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Article
Publication date: 14 August 2021

Cong Liu, Xiaoqian Gao, Zhihua Liu and Jiahui Gao

This study aims to examine whether consumers’ lay theories of emotion play a moderating role between self-threat and their choice of threat-coping strategies (direct…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine whether consumers’ lay theories of emotion play a moderating role between self-threat and their choice of threat-coping strategies (direct resolution and escapism) and product preference.

Design/methodology/approach

The present research uses the methods of experimental design and surveys to collect data and verify the hypotheses we assumed.

Findings

Study 1 indicates that in self-threatening situations, people who perceive emotions as fleeting (lasting) are more likely to use a threat-coping strategy of direct resolution (escapism). Study 2 demonstrates that people who believe emotions are fleeting are more likely to choose problem-solving products; people who believe emotions are lasting are more likely to choose emotion-enhancing products. Study 3 further demonstrates that the direct resolution (escapism) strategy plays a mediating role between the interaction effect and consumer preference for problem-solving products (emotion-enhancing products). Study 4 replicates the results of Study 2 by incorporating the manipulation of lay theories of emotion transience in a product evaluation context.

Research limitations/implications

A limitation of the present research is that this paper puts focus on exploring the effects of self-view threat (e.g. intelligence and competence) on consumer product preferences. Another issue for future research is the extent to which emotion-transience theories hold for specific emotions. Given that distinct emotions of the same valence differ in their antecedent appraisals and that specific emotion could lead to different subsequent behaviors (Lerner and Keltner, 2000), future research may need to explore the roles of specific negative emotions triggered by self-threat in consumers’ product choosing behaviors. One potential direction for future research is to examine whether the perceived locus of control affects consumers’ choice of threat-coping strategies and product preferences.

Practical implications

Marketers could use product tactics for motivating consumers to restore their self-perceptions on the threatened attributes and address the self-threat, such as product attributes, advertising copy or promotional appeals that insert people who are more motivated to directly resolve the threat. Marketers can nudge consumers toward a direct resolution strategy by posting prompts such as, “I can do it!” For example, the slogan of Nike – “Just do it” and the 2012 award-winning campaign by Nike Spain have told consumers: “If something is burning you up, burn it up by running” (Allard and White, 2015), which suggests that consumers experiencing self-threat may resolve the negative self-discrepancy through the acquisition of the products in the advertisement. Another important implication suggested by the findings is that product consumption can be a way of helping consumers escape from self-threats. For example, the slogan of Coca-Cola – “Taste the feeling” resonates with consumers and stimulates their basic hedonic needs.

Originality/value

First, this research extends previous research by demonstrating that lay theories of emotion serve as a motivator of the selection of threat-coping strategies. Second, this research is conducive for literature to examine how differences in lay theories of emotion affect consumers’ product-choosing behaviors to cope with self-discrepancies. Third, the present research extends the broad marketing literature by differentiating problem-solving products from emotion-enhancing products.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

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Article
Publication date: 27 February 2020

Christina Saenger, Veronica L. Thomas and Dora E. Bock

When consumers experience a self-threat that calls their self-concept into question, the ensuing psychological discomfort motivates them to restore their self-perceptions…

Abstract

Purpose

When consumers experience a self-threat that calls their self-concept into question, the ensuing psychological discomfort motivates them to restore their self-perceptions on the threatened attribute. Although consumers can restore a threatened self-perception by consuming products and brands that possess the desired symbolic associations, this study aims to propose that word of mouth can serve to resolve self-threat and restore a threatened self-perception when the brand at the center of a word-of-mouth communication is symbolically congruent with the domain of the threat.

Design/methodology/approach

Experimental online survey research was conducted, inducing self-threat, manipulating brand and word-of-mouth conditions and measuring self-perceptions. Data for three studies were analyzed using SPSS and Hayes’ (2013) PROCESS macro.

Findings

Three studies show that spreading word of mouth can restore consumers’ threatened self-perceptions when the brand is symbolically congruent with the threat domain. Word of mouth about a symbolically congruent brand alleviates psychological discomfort, resulting in higher self-perceptions on the threatened attribute. The restorative effect is amplified for lower self-esteem consumers.

Research limitations/implications

Participants in the focal conditions were required to spread word of mouth, which may not be an organic response for all consumers; although not spreading word of mouth is ineffective, other compensatory consumer behavior options exist. The brand option was provided to participants, which allowed for control but may have reduced some of the realism.

Practical implications

Positioning brands to meet consumers’ psychological needs encourages the development of consumer–brand attachments. Brands that resonate with consumers reap the benefits of consumers’ active loyalty behaviors and enjoy stronger brand equity. The present research implies a new way consumers can form brand attachments: by spreading word of mouth to resolve self-threat. As many consumers post detailed, personal information online, this research suggests firms can align their brand messages with relevant identity-related discrepancies.

Originality/value

This research extends the symbolic self-completion compensatory consumption strategy to the word-of-mouth context, showing that consumers can achieve the same restorative effect as consumption by spreading word of mouth. This research also contributes to compensatory word-of-mouth literature by establishing the role of brand meaning.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 54 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 4 September 2019

Taiyang Zhao, Wei Song, Xiaotong Jin, Hongjing Cui and Yang Li

The purpose of this paper is to study the influence of perceived control on product preferences of consumers under self-threat.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to study the influence of perceived control on product preferences of consumers under self-threat.

Design/methodology/approach

By conducting four experiments, this paper manipulated the participants’ self-threat and three sources of perceived control – namely, the controllability of the threat itself, the internal and external locus of control of the individual and priming the existing positive or negative experience of the individuals. After the manipulations, the participants’ product preferences for self-growth goods or hedonic goods were measured.

Findings

The findings of this research indicated that when consumers have a higher perceived control of the threats they are facing, they are more likely to adopt problem-focused coping strategies and show a preference for self-growth goods, which can help them resolve their threats. However, when consumers have a lower perceived control on the threats they are facing, they are more likely to adopt emotion-focused coping strategies and show a preference for hedonic goods, which can help them adjust their emotions.

Originality/value

This paper systematically confirms the interactive effect of perceived control and self-threat on consumers’ product preferences, as well as the meditation role of problem-focused coping and emotion-focused coping. It also provides insights for marketers to know what factors may affect consumers’ preferences for products in self-threat situations, thus contributing to marketing practices.

Details

Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, vol. 32 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-5855

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Article
Publication date: 25 May 2021

Yan Kou, Zhong Shuai and Samart Powpaka

This study investigated the effect of adding a customer's name onto a standard product on the customer's product attitude from the perspective of the name-letter effect…

Abstract

Purpose

This study investigated the effect of adding a customer's name onto a standard product on the customer's product attitude from the perspective of the name-letter effect and psychological ownership theory.

Design/methodology/approach

A 2 × 2 experiment was conducted to test the name effect in customization services. The main effects, mediation effects and moderation effects were analyzed using SPSS 22.0 and PROCESS 2.16.3.

Findings

Adding customers' personal names onto a standard product positively affected their attitude toward the product, and these effects were mediated by psychological ownership. Furthermore, customers' responses were moderated by self-threat, whereby threatening customers' self-concept enhanced their attitude toward the product that had their name on it.

Originality/value

This study found a positive name effect that is applicable to customization services. It also identified mediating and moderating mechanisms underlying this effect. Therefore this study extends previous studies on customization services that have solely focusing on complex product personalization by focusing on a service that requires less effort and a more basic customization service. This study also extends previous findings about name-letter effects by focusing on the associations between an individual and an object that are induced by shared name letters and by studying how directly adding a personal name onto an object can influence these associations.

Details

Journal of Service Theory and Practice, vol. 31 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2055-6225

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Article
Publication date: 19 December 2019

Hongjing Cui, Taiyang Zhao, Slawomir Smyczek, Yajun Sheng, Ming Xu and Xiao Yang

The purpose of this paper is to examine the effect of self-worth on status consumption, focusing on the mediation of self-enhancement and self-compensation and the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the effect of self-worth on status consumption, focusing on the mediation of self-enhancement and self-compensation and the moderation of power distance belief (PDB) in the relationship of threats to self-worth and consumer choice.

Design/methodology/approach

Experiments are used to collect data. Three studies are designed to test the relationship between self-worth, self-enhancement and self-compensation, PDB and status consumption. In total, 180 MBA students participate Study 1, 186 and 244 undergraduate students participate Studies 2 and 3, respectively. ANOVA and bootstrapping method are adopted to analyze the data by using SPSS version 19.0. Study 1 tests the influence of self-worth on status consumption; Study 2 examines the mediation role of self-enhancement and self-compensation; and Study 3 tests the moderation role of PDB.

Findings

Results indicate that situational self-worth perception has dual path effects on status consumption. Both improvements in – and threats to – self-worth have a positive impact on status consumption. Improvements in self-worth affect status consumption through the mediation of self-enhancement motives. Threats to self-worth affect status and non-status consumption through the mediation of the self-compensation motive. In the context of a threat to self-worth, compared with consumers with a low PDB, high-PDB consumers have higher purchase intention for status goods but not non-status goods.

Research limitations/implications

In this study, improvements in – and threats to – self-worth are momentarily manipulated. The authors present one product in each experiment, but what would happen if both status goods and non-status goods were shown to participants? Which one will the authors choose under different self-worth manipulations? And how long can the effects last? These questions should be answered in future research.

Practical implications

This research provides a venue for marketers to introduce and advertise status goods. Marketing practitioners should establish the link between self-worth and status consumption appeals. In the Asia-Pacific markets, Confucian value is important to consumers, and high power distance is important in Confucianism. Thus when developing markets in China, international companies should emphasize Confucian values in the design of advertisements or other promotional items. Further, marketing for status goods should attach importance to the expression of their symbolic meanings.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the literature on self-worth and status consumption. It also explores the dual path of the effect of self-worth on status consumption. The motives of self-enhancement and self-compensation are first proposed and tested to explain the mechanism, which differentiates the study from prior work and gives a more reasonable explanation for status and compensatory consumption. The moderation role of PDB delineates the boundary for the effect of a threat to self-worth on status consumption.

Details

Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, vol. 32 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-5855

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 18 September 2006

Bradley J. Alge, Jerald Greenberg and Chad T. Brinsfield

We present a model of organizational monitoring that integrates organizational justice and information privacy. Specifically, we adopt the position that the formation of…

Abstract

We present a model of organizational monitoring that integrates organizational justice and information privacy. Specifically, we adopt the position that the formation of invasiveness and unfairness attitudes is a goal-driven process. We employ cybernetic control theory and identity theory to describe how monitoring systems affect one's ability to maintain a positive self-concept. Monitoring provides a particularly powerful cue that directs attention to self-awareness. People draw on fairness and privacy relevant cues inherent in monitoring systems and embedded in monitoring environments (e.g., justice climate) to evaluate their identities. Discrepancies between actual and desired personal and social identities create distress, motivating employees to engage in behavioral self-regulation to counteract potentially threatening monitoring systems. Organizational threats to personal identity goals lead to increased invasiveness attitudes and a commitment to protect and enhance the self. Threats to social identity lead to increased unfairness attitudes and lowered commitment to one's organization. Implications for theory and research on monitoring, justice, and privacy are discussed along with practical implications.

Details

Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-426-3

Abstract

Details

Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, vol. 32 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-5855

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Book part
Publication date: 10 August 2011

Robyn L. Brouer, Angela S. Wallace and Paul Harvey

This chapter presents an investigation of the relationship between psychological entitlement and stress. Empirical and conceptual evidence is considered suggesting that…

Abstract

This chapter presents an investigation of the relationship between psychological entitlement and stress. Empirical and conceptual evidence is considered suggesting that Conservation of Resources (COR) theory may apply differently to employees with a heightened sense of entitlement. Using attribution and COR theory, a conceptual framework is offered predicting that entitlement is positively associated with subjective stress, based on the logic that psychologically entitled employees develop unjustifiably inflated levels of self-evaluative internal coping resources such as self-esteem and self-efficacy that promote unmet expectations. It is also proposed that political skill and the ability to manage perceptions of competency may attenuate this relationship. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the challenges associated with managing psychologically entitled employees.

Details

The Role of Individual Differences in Occupational Stress and Well Being
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-711-7

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Book part
Publication date: 3 March 2016

Theresa M. Floyd, Charles E. Hoogland and Richard H. Smith

In this chapter, we explore the implications of benign and malicious envy in the workplace and suggest methods by which leaders can manage the situational context to…

Abstract

In this chapter, we explore the implications of benign and malicious envy in the workplace and suggest methods by which leaders can manage the situational context to minimize negative responses to envy and promote positive responses. We argue that three aspects of the organizational context are especially influential in the development of envy: perceptions of fairness, employees’ feelings of control over their situation, and organizational culture. All three impact whether felt envy will be benign or malicious. In addition, the right organizational culture can prevent any feelings of malicious envy from leading to undesirable behaviors. We suggest that by fostering justice, promoting employee feelings of control, and exemplifying an ethical organizational culture leaders can manage the manifestation of envy and resulting behaviors in a positive direction.

Details

Leadership Lessons from Compelling Contexts
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-942-8

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Article
Publication date: 22 January 2018

Atefeh Yazdanparast and Nancy Spears

This study aims to investigate how comparing physical aspects of the self to fashion models in mass-mediated images result in body dissatisfaction and what mechanisms…

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate how comparing physical aspects of the self to fashion models in mass-mediated images result in body dissatisfaction and what mechanisms could be used to interrupt the potentially harmful emotional and motivational outcomes of such evaluations.

Design/methodology/approach

Two experimental design studies are conducted in which objective self-awareness (OSA; self-focus) is manipulated. In the first study, participants are assigned to control vs relevant vs irrelevant standards of appearance, and in the second study, all participants receive relevant standards of appearance and are randomly primed to experience pride or shame.

Findings

Focusing on the physical aspect of the self (i.e. state of OSA) and having access to relevant standards of appearance such as viewing images of beautiful fashion models (vs irrelevant standards of appearance such as images of plants) initiate the process of self-standard evaluation that may lead to body image state dissatisfaction (BISDS). Negative emotions mediate the relationship between BISDS and motivations to pursue cosmetic procedures. Pride and shame are two important self-conscious emotions that differently influence these relationships.

Originality/value

The present research identifies how pride could act as a self-affirming factor to intervene the undesirable outcomes of body image dissatisfaction and discourage unnecessary cosmetic procedures. Pride diminishes the motivation to undergo cosmetic procedures by shifting the focus from pursuing unachievable standards of appearance to pride-inducing achievements and self-affirming positive qualities. Shame, however, keeps individuals focused on discrepancies and lowers their ability to think of substitute goals, resulting in enhanced motivations for cosmetic procedures.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 52 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Keywords

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