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Occupational dream pursuit: decision making and consumption behaviors

Elyria Kemp (Department of Management and Marketing, University of New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA)
Aberdeen Leila Borders (Department of Marketing, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Georgia, USA)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 12 June 2017




The purpose of this study is to examine the stages involved in occupational dream pursuit (ODP). In this study, dreams are studied in the context of life-changing, occupational endeavors. The judgment and decision-making that fuels the process and the consumption motives that appear throughout the various stages of the journey are examined through the narratives of individuals living out their career-related dreams.


Open-ended interviews were conducted with individuals who were embarking on a life-changing career attainment experience. The narratives of these informants uncovered psychological, social and behavioral aspects of the dream pursuit process.


Through the informants’ narratives, common themes emerged with respect to the ODP journey, and these themes offered a fluid interpretation of the stages involved in the dream pursuit process: revelation, inciting action, development, maintenance and evolution. At each stage, specific consumption motives and behaviors predominate. These themes, including the consumption, psychological and developmental processes that take place at each stage, are discussed through the narratives of the informants.

Research limitations/implications

This study highlights the role of positive emotions, personal growth, consumption motives and behaviors in ODP.


Dreams give individuals a sense of purpose and being. Although conventional wisdom acknowledges the importance of dream actualization, limited behavioral research has explored the nuances of ODP with regard to decision-making and consumption.



Dedicated to the memory of Alice J. Akins.


Kemp, E. and Borders, A.L. (2017), "Occupational dream pursuit: decision making and consumption behaviors", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 34 No. 4, pp. 319-327.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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