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Graduate Student Supervision
Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - May 2019)
Previous research has demonstrated that the cost or effort of an initial prosocial action is a key predictor of consumer responses to subsequent support requests. Specifically, consumers who perform costly (costless) prosocial behavior are more (less) likely to behave prosocially in the future. Investigating the prevalent issues of slacktivism and charitable support allocation, this dissertation extends this model by introducing additional factors that moderate previously documented findings. In essay 1, I show that social observability is a key moderator that predicts when and why token support for a social cause leads to more or less support for the cause. Importantly, I document the existence of slacktivism, uncover the motivations driving the behavior, and suggest strategies to mitigate its consequences. In essay 2, I investigate the impact that charitable support allocation, the proportion of consumer support passed directly on to cause recipients, has on consumers after consumers have provided effortful, or meaningful support for the organization. Specifically, I demonstrate that low charitable support allocation reduces consumer prosocial identity, leading to lower subsequent support not only for the originally supported cause, but also for other unrelated causes. Importantly, I reconcile this identity-based consequence from previously proposed theoretical models. Finally, I identify potential avenues for future research and discuss the theoretical and managerial implications of the work.
Throughout their daily lives consumers experience a vast array of emotions. At times these emotions are directly related to a consumption context, while other times these emotions are unrelated. While previous research on incidental emotion has generally found that negative emotions have negative outcomes for brands, the explicit effect of fear has been understudied. The present research explores the effect of fear on brand attachment.Across six experimental studies, this dissertation provides insight into the process by which consumers cope with fear and how this coping method has positive implications for brand attachments. This dissertation suggests that because people cope with fear through affiliation with others, in the absence of other individuals, consumers may seek affiliation with an available brand. This, in turn, will enhance emotional attachment to that brand. The first four studies of the dissertation highlight the basic process by which fear enhances emotional brand attachment. First, I show the basic fear-attachment effect (pilot study and study 1). Specifically, I show that a fearful experience, compared to a happy, sad, or exciting experience, results in higher emotional attachment to brands, even when consumers are unfamiliar with the brand. Second, I provide initial evidence for desire for affiliation, or perceived shared experience, as the underlying mechanism of the effect (study 1 and 2). Third, I provide stronger evidence for the process by ruling out simple increased consumption as an alternative explanation for the fear-attachment effect. In the last two studies, I examine factors that influence the fear-attachment process. First, I highlight the importance of product presence during the fear experience in order to allow for consumer coping (study 4). Second, I illuminate a distinction between two forms of brand attachment measurement: Thomson et al. (2005)’s emotional attachment and Park et al. (2010)’s more cognitive brand attachment. I demonstrate that a fear experience can facilitate initial emotional, but not cognitive, attachment without the necessity of time. In addition, this initial emotional attachment helps promote cognitive attachment over time (study 4). Third, I show that the fear-attachment process is unique to brands and not products in general (study 5).
Social norms are common in our daily lives, and violations of these norms are just as prevalent. While the topics of norm violations and punishment have been studied in disciplines outside of consumer research (e.g., sociology, psychology), research efforts have not examined consumers’ reactions toward another consumer who violates well-established norms in consumption contexts. The present research seeks to fill this void by introducing and investigating the concept of consumer-to-consumer punishment. Across seven experimental studies, this dissertation first provides insight into how consumers make punishment decisions toward fellow consumers. It then sets out to understand the downstream effects of norm violations and consumer punishment decisions. Based on the conceptualization that violations disrupt social order, and that social order can be restored through the punishment of norm violators, the first four studies of the dissertation highlight three factors that are critical in consumers’ punishment decisions. First, when a third party in the consumption environment restores social order through punishment, consumers will refrain from punishing further (study 1). Second, punishment is mitigated when the norm violator faces an unjustified adversity, as punishment would create a further imbalance in social order (studies 2a and 2b). Third, the level of punishment required to achieve social order is reduced for a higher status norm violator (study 3). The next three studies explore how norm violations and punishment decisions can negatively impact consumers’ consumption experience. Not only do norm violations result in an increase in punishment behavior, they also result in more negative ratings of the products (study 4). Interestingly, the normative nature of the store policy in place (norm reinforcing vs. norm licensing) was not shown to effectively mitigate these negative consumption evaluations (study 5). The last study demonstrates how the negative ramifications from norm violations can be offset by the punisher. Specifically, evaluations of consumption experience improved when a third party (i.e., store employee) took on the role of the punisher (study 6). Finally, the dissertation discusses the theoretical contributions of the current work, identifies important managerial implications, and suggests multiple avenues for future research.
Existing research examining the effects of external rewards on creativity lacks a clear consensus on the issue. While some research suggests that monetary (versus social) rewards are detrimental to creativity, other research has found that monetary rewards can enhance creative performance. These disparate findings seem to stem from extant literature’s lack of focus on cognitive processes through which external rewards affect creativity. In this dissertation I model the location and movement of ideas in an individual’s mental space and demonstrate that social rewards prompt a broader idea exploration leading to higher creativity. However, if a specific goal to be creative is made salient, focused idea exploration as induced by monetary rewards leads to even higher creativity.
This research presents five studies, a mix of field experiments and scenario simulations, to demonstrate people’s intuition about as well as their actual response towards preferential treatment. I show that while people assume that only positive feelings would arise from receiving a preferential treatment, negative concerns do emerge when the treatment is actually experienced in a social environment, reducing the overall satisfaction and affecting purchase behaviors. I argue and find that impression concern and empathy underlies the negative influences of the social environment. In addition, I show that the failure to recognize these negative emotions when imagining the effects of preferential treatment is due to a tendency to overlook contextual information, i.e., the social environment, when people make predictions in a hypothetical scenario. Implications for theory and managerial practice are also discussed.
This research examines how the body type of consumers affects the food consumption of patrons around them. We present a parsimonious model based on anchoring and adjustment, where consumers anchor on the quantities others around them select, but these portions are adjusted according to the body type of the referent other. Study 1 documents the effect, showing that people choose a larger portion following another consumer who first selects a large quantity, but that this portion is significantly smaller if the other is obese than if she is thin. Study 2 replicates and extends the effect, identifying a backfire effect: when a confederate selects a small portion, participants choose and consume more when the other is obese versus thin. Study 3 shows further evidence of the process: namely that the adjustment process is more pronounced for consumers low versus high in appearance self esteem and is attenuated when cognitive processing resources are constrained. Implications for theory, policy and public health are also discussed.
Using envy as a marketing tool can backfire (05 Jun 2018)