA = 0.059. The results show a good fit of the structural model. Overall, there was about 56% of the total variance in consumer green purchase intention can be explained by extrinsic religiosity and green purchase attitude. This step is illustrated in Figure 2 and Table 4, accordingly.


The last step was to perform ANOVA test to analysis the effect of difference religious affiliations on green purchase attitude and intention respectively. Table 5 displays the results of a one-way ANOVA, which was conducted to compare the effect of religious affiliation on green purchase attitude and intention. Next, a Scheffe Alpha test was performed to classify the difference between the religious affiliation groups as shown in Table 6.

 An analysis of variance showed that the effect of religious affiliation on GPA was statistically significantly, F (4,416) = 6.667, p = 0.000 values. Then, a Scheffe post hoc tests revealed that the Buddhism group, regarding GPA, was statistically higher than the Taoism group, p < 0.05 values. The mean difference (I-J) between the religious affiliation of Buddhism and Taoism was 0.3524. The Buddhism group has a higher level of GPA compared with Taoism group. Similarly, the results showed that the Buddhism group, regarding GPA, was statistically higher than the Islam group, p < 0.05 values. The mean difference (I-J) between Buddhism and Islam groups was 0.29551. The group of Buddhism had a higher level of GPA compared with the group of Islam.

Furthermore, the results revealed that the effect of religious affiliation on GPI was statistically significantly, F (4,416) = 6.116, p < 0.05. The Scheffe post hoc tests showed that the Buddhism group, regarding GPI, was statistically higher than the Taoism group, p < 0.05 values. The mean difference (I-J) between the religious affiliation of Buddhism and Taoism was 0.39625. It means that the Buddhism group has a higher level of GPI compared with Taoism group. Moreover, a Scheffe post hoc test revealed that the Buddhism group, regarding GPI, was statistically higher than the Islam group, p < 0.05 values. The mean difference (I-J) between the religious affiliation of Buddhism and Islam was 0.30434. The Buddhism group has a higher level of GPI compared with Islam group. Therefore, the hypotheses H3 and H4 were accepted.


In this study, the relationship between extrinsic religiosity and consumer attitude and intention toward green hotel selection was examined. The results showed that GPA had a major positive significant effect on GPI (p<0.001, β=0.735). Further, this is confirmed the validity of the theoretical foundations used in this study. Such outcomes correspond with the findings seen in previous studies (Wang et al., 2019; Wang et al., 2019). Therefore, it can be said that consumers who have a higher GPA will be result in a significantly increased intention towards visiting green hotels.

The results also had shown a significant relationship between extrinsic religiosity, GPA and GPI. Since there was a significant relationship between extrinsic religiosity and GPA (p<0.01, β=0.199), as well as there was a significant relationship between extrinsic religiosity and GPI (p<0.05, β=0.128). Such observation aligns with a number of researchers who have asserted that extrinsic religiosity plays a significant influence on consumers’ attitudes and behaviors rather than the cognitive commitment to religion, moreover, extrinsic religiosity tendency to be more predictive towards explaining consumer purchasing behavior (Muhamad & Mizerski, 2010; Wang et al., 2019).

Furthermore, this study examined the effect of religious affiliation on GPA and GPI towards green hotel selection. Previous research generally showed that there is a questionable existing in which religion has more effect on consumer pro-environmental attitude and behavior. For example, Sarre (1995) noticed that western religions should be less perform environmental behavior and more willing to alter the environment, because God created nature, thus God gave control of nature to humans. Recent study by Minton et al. (2015) argued that western religions (e.g., Christianity, Judaism, Islam) act less pro-environmental behaviors compared with eastern religions (e.g., Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism). Never the less, on the other hand, Islam and Chandrasekaran (2015) mentioned that the scriptures also emphasize the pro-environmental ‘stewardship ethic’, unfortunately, which was largely ignored by Judeo-Christians literature. Our results have partially confirmed that eastern religion (i.e., Buddhism) had more influence consumers GPA and GPI compared with western religion (i.e., Islam). Further, the results also showed that Buddhism had more effect on consumers GPA and GPI compared with Taoism. Nevertheless, there was no statistical difference between other western religious groups (i.e., Protestantism and Catholicism) toward GPA and GPI.

Implications for Practice

Environmental issues globally have increasingly caused major concern and notably, a focal point for consumers, society, business organizations, and governments (Wang et al., 2019). With the rapid economic growth, coupled with increasing worldwide consumption in the last two decades, has caused environmental deterioration through over-consumption and over-utilization of natural resources (Jaiswal & Kant, 2018). Rising environmental problems such as air pollution, solid wastes, ozone depletion, energy emissions, and natural disasters (Wang et al., 2019). In particular, the environmental problem is a hot issue for businesses and governments in China. For example, the Chinese communist party presented ‘Lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets’ in the 19th session of national congress of the communist party of China. However, there still has a question in implementing pro-environmental strategy in various aspects of industry in China. Many researchers criticized that the hospitality industry is the major consume of water and energy (Baker, Davis & Weaver, 2013; Mohamad et al., 2014), and even the concept of the green hotels was introduced into China in the middle of the 1990s (Huang, 2016). Nevertheless, the green hotel industry is still new to Chinese consumers, and they have a low perception of self-assessment regarding their awareness of green hotel (Wang et al., 2019). Therefore, how to improve consumers’ cognitions toward eco-friendly behavior and promote the conceptions of green hotels is particular important to hotels’ marketers.

The results of this study provide alternative thought for hotels’ marketers to attract potential consumers to patronize green hotels, since there is a positive significant relationship between extrinsic religiosity, GPA and GPI. There are two criteria provide the basic conditions for hotels’ marketers to implement green strategies in high-populated religious regions and tourist destinations: (1) According to Pew-Templeton (2015) report for the year 2010, there were 47.8 percent of the Chinese total population were religious, it means that there were approximately more than 600 million people who were staunch worshippers in the country; (2) The number of religious activities and adherent are increasing (Du, 2013). According to Kam, Goh, Zhang, Tang & Chifung (2013), with government support of tourism development, various forms of tourism have emerged in China. In particular, religious tourism is a special interest, the demand for this form of tourism comes mainly from the domestic market. Thus, to establish the connection between religious-orientation tourism and green hotels appears promising.

Regarding Chinese green hotel marketing, the hotels’ marketers should initiate their green strategies for green hotels in areas with highly religious population, known for tourism, economically developed provinces or special administration regions, such as Shaanxi, Fujian, and Hong Kong. Furthermore, since the influence of extrinsic religiosity was found to be significant in predicting certain pro-environmental attitudes and intentions, it follows that the acquirement of religious doctrines and knowledge of religiosity of green consumers can provide green marketers with a convenient and useful tool for their business. For instance, developing novel products, such as providing organic foods in their restaurants for vegetarians; providing high-quality services and reducing the use of toxic chemicals in toiletries. Also, to improve their reputation in high density religious local living areas, green hotels could donate excess food to charities; emphasising the location of prayer/mediation rooms or through promoting the use of local vegetables in attracting prospective consumers. Additionally, advertising (e.g., brochure, vouchers, bulletin, etc.) should highlight pro-environmental behaviour corresponding to particular religious beliefs and doctrines, this is evident per Taoism’s emphasis on the  concept of ‘Man and nature’, Buddhism’s emphasis on ‘Karma’, Islam’s emphasis on ‘The Earth is a Sacred and Holy place’, and the Catholic and Protestantism’s emphasis on ‘Nature and Human Responsibility’ (Wang et al., 2019).

Theoretical Implications

Many studies examined green purchase behaviour concerning green hotel selection have typically used the TRA and TPB (Han, 2015; Paul et al., 2016). However, those studies have also shown inconsistent results in their ongoing use (Wang et al., 2019b). In particular, the relationship between beliefs, attitudes, and behaviour is a complicated subject, as the beliefs and attitudes do not generally convert into behaviour (Chatzidakis, Hibbert & Smith, 2007). Therefore, researchers should pay close attention to the consistent variables that influence consumer behaviour in a prolonged period. Religiosity works at the micro level, that encourages individuals to adhere to particular values and represents the values inherent in an individual towards a particular religion which tends to stabilise over an extended period (Khraim, 2010; Madni et al., 2016). Thereby, influencing individual’s purchase predisposition, such as their attitudes, interactions, behaviours and so forth (Shin, Park, Moon & Kim, 2011; Madni et al., 2016). Although, many researchers appear to have under-estimated the relativity between consumer behaviour and the influence of religiosity, especially, the influence of religiosity as an antecedent to environmental attitudes and behaviour which has been rarely investigated in green marketing (Cronin, Smith, Gleim, Ramirez & Martinez, 2011; Mas’od & Chin, 2014).

On the other hand, there is a debate regarding using extrinsic religiosity to predict consumer attitude and behaviour in the literature. For instance, Yanu et al. (2014) indicated that the nature of the extrinsic religiosity (e.g., religious affiliation) as an identification factor difficulty explains much about religious influences in consumer behavior, due to the extrinsic religiosity has not been able to internalize the teachings of religion, or through psychometric testing to measure consumer attitude and behavior (Martin & Bateman, 2014). In contrast, Muhamad & Mizerski (2010) claimed that extrinsic religiosity (e.g., church attendance) rather than intrinsic religiosity to religion, was found to be more predictive towards explaining consumer purchase behavior. The results demonstrated that the extrinsic religiosity (e.g., church attendance, religious affiliation, etc.,) is still considered one of the most widely used method for investigating consumer purchasing attitude and behavior. The effect of extrinsic religiosity still can play an important role in influencing consumer attitude and behavior.

Furthermore, research ahead green hotels determination written works to China is at present in its preliminary stage, needing a bound together definition and a precise schema (Wang et al., 2020). There are still issues existing done academia something like green hotels determination over China, and Chinese consumers’ concern also comprehension of green hotels might have been even now during an low level (Wang et al., 2020). Moreover, the dominant part of literature on religiosity is focused around purchasing/green purchasing acquiring conduct for an specific concentrate on the impact of Christianity what is more Judaism once western countries’ consumers (Minton et al., 2015), there is a constrained sum of experimental investigations need concentrated on the possibility adequacy of religiosity as a paramount predictor for comprehension consumer behavior/green behavior considerations and conduct in China (Wang et al., 2019a). This implies that the prior outcomes about identified with those impacts about religiosity on consumer purchase behavior conduct would get unseemly for the setting about China. Therefore, the findings furnish a fundamental understanding of Chinese religious consumer green purchase behavior toward green hotel selection in this particular research field, and recommended that future research in this area, needs will take account of the findings claiming this study that green purchase attitude and intention are influenced by the extrinsic religiosity.

Limitations and Recommendations

This study was conducted within a very limited scope of Xi’an city of Shaanxi province, China. Although there were 421 questionnaires were utilized in data analysis, however, the results cannot be said to represent overall Chinese consumers’ characteristics. Also, only two respondents were above 61 years of age, this is also cannot represent various characteristics of ages of Chinese consumers. Therefore, this study was only conducted in China, meaning that the conclusions will only apply to this area and country. The results of this study should be replicated and tested in other areas or countries to further confirm the validity and usefulness. Furthermore, some researchers have argued that intrinsic religiosity has more influence compared with extrinsic religiosity toward consumer purchase behavior (Mukhtar & Butt, 2012; Chai & Tan, 2013). Therefore, future research should combine intrinsic religiosity and extrinsic religiosity to predict consumer green purchase behavior (e.g., green hotel selection).


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