Others. Essays on interpersonal and consumer behaviour Defended on Thursday, 3 March 2016
Consumers rarely realize how much principles governing the way they interact with other people may affect not only their interpersonal behavior, but even their consumer behavior. In this dissertation, I investigate this general issue in three chapters. In chapter 2, I propose that consumers with low self-esteem become wary of new relationships with alternative service providers if they experience service failures in a current service relationship, whilst consumers with high self-esteem do not. In chapter 3, I define brand flirting as consumers’ casual interest in or short-term experimentation with a competitor to a favored brand, and I examine the consequences of this minor consumer infidelity. In chapter 4, I move away from consumer loyalty and commitment, and examine a different behavioral outcome: word-of-mouth. In this case, the context of the research is completely social, as I investigate the effect of environmental crowdedness on the likelihood that consumers engage in information sharing, which is a form of interpersonal communication that is very relevant for marketing purposes.
This research has managerial implications for professionals in the area of marketing and public policy. From a theoretical point of view, this dissertation contributes to research on brand relationships, by identifying tensions between multiple brand relationships (with current and alternative brands), and by investigating consumers’ vulnerabilities that shape these relationships. Moreover, this research contributes to literature on information sharing by investigating how an unexplored contextual factor, namely crowdedness, affects consumers’ propensity to share information with others.
Consumer-brand relationships, self-esteem, flirting, commitment, loyalty, information sharing, word-of-mouth, crowdedness