CUHK Business School Research Reveals Face Concern Shapes Consumers’ Positive Perception towards Green Brands

Media OutReach - 22 November 2018 - Why do we care about green products
and services? Are we protecting the environment or our face?


As more people are becoming aware of the importance of environmental
protection, more people are supporting green products and services. This is
also true in tourism where green hotels are becoming popular among travelers.
Travelers who are keen to protect the environment will be willing to find
eco-friendly hotels to stay in.


We seldom
question others or ourselves the motive behind our support for green living. We'd
like to think that we're doing it for the good cause -- protecting the
environment. However, a recent study conducted by Prof. Lisa Wan, Assistant
Professor of School of Hotel and Tourism Management, and Director of Centre for
Hospitality and Real Estate Research at The Chinese University (CUHK) Business
School, took a deeper look and found that face concern has something to do with
our perception of green hotels.


"Face concern is what we think of our social images in front of
others. Our study aims to extend the hospitality green consumption to a domain
of personal value," says Prof. Wan.


The Study

The study invited 200 members (with 55.7 percent of them being female) of
an online apparel shopping community in mainland China to participate. The
participants were asked to complete a questionnaire concerning their opinions,
perceived quality and purchase behavior toward green hotel brands.


They were all requested to answer the following three items to measure
their perceptions on green hotel brands on a 7-point scale (1=very poor; 7=very


  • I perceive the quality of a green hotel brand is...
  • I perceive the quality of a hotel which involves in
    energy saving is...
  • I perceive the quality of a hotel which has
    environmentally sound practices is...


At the same time, they were asked to rate six statements measuring their
face concern:


  • I care about praise and criticism from others
  • I care about others' attitudes toward me
  • I hate being taken lightly
  • I will be very angry if other are impolite to me
  • I will be very happy if I am treated with respect
  • I will be very upset if I am criticised in public


In terms of
purchase intention, they were asked two questions: "Do you agree that you
like to choose a green hotel over a regular hotel?"; "Do you agree
that you like to recommend a green hotel over a regular hotel to your relatives
or friends?", and rated them on a scale (1=strongly disagree; 7=strongly


The Findings

predicted, the results found a face concern effect on perceived quality and
purchase intention toward a green hotel brand. To be specific, face concern can
lead to a higher perceived quality toward a green hotel brand, and exerts a
positive influence on consumers' purchase intentions.


findings indicate that face concern can moderate a customer's view toward a
green hotel brand in terms of perceived quality and purchase intentions,"
says Prof. Wan. "The higher the face concern, the greater the positive
effect of a green hotel brands."


What's more
interesting is that a person's perceived social status will affect his or her
needs for face concern, the study reveals.


with higher social status are evaluated by others with a higher social
standard, so they have a greater need to maintain their faces in different
occasions," she says.



As such,
Prof. Wan suggests that marketers can leverage the link between face concern
and the consumption of green brands in their campaigns.


instance, hotel managers can put more efforts into promoting their green
initiatives to travelers with a higher face concern, who usually have a higher
level of income and social status," she says.


Given that
Asian consumers in general are more concerned about face than westerners, Prof.
Wan adds that the promotion of green branding initiatives should be more
prominent in Asian markets.


may strategically highlight the relationship between face enhancement and green
brands in their messages, for example, with messages such as: 'Proud to be a
supporter of green initiatives!'"


Given that
face concern would be more pronounced in public than in private settings, she
suggests that "future research can also explore public versus private
consumption variable that may moderate the positive impact of face concern on
consumer reactions to green brands."



Lisa C.
Wan, Patrick Poon (2014), "Tourist
Views on Green Brands: The Role of Face Concern
," Annals of Tourism Research, Vol. 46, p173-175.


article was first published in the China Business Knowledge (CBK) website by
CUHK Business School:


About CUHK Business School

Business School comprises two schools -- Accountancy and Hotel
and Tourism Management -- and four
departments -- Decision Sciences
Managerial Economics, Finance
Management and Marketing. Established in Hong Kong in 1963, it is the first
business school to offer BBA, MBA and Executive MBA programmes in the region.
Today, the
School offers 8 undergraduate programmes and 20 graduate programmes including MBA, EMBA,
Master, MSc
, MPhil and Ph.D.


In the Financial
Global MBA Ranking 2018, CUHK MBA is ranked 43rd. In FT's 2018 EMBA ranking, CUHK EMBA is ranked 29th in the world. CUHK Business School has the largest number
of business alumni (3
among universities/business schools
in Hong Kong
-- many of whom are key business leaders. The School currently has
about 4,400
undergraduate and postgraduate students and Professor Kalok Chan is the Dean of
CUHK Business School.


More information is available at or by
connecting with CUHK Business School on

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