Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Textiles and Clothing

First Advisor

Mary Littrell


Increasingly, craft producers from developing countries are turning to alternative trading organizations (ATOs) for assistance in craft exporting. ATOs know the needs of the craft producers with whom they work; however, little is known about the ATO consumer;The purpose of the study was twofold. One goal was to describe consumers who had purchased products from alternative trading organizations (ATOs). The second goal was to further examine ATO consumers' preferences for ethnic apparel. Theory in consumer behavior and social psychology provided the conceptual framework for the study. Major variables included in the study were values, Latin American involvement, altruism, clothing evaluative criteria, mail-order risk, past purchase behavior, and future purchase intentions;Data were collected with a mail survey of consumers randomly drawn from the stratified mailing list of Pueblo to People (usable response rate = 48.6%, n = 376). The basis for stratification was past purchase behavior and included: (1) Clothing Purchasers, (2) Other Purchasers, and (3) Non-Purchasers. Factor analysis uncovered latent variables among a large number of items. Multiple discriminant analysis revealed which independent variables were useful for distinguishing among consumer groups. Finally, path analysis was used to examine the causal relationships among variables affecting future purchase intentions;Perceived quality of ethnic apparel, support for ATOs, attitudes about social and political conditions in Latin America, past travel experience, concern for persons in developing countries, education, age, and willingness to sacrifice product expectations were useful for discriminating among past purchaser groups. Similar variables exerted strong influence on future purchase intentions. Results from both analyses were combined into a model describing ATO consumer behavior;The research makes numerous contributions. ATOs will benefit from knowledge that quality is an influential product characteristic. Theoretical contributions include the differentiation of ethnic apparel consumers from textile craft consumers and from consumers of mass-produced Western apparel, recognition of the value of less parsimonious models for explaining consumer behavior, and an understanding of the differing roles that attitudes toward objects and attitudes toward behaviors have in explaining purchasing. The research also recognizes socially responsible consumers who are concerned with others' needs as well as their own.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Marsha Ann Casselman Dickson



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

297 pages