Social Responsibility in the Global Market: Fair Trade of Cultural Products


Mary Ann Littrell & Marsha Ann Dickson

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  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Part I: Introduction to Fair Trade in the Global Market

    Part II: Income, Justice, and Empowerment through Fair Trade

    Part III: Diverse Stakeholders in the System of Fair Trade

    Part IV: Challenges and Opportunities for Maximizing Social Responsibility through Fair Trade

  • Dedication

    To John and Scott, whose love, support, and encouragement we deeply value.


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    With great appreciation, we acknowledge the countless artisans, retailers, and consumers who contributed to the ideas presented in this book. Most important, we thank the many leaders in the fair trade movement who 6 years ago welcomed us to their workplaces and introduced us to “a different way of doing business.” Over time they became our friends and champions in telling their story. Their frequent telephone calls to update us on their accomplishments, discuss challenges, and ask the ever-present question of “how's the book going?” were continuing inspiration. Although the interpretations offered in this book are ours, each of these individuals offered a unique and significant contribution to our analysis. More specifically, we thank Paul Myers, Joyce Burkholder, and Rachel Hess at Ten Thousand Villages; Robert Chase and Brian Backe at SERRV; Jimmy Pryor, Joan Stewart, Sandy Calhoun, and Teresa Cordón at the former Pueblo to People; Pushpika Freitas at MarketPlace: Handwork of India; Clare Brett Smith and Tom Aageson at Aid to Artisans; Dan Salcedo at PEOPLink; Dick Meyer at Traditions Fair Trade; Ron Spector at Asociación Maya; and Barb Fenske and Angela Bailon at UPAVIM.

    In addition to sustained communication with the aforementioned Alternative Trade Organization (ATO) leaders, others offered important insights at various junctures along our journey. We particularly value the special contributions from artisans in Guatemala, India, and Ghana who described their work, invited us to their homes, and talked about their involvement with ATOs. Some asked that they not be named; others in Guatemala requested that their group's name, address, and a contact person be listed in the book. We have honored this request through a listing of Guatemalan artisan groups in Appendix B. Contact information for the Mumbai, India arm of MarketPlace: Handwork of India is also included. Our opportunities to meet with artisans would not have been possible without the guidance and assistance in translation from Teresa Cordón, Jackie Arreaza, Fatima Merchant, and Bridget Kyerematen.

    Still others extended details of their particular involvement in aspects of design, product development, or marketing with ATOs. Here we appreciate the perspectives of Docey Lewis, Deborah Chandler, Barb Fogle, Lynda Grose, Fran Sanders, Cathie Chilson, Lalita Monteiro, Marilyn Clark, Lee Ann Ward, Larry Lack, Kerry Evans, and Catherine Renno. Finally, more than 700 customers of ATO catalogs returned our questionnaires and as such gave of their time to the larger concern of better understanding the preferences and needs of ATO consumers.

    We both feel fortunate to work in university departments that foster scholarly debate and encourage multidisciplinary work. We are indebted to our colleagues and graduate students who have encouraged our thinking and served as coresearchers on various ATO-related projects from which we have drawn. Specifically, we thank Jennifer Paff Ogle, Soyoung Kim, and Rosalind Paige. For the quantitative portion of the research, we appreciate the statistical consultation provided by Frederick O. Lorenz, Kenneth Koehler, and R. Kenneth Teas, all of Iowa State University.

    Funding or in-kind contributions from a wide range of sources helped with our travel to the different ATOs and artisan groups, as well as other expenses associated with the research. We thank the following for their financial assistance: the International Textile and Apparel Association; MarketPlace: Handwork of India; Iowa State University's Professional Advancement Grant Program; the ISU College of Family and Consumer Science's Grace Olsen, Julia Anderson, and Cowan-New-brough International Funds; the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center; the honor society Kappa Omicron Nu; and in-kind contributions of mailing lists, catalogs, and travel accommodations from Pueblo to People, Ten Thousand Villages, and SERRV.

    To end, we want to express our immense appreciation to our editor, Harry Briggs. Throughout, Harry was just an e-mail away in answering our questions and offering valuable critique. In addition, four anonymous reviewers enlarged our thinking in helping us to consider additional perspectives on our emerging analysis.

  • Appendix A: Methods

    Research emerges and unfolds in many ways. Describing our methods in some detail has several purposes. First, the methodological details provide readers with background on the rich body of data from which we drew our interpretation. Second, the various studies illustrate the power of having at our disposal a range of quantitative and qualitative methodological expertise for application to diverse settings and for answering different kinds of research questions. Finally, the description offers insight into the value of conducting market research from a holistic, systemic perspective. Study of each stakeholder in the system informs understanding of other system members and of the complex interactions involved in marketing products across cultures.

    To begin our research journey, in the spring of alternate years, Mary Littrell leads a study tour to Mexico for Iowa State University's graduate students in textiles and clothing. Students visit indigenous entrepreneurs in Oaxaca and Chiapas who are attempting to tap tourist and export markets. Marsha Dickson, a participant in the 1991 trip, came away especially unsettled by the juxtaposition of artistic beauty and poverty among the Maya Indians in Chiapas. A new Ph.D. student at the time, Marsha was thinking about ideas for her dissertation research.

    Shortly after returning home from the 1991 study tour, Mary Littrell received a mail-order catalog from Pueblo to People (PtP). Initially, the catalog caught Mary's eye with its Latin American crafts. However, she soon realized that there was more to the organization than just the products and standard commercial practices. Excitedly, she shared the catalog with Marsha. Over the next few months, we initiated plans for a multiphase research program focused on attaining a holistic understanding of the alternative trade system.

    The earliest research ideas focused on consumers who buy from Alternative Trade Organizations (ATOs). Particularly, we were interested in surveying PtP's customers to see if there were market segments with differing interests and preferences for ethnic products. We wanted to be able to share a greater understanding of PtP's customers with the artisans in Latin America so that they might have opportunities for expanded sales and thus increased livelihood from their craft sales. However, we realized that for our “advice” to be relevant to ATOs and the artisans, we first needed to understand the needs and business practices of all stakeholders in the alternative trade system, including artisans, ATOs, and consumers. Over the next few years, we pieced together grants from a variety of sources to support a research program that would include studies of artisan groups in Guatemala and India, ATO organizations and movement leaders across the United States, and consumer studies with PtP and MarketPlace: Handwork of India.

    Establishing Rapport in the ATO Community

    Our initial entry to the ATO community was by letter and then a subsequent site visit paid by Mary Littrell during autumn 1991 to PtP's headquarters in Houston. Basic information on the mission and scope of operations was attained at this time. During her visit, Mary approached PtP with the idea that Marsha Dickson would like to conduct her graduate research on PtP's customers; Jimmy Pryor, Sandy Calhoun, and Joan Stewart were receptive of the idea. Shortly after the Houston trip, similar background information was sought by mail from other ATOs.

    From our initial contacts with ATOs and continuing throughout the 6 years of research, the ATO community responded freely and enthusiastically to our requests for information. We were given open access to headquarters, managers, and staff during on-site field research. A core of ATO leaders served as key informants and collaborators throughout the project. As our interpretations emerged, we readily provided them with the results of our work. As reports, research manuscripts, and chapters of this book were written, drafts were shared with ATO members so that accuracy was validated. To place the case studies within the broader context of the U.S. ATO movement, over the years that followed, we participated in four national conferences of the Fair Trade Federation (FTF). During the conferences, we presented and received feedback on papers that offered early interpretations of our research findings. By sharing our ongoing research with various ATO leaders and FTF members, their responses served as “member checks” in providing feedback on our emerging interpretation of the research findings (Lincoln & Guba, 1985, p. 314; Miles & Huberman, 1994).

    The diversity of methods used for our research parallels the diversity of people we studied. In the next three sections, we outline the approaches employed for each major phase of the research, including that conducted with artisans, ATOs, and consumers.

    Artisan Research

    The artisan research initially focused on Guatemalan groups. We traveled to Guatemala for field research in 1992 and returned in 1997. The research was designed to inductively describe and analyze the organizational cultures of artisan groups who work with ATOs as grounded in the explanations and behaviors of the managers and employees (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Multiple case studies with theoretical replications formed our research design (Yin, 1994).

    During the 1992 trip, we visited nine Guatemalan groups from the population of 22 cooperatives that worked with PtP. The choice of groups was purposeful; we wanted to capture multiple realities based on an array of business experiences (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Criteria for sampling included a range of business sizes (6-member cooperative to an organization with 190 members), gender composition (all women, all men, both women and men), geographic location (mountain hamlet of five households to the capitol city of 1.2 million residents), production sites (in-home production, centrally located workshop), products (household products; men's women's, and children's apparel; textile accessories), and success achieved (limited market for products to marketing through multiple outlets). Teresa Cordón, who was PtP's in-country representative in Guatemala, helped select the groups and traveled with us as we collected data. The groups we visited in 1992 included the following:

    • Asociación San Lucas and La Esperanza in Guatemala City
    • Las Girasoles in Patzun
    • Tejidos de Guadelupe in Santa Apalonia
    • Artesanas de San Juan in San Juan la Laguna on Lake Atitlán
    • Artexco, a federation of cooperatives in Quezaltenango
    • Cooperative de Desarrollo do Occidente (CDRO), a development group in Totonicopán
    • A group of sewers called Impuladora Mercederia and an unnamed group of weavers in rural Totonicopán who worked through CDRO

    Traveling with the ATO representative, we were better able to understand the content and dynamics of interactions between ATO managers and artisan producers. In addition, because Teresa was well respected by the artisans, she provided us entry into each group and lent credibility to our efforts.

    The 1992 Guatemala field research took place over a 3-week period with one day spent with each group. Interviews were conducted in Spanish and lasted from 15 minutes to 1 hour with each person interviewed; observations were made over several hours during the day. The field research was guided by interview and observation schedules developed based on the organizational culture literature. Questions for the interviews were phrased in a manner to avoid shaping the direction in which informants responded (Miles & Huberman, 1994). An overall goal was to “step into the mind of another person, to see and experience the world as they do themselves” (McCracken, 1988, p. 9). Through interviews with 29 managers and employees and observations in a variety of production workshops, we were privy to how product decisions were made and business was conducted. Interviews centered on topics related to the group's history, organizational structure, and leadership; member participation; product decisions and new product development; local textile traditions; interactions with retail and wholesale customers; community involvement; and future goals.

    At each research site, while Mary conducted interviews, Marsha used an observation schedule for guiding her focus among employees as they made products, inspected them for quality, and prepared products for shipping. Across the nine businesses, 134 employees were observed. Observations focused on workplace layout and conditions, work patterns, equipment, materials, and product range, quality, sizing, and aesthetics.

    Trustworthiness of the data was established using several techniques incorporated throughout research design, data collection, and interpretation (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). To enhance credibility and dependability, we used triangulation of methods (interviews, observations), sources of data (multiple individuals, multiple businesses), and multiple investigators (Huberman & Miles, 1994; Lincoln & Guba, 1985). At the end of the day, we independently wrote up field notes and identified emerging themes. Data analysis began while we were in the field; open coding was applied to the interviews, observations, and field notes. Each new theme and subtheme was compared to previous themes for similarities or differences. Then, we exchanged notes, and themes were discussed and negotiated. During these daily debriefings, we acted as independent judges for each other's work. In addition, emerging insights were shared on a daily basis with Teresa Cordón as a form of audit on our evolving interpretation of organizational culture.

    Upon return to the United States, we continued comparative refinement and elaboration of themes that formed the profile of organizational culture for textile and apparel artisan businesses in Guatemala. At this stage, Marsha used deductive analysis to compare themes elaborated during the field research with dimensions of organizational culture identified in previous research literature. With inductive analysis, she also allowed unique dimensions to emerge that were not identified in previous research on organizational culture. After Marsha concluded interpretation, Mary examined the interpretation for agreement.

    During a second trip to Guatemala in September 1997, we revisited some of the groups interviewed in 1992 to learn how their conditions had changed. In addition, we were introduced to several groups we had not met before. Our initial stop during the 1997 trip was with UPAVIM in Guatemala City, a group with whom Mary had made contact through Barb Fenske, their North American adviser (mentioned in Chapters 8 and 10). At UPAVIM, we interviewed the 4 managers and observed 30 employees involved in craft production.

    Kerry Evans, then in-country representative for PtP, was our initial contact in setting up the PtP portion of the trip, and she provided information about the groups that were still in business since our 1992 visit. Because Kerry was unable to accompany us to see the groups, Teresa Cordón once again traveled with us. We made return visits to Las Girasolas, Tejidos de Guadelupe, and Artesanas de San Juan. In addition, Teresa accompanied us on our visit to the group Ron Spector founded in Sololá, Asociación Maya. Here we interviewed 6 managers and employees, including a U.S. intern, and observed 10 employees. The 1997 trip with Teresa was particularly insightful because she delivered a letter to the artisan groups that PtP's Guatemala office would be closing. We were able to observe and discuss firsthand the impact PtP's anticipated closing had on the artisans.

    In addition, during the 1997 trip, Jackie Arreaza, a Scottish expatriate who lives in Guatemala and works with Sister Parish and SERRV, made arrangements and accompanied us to meet several other groups with ATO involvement. Through Jackie's efforts, we visited Ruth and Nohemi in Chichicastenango, staying 2 days at the group's dormitory and traveling with its leader, Diego Chicoj Ramos, to the small community of Chontalá, where the weavers reside. This connection afforded us the opportunity to interview and observe six more artisans in a household context. Data collection and analysis techniques, similar to those used in 1992, were applied to gather and interpret data on our second trip to Guatemala.

    To broaden the geographic and cultural perspective for ATO artisans, in 1996 Mary conducted field research in India at the time of an intense 2-week design and product review for a forthcoming catalog of MarketPlace: Handwork of India. Organizational decentralization described in Chapter 6 was under way at that time. Following similar procedures to those in Guatemala, household-based workshops were observed, and interviews were conducted with 10 artisans, the head designer, and 7 managers. In Mumbai, interviews focused on business management and product sizing issues. Participation in the design workshop held in Bhavnigar afforded many opportunities to experience the concentrated activities surrounding the evolution of a MarketPlace apparel line. On a near-daily basis, Mary was invited to return home with artisans to meet their families, discuss daily routines, and observe firsthand the conditions in which women embroider and sew MarketPlace products.

    ATO Research

    Our research with ATOs first focused on PtP, but we quickly expanded to include two other comprehensive ATOs: MarketPlace and Ten Thousand Villages. As with the artisan research, we sought to inductively describe and provide emic analysis of ATO culture and behaviors (Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Strauss & Corbin, 1990; Yin, 1994). The first three ATOs were selected for their variety in the size of a U.S.-based office (6 to 100 employees), level of annual sales ($1 million to $6.8 million), years in operation (10 to 50 years), retail distribution (specialty store, mail-order catalog), and geographic focus for product sourcing (worldwide, regional, and country specific). Later, we added SERRV to our research because of its distinctive channels for distribution and its financial turnaround in recent years.

    To initiate the case studies, field interviews were conducted with 30 managers and employees in human resources, marketing, product development, sourcing, catalog design, and promotion functions. Interviews lasted from 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the range of topics relevant to the employee's job. Open-ended “grand tour, example, and experience” questions (Spradley, 1979, pp. 85–90) allowed us to understand ATO employees' views of alternative trade. Topics, identified a priori from the organizational culture and competitive strategy literature, were posed as a form of anticipatory conceptual exploration but were carefully worded to avoid leading the informants' responses (Miles & Huberman, 1994). Interviews addressed company history, organization, and management of the U.S. office (leadership, employee structure, communication, finances), products (mix, development), market (target, competition, pricing), personal satisfaction and support, and organizational accomplishments, challenges, and goals. In addition to interviews, employees were observed as they received and filled telephone orders, participated in meetings, and made product and catalog decisions. Printed materials, including mission statements, newsletters, and catalogs, served as sources for confirming and augmenting interviews and observations.

    Since our initial field research in 1992 and 1993, we have remained in close touch with each ATO on a semiannual or annual basis. In 1997, we returned to Ten Thousand Villages, Pueblo to People, and MarketPlace for follow-up, in-depth interviews and discussions with managers concerning our analysis of ATO past performance and future viability. In addition, as the book unfolded, we went back to key informants with additional questions that arose from our writing.

    Trustworthiness of the data was established using a variety of techniques (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Credibility of the research findings was instituted through prolonged (6 years) and repeated engagement (two to six interviews) with key leaders at each ATO and through our presence at their workplaces and conferences. Triangulation, a form of convergent validation, involved multiple techniques for data collection (interviews, observations), multiple data sources (transcripts, documents, conference notes), and multiple researchers (Denzin, 1978; Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Yin, 1994). To understand ATO promotional strategies, observations of visual merchandising and product mix were also made in more than 20 U.S. shops that feature ATO products. Through triangulation, each method, data source, or researcher provided a different “line of sight” on a substantive picture of ATO business performance (Berg, 1995, p. 5).

    A grounded theory approach was used to analyze the data in a manner that was not specified a priori, revealing the “reality under investigation” (Glaser, 1992; Strauss & Corbin, 1990, p. 24). Derived categories of meaning are said to fit when they are “readily … applicable to and indicated by the data under study” (Glaser & Strauss, 1967, p. 3). Open coding was applied by both Mary and Marsha to field notes, transcribed interviews, observations, and documents. Open coding involves careful examination of the data for inductively discovered themes and subthemes of meaning (Strauss & Corbin, 1990, p. 62). As the coding evolved, each new narrative unit was compared to previous units for its similarity or differences. This process of “constant comparing” led to continual refinement of individual themes and to the evolution of broader patterns and expanded conceptual insights (Glaser & Strauss, 1967, p. 101). During the coding process, differences in interpretation were negotiated until consensus was achieved between the two researchers.

    In addition to case studies with the larger, comprehensive ATOs, as we learned more about ATOs and became committed to a holistic understanding of the ATO system, we sought out some of the smaller, more focused ATOs and prominent leaders in the North American ATO movement. Case studies and interviews were conducted with Claire Smith and Tom Aageson at Aid to Artisans; Daniel Salcedo, Elaine Bellezza, and Ted Johnson at PEOPLink; Ron Spector, who founded Asociación Maya; FTF board member Dick Meyer, who owns the retail store Traditions Fair Trade; Marilyn Clark at Paraclete Society; and Catherine Renno, longtime ATO participant and former president of FTF. Similar data analysis methods were used for these new data as had been used in the earlier case studies.

    Consumer Research

    Methods used for market research with PtP's and MarketPlace's customers depart dramatically from the qualitative field research methods used in the artisan and ATO case studies. Our goal with the market research was to gather a large amount of data from as many ATO consumers as we could affordably reach. Thus, we used survey research methods and quantitative data analysis techniques.

    Pueblo to People Consumer Research

    The PtP consumer study was conducted in 1993. The population of interest was the approximately 94,000 persons throughout the United States who had purchased or had the opportunity to purchase ethnic clothing from PtP. To facilitate comparison between groups with differing past purchase behavior, PtP's mailing list was stratified into three groups from which 1 in k systematic random samples were selected (Scheaffer, Mendenhall, & Ott, 1986). The groups included (a) persons who had purchased clothing and possibly other products within the last 2 years (clothing purchasers), (b) persons who had purchased some products but no clothing from Pueblo to People within the last 2 years (other purchasers), and (c) persons who had requested the catalog during the last 6 months of 1992 but had not purchased any products (nonpurchasers). We sampled 296 names from each of the two purchaser groups and 333 names from what we anticipated was the less committed non-purchasing group. An anticipated returned sample size of 200 from each group (total returned, N = 600) was based on the response rate achieved in research using similar telephone screening and mailing procedures (Abraham, 1992; Dillman, 1978).

    In attempts to increase response rate, telephone screening to encourage participation was conducted with persons from the two purchaser lists for whom there were telephone numbers. Mailings took place in spring of 1993 and followed the first three steps of Dillman's (1978) four-step mailing. Distribution of the 788 questionnaires included 233 to clothing purchasers, 230 to other purchasers, and 325 to nonpurchasers. Of 433 returned questionnaires, 376 were usable (49% response rate); the distribution of usable questionnaires by group was the following: clothing purchasers = 160 (68% response), other purchasers = 124 (54% response), and nonpurchasers = 92 (29% response).


    The questionnaire mailed to each participant was a 12-page booklet similar to that recommended by Dillman (1978). The topics included were suggested through focus groups interviews with U.S. consumers that took place prior to questionnaire development. A table of specifications aided in determining the content areas to be measured and the number of items appropriate for measuring each major variable (Touliatos & Compton, 1988). Five researchers familiar with the study examined the questionnaire for its appropriateness and ability to discriminate among content areas. Pretests of the questionnaire led to several changes in content, length, and format.

    The values section of the questionnaire comprised 18 terminal values from the Rokeach Value Survey (RVS) (Rokeach, 1973) plus three new items related to environment, education, and human welfare. Rokeach defines terminal values as those end goals in life for which people strive. The 21 values items were measured on a 99-point rating scale (1 = not at all important to me. Nothing I do is ever based on this guiding principle and 99 = an extremely important guiding principle in my life. Everything I do is based on this principle), as developed by Rankin and Grube (1980).

    Attitudes toward issues in Latin America and alternative trade were measured with two sets of attitudinal items. All items in this section were rated on a 7-point scale (1 = strongly disagree to 7 = strongly agree).

    To gather more detailed information on ethnic apparel preferences and perceptions, a clothing evaluative criteria section included 53 items falling within the categories of aesthetic, usefulness, performance and quality, expressive effect, and extrinsic criteria described in previous research with apparel customers (Abraham-Murali & Littrell, 1995; Eckman, Damhorst, & Kadolph, 1990). Additional evaluative criteria were based on previous studies of textile craft consumers (Littrell, 1990; Littrell, Casselman, & Johnson, 1990; Littrell et al., 1992; Slaybaugh et al., 1990). Two questions were asked for each of the 53 evaluative criteria items. The desirability of evaluative criteria was measured by asking respondents to “tell us how desirable each of the characteristics would be to you, whether or not they describe the clothing currently available from PtP.” Possible ratings included 7 points ranging from −3 (very undesirable) to +3 (very desirable). A second question asked participants to rate how well they thought the item described the clothing sold by Pueblo to People (7-point scale, with −3 = strongly disagree to +3 = strongly agree). The question referred specifically to clothing currently available from Pueblo to People, and instructions directed participants to refer to the current catalog, mailed with the questionnaire, as they answered the questions.

    Nine items, all of which were measured on a 7-point scale (1 = strongly disagree and 7 = strongly agree), were used to measure risk perceived in making mail-order purchases of apparel. The items were adapted from previous studies that included the types of risk most relevant to the purchase of ethnic clothing from PtP, including general risk, psychological, social, financial (Jacoby & Kaplan, 1972), time (Roehl & Fesenmaier, 1992), and performance or satisfaction risk (Jacoby & Kaplan, 1972; Rucker, Ho, & Prato, 1989). Reliability ratings of .71 to .78 had been achieved using scales that included several types of perceived risk (Brooker, 1984; Roehl & Fesenmaier, 1992).

    To measure behaviors and demographics, we developed a variety of items. We affirmed the dependent variable, past purchase behavior, with one item that asked participants to state whether they had purchased any product from Pueblo to People. A follow-up question for those answering in the affirmative asked participants to indicate the variety of product categories from which they had purchased. One item, “How likely is it that you will buy clothing from Pueblo to People in the next 12 months?” measured consumer behavior intentions (1 = very unlikely and 7 = very likely). We also asked participants to list the Latin American countries to which they had traveled and to identify if they had ever volunteered in the Peace Corps or other similar institutions. Demographic variables included race, sex, education and income levels, and amount of ethnic clothing owned.

    Data Analysis

    Data were analyzed in multiple stages. First, common factor analysis, using the principal factor method of extraction and varimax rotation, was used to examine relationships among items and to aid in the creation of summated scores of variables that would reduce the number of items carried into further analyses (Cliff, 1987; SAS Institute, 1990). Factor analysis provided a basis for determining whether items developed for the study were conceptually unified. Factor analysis was run separately on groups of variables measuring all major topics—values, Latin American involvement, altruism, evaluative criteria that described clothing sold by PtP, evaluative criteria that were desirable when purchasing clothing from PtP, and mail-order risk. Inter-item correlation was calculated as a measure of internal reliability, and all were well within the acceptable range (.50 to .60 or greater) for new instruments (Nunnally, 1967).

    In the second stage of data analysis, multiple discriminant analysis (MDA) was conducted as a sample-descriptive technique to determine the relative contribution of variables explaining differences between the three purchasing groups: clothing purchasers, other purchasers, and nonpurchasers (Churchill, 1991; SPSS, Inc., 1988). MDA attempts to develop weighted linear combination of variables or canonical discriminant functions that maximally separate categorical groups. MDA “thinks” much like the purchaser would; it simultaneously considers a number of variables.

    In a third stage of data analysis, cluster analysis, using Ward's clustering criterion (SAS Institute, 1990), allowed formation of clusters based on similarities in ratings of desirability for the clothing evaluative criteria. Ward's criterion for clustering minimizes within-cluster variance, thus allowing for more homogeneous groupings (SAS Institute, 1990). The number of clusters was determined by examining how groups differed on their ratings of desirability for clothing evaluative criteria as well as the most significantly different criteria. Emphasis was placed on practical as well as significant differences to ensure that the resultant market segments could be targeted for meaningful product development. In addition, the relative ratings of evaluative criteria within each cluster were examined. Clusters were named to reflect the dominant characteristics of the market segments.

    After segmentation, the clusters were further described by running univariate and chi-square tests of significance on descriptive variables, including personal values, attitudes regarding interest and involvement in issues pertinent to the producers of ethnic apparel, beliefs concerning benefits currently offered by PtP clothing, and consumer behavior regarding ethnic apparel. In addition, a number of demographic variables were examined to provide information on reaching a given market segment.

    During a fourth stage of examining the data, we used path analysis to examine empirically a series of theoretically grounded causal relationships among variables. Ordinary least squares regression was used to obtain path coefficients (direct effects) and total effects (Pedhazur, 1982). Direct effects are a measure of the influence one variable has on another after controlling for all other variables that influence the dependent variable. The total effect for each independent variable on a particular dependent variable indicates the change that would occur in a dependent variable due to a unit change in the particular independent variable. An indirect effect is the amount of influence of a cause variable that reaches the effect variable by way of an intervening variable (Pedhazur, 1982). This analysis revealed the variables having the most influence on consumers' likelihood of buying ethnic clothing from PtP in the future.

    MarketPlace Consumer Research

    Market research with MarketPlace: Handwork of India consumers was conducted during 1996 and followed very similar procedures to the PtP study. Two Ph.D. students at Iowa State University, Jennifer Ogle and Soyoung Kim, provided assistance in questionnaire design, data collection, and analysis. The nationwide survey of MarketPlace consumers focused on a sample of 477 individuals drawn from a stratified mailing list of 90,000 individuals receiving the catalog. The resulting stratified sample comprised five mutually exclusive subsamples: (a) females who had not made a purchase from the MarketPlace catalog, (b) females who had made one to two purchases from the MarketPlace catalog, (c) females who had made three or more purchases from the MarketPlace catalog, (d) females who had participated in MarketPlace's Global Dialogue program by writing personal letters to the artisans whose products are featured in the MarketPlace catalog, and (e) females who had participated in a child sponsorship program by donating money to support a child in India. Questionnaires were returned by 367 for a response rate of 77%, again quite high as with the PtP study.

    The questionnaire used for the PtP study was adapted for MarketPlace customers. A few new items were added to the clothing evaluative criteria section, and all items in this section were scored on a 1 to 7 scale rather than the −3 to +3 scaled used for the PtP survey. As a means of customizing the questionnaire to the specific needs of the ATO, some additional sections were also included, such as shopping confidence, catalog shopping involvement, patronage commitment, and a series of items related to respondents' height, weight, and garment size.

    Data analysis was generally similar to that done with PtP data. Principal components analysis reduced the large number of items into a few key variables, many of which were identical to those variables found in the PtP data. Similar to the PtP analysis, cluster analysis was conducted with the MarketPlace data. However, for clustering the MarketPlace data, variables created through principal components factor analysis, rather than individual items regarding desired clothing evaluative criteria, served as a basis for clustering.

    Causal relationships among variables were investigated with a maximum-likelihood estimation procedure using LISREL VII (Jöreskog & Sörbom, 1989). Analysis of the proposed model was conducted in three steps. First, a measurement model was examined for appropriateness of the indicators included. Second, the proposed model was tested for its overall fit to the data. The last step involved examining the parameter estimates associated with the research hypotheses proposed in the model.

    Although we performed many theoretically driven statistical tests with sophisticated quantitative techniques, our interpretation of ATO consumers, reported in Chapter 9, draws from some of the more basic analyses of central tendency and an assessment of the meaning of average scores according to the scales used. In addition, a qualitative assessment of key findings from the discriminant, path, and LISREL analyses of PtP and MarketPlace data was conducted to pull together the two data sets for a broader understanding of ATO consumers. The model of factors motivating ATO consumer behavior is compiled from the results of these various analytical techniques on the responses of MarketPlace and PtP consumers (see Figure 9.1). Any variable that is connected with an arrowed line has an influence on the variable to which the arrow points. Increasing or decreasing the strength of the attitude or value from which the arrow extends will have a subsequent increase or decrease on the attitude it influences. Those variables not connected by an arrow do not influence each other.

    The model may have limited generalizability. It was created using data from consumers, most of whom already buy from ATOs and may only be applicable to PtP and MarketPlace customers. In addition, it may not include all factors that would influence purchase likelihood. For example, whether consumers have discretionary money to spend on ATO products was not taken into consideration. This and other variables may interfere with the purchase intentions.

    An Assessment of 6 Years of Research

    As we began writing this book, we marveled at the great amount of data we had to draw from. Not only did we have rich information on each stakeholder in the alternative trade system (artisans, ATOs, and consumers), but we also had an understanding of how stakeholders view each other and work together within the system. Although it is easiest to talk about the research methods from the standpoints of artisans, ATOs, or consumers, we stress that the research with stakeholders was conducted simultaneously. Our study of each stakeholder group was shaped by and continuously informed our research on each of the other stakeholder groups. Throughout our research, we were mindful of our dual goals of offering applied interpretations to ATOs from our findings as well as identifying long-term conceptual and theoretical implications arising from our 6 years of study.

    Appendix B

    Contact Information for ATOs and Artisan Producers

    Below is contact information for the Alternative Trade Organizations (ATOs) profiled in this book, as well as the North American organization of ATOs.

    Artisan Producers

    The following artisan producers currently work with MarketPlace: Handwork of India or worked with Pueblo to People and may be contacted directly. To reach artisan groups working with the other ATOs, contact the ATO headquarters listed previously.


    Aageson, T. H.(1997, October). Investing in the artisan sector. Paper presented at the International Symposium on Crafts and the International Market: Trade and Customs Codification, organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Manila, Philippines.
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    Other Publications by the Authors on Alternative Trade Organizations
    Dickson, M. A. C.(1994). Consumers of ethnic apparel and textile crafts from alternative trading organizations. Ph.D. dissertation, Iowa State University, Ames.
    Dickson, M. A., & Littrell, M. A.(1996). Socially responsible behaviour: Values and attitudes of the alternative trading organisation consumer. Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, 1(1), 50–69.
    Dickson, M. A., & Littrell, M. A.(1997). Consumers of clothing from alternative trading organizations: Societal attitudes and purchase evaluative criteria. Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, 15(1), 20–33.
    Dickson, M. A., & Littrell, M. A.(1998). Consumers of ethnic apparel from alternative trading organizations: A multi-faceted market. Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, 8(1), 1–10.
    Dickson, M. A., & Littrell, M. A.(1998). Organizational culture for small textile and apparel businesses in Guatemala. Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, 16(2), 68–78.
    Kim, S., Littrell, M. A., & Ogle, J. L. (in press). Social responsibility as a predictor of purchase intentions for clothing. Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management.
    Littrell, M. A.(1996, April 3). Trading with a difference: Boom in nonprofits promoting Third World products. USA Today, p. A8.
    Littrell, M. A., & Dickson, M. A.(1997). Alternative trading organizations: Shifting paradigm in a culture of social responsibility. Human Organization, 56(3), 344–352.
    Littrell, M. A., & Dickson, M. A.(1998). Fair trade performance in a competitive market. Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, 16(4), 176–189.
    Littrell, M. A., Ogle, J. P. O., & Kim, S.(1999). Marketing ethnic apparel: Single or multiple consumer segments? Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, 3(1), 31–45.

    About the Authors

    MARY ANN LITTRELL is Professor in the Department of Textiles and Clothing at Iowa State University. She conducts research on ethnic product marketing, with a special focus on artisans' lives, impacts from participation in the global marketplace, and strategies for product development. Tourism research linking travel styles, shopping behavior, and product authenticity forms a second research focus. Over the past 10 years, teaching, research, and development projects have taken Dr. Littrell to Ghana, Malaysia, Guatemala, Mexico, South Africa, Nigeria, and India. She is currently developing three documentary films and accompanying business case studies that chronicle entrepreneurial firms in Malaysia, Ghana, and Guatemala that have successfully developed export markets for their cultural products. Her research has been published in Human Organization, Annals of Tourism, Journal of Travel Research, Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, and the Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management. Her Ph.D. is from Purdue University.

    MARSHA ANN DICKSON is Associate Professor in the Department of Consumer & Textile Sciences at The Ohio State University. Her research program focuses on balancing the needs of all constituents in the apparel marketing system (producers, retailers, and consumers) to create a fair and beneficial system for all involved. Her research has taken her to the People's Republic of China, Guatemala, and Puerto Rico. Recent research projects have focused on consumers' knowledge of sweatshop issues and how they take this knowledge into consideration when shopping for clothing. Prior to her academic career, Dr. Dickson was a clothing designer for various apparel manufacturers in Dallas, Texas. She has published her research in the Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, the Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, Sociology of Sport Journal, and Human Organization. She has a Ph.D. from Iowa State University.

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