Business, Beedie School of

Receive updates for this collection

(I’m) Happy to Help (You): The Impact of Personal Pronoun Use In Customer-Firm Interactions

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-02-13
Abstract: 

In responding to customer questions or complaints, should marketing agents linguistically “put the customer first” by using certain personal pronouns? Customer orientation theory, managerial literature, and surveys of managers, customer service representatives, and consumers suggest that firm agents should emphasize how “we” (the firm) serve “you” (the customer), while deemphasizing “I” (the agent) in these customer-firm interactions. We find evidence of this language pattern in use at over 40 firms. However, we theorize and demonstrate that these personal pronoun emphases are often sub-optimal. Five studies using lab experiments and field data reveal that firm agents who refer to themselves using “I” rather than “we” pronouns increase customer perceptions that the agent feels and acts on their behalf. In turn, these positive perceptions of empathy and agency lead to increased customer satisfaction, purchase intentions, and purchase behavior. Further, we find that customer-referencing “you” pronouns have little impact on these outcomes, and can sometimes have negative consequences. These findings enhance our understanding of how, when, and why language use impacts social perception and behavior, and provide valuable insights for marketers.

 

Document type: 
Article

Pride of Ownership: An Identity-Based Model

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-03-05
Abstract: 

Pride of ownership is explored in a series of depth interviews utilizing a new "surfacing" methodology. Results support some past findings, but also uncover some new and unexpected aspects. Consistent with past research, pride of ownership is linked to a brand’s or product’s ability to help consumers construct a positive identity. Specifically, we find that pride of ownership is related to constructing five major aspects of identity: cultivating personal taste, achieving non-dependence and adulthood, achieving social status, building close relationships, and connecting to groups. These five implicit identity goals are ordered based on the extent to which each aspect of identity is part of the independent-self (i.e. personal taste) or the interdependent-self (i.e. social roles and connecting to groups). We introduce the terms independent pride and interdependent pride to refer to pride that helps construct the independent and interdependent aspects of the self, respectively. In addition, this research uncovers several ways that consumer’s pride of ownership changes over time. Conclusions are drawn for further theory-building and for managers.

Document type: 
Article

Students as Surrogates for Managers: Evidence from a Replicated Experiment

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2016-04-25
Abstract: 

Using students as surrogates for managers in experiments is commonplace, yet this practice is not always valid. To explore when the use of student samples is appropriate, we replicate an experiment previously conducted employing a sample of senior managers involved in financial reporting. The result is that although student and manager responses are significantly different from a statistical perspective, both samples lead to the same conclusion for this experiment. The findings suggest that having some disassociation between students and the target population they are meant to represent does not necessarily make them inappropriate surrogates. To examine when inferences are best supported, we explore the comparability for student sub-groups and managers.

Document type: 
Article

The Effect of Economic Policy Uncertainty on Bank Valuations

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2017-04-26
Abstract: 

This paper examines how economic policy uncertainty (EPU) affects bank valuations. Using a large sample of banks over a long period, we find that EPU has a negative effect on bank valuations. One explanation for this result is that EPU reduces bank loan growth, and lower loan growth then leads to lower bank valuations. Consistent with this explanation, we find that the negative effect of EPU is more pronounced for banks with a higher ratio of loans to total assets.

Document type: 
Article

She Said, She Said: Differential Interpersonal Similarities Predict Unique Linguistic Mimicry in Online Word of Mouth

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2017-02
Abstract: 

This research examines the antecedents, causes, and consequences of linguistic mimicry, which assesses how closely individuals match others’ word use, in online WOM. We examine mimicry of both linguistic style (how things are said) and content (what is said). To our knowledge, this research provides the first demonstration of unique linguistic mimicry, where consumers engaging in online WOM differentially mimic other posters’ word use. Two experiments and one study using field data show that when consumers are personally similar to an individual who has previously posted (e.g., same gender), they mimic this individual’s positive emotion and social word use. When consumers are similar in status to an individual who has previously posted (e.g., same forum ranking), they mimic this individual’s cognitive and descriptive word use. This differential mimicry is driven by affiliation versus achievement goals, respectively, and affects consumers’ engagement in online WOM in terms of posting incidence and volume.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

The Dark Side of Scarcity Promotions: How Exposure to Limited Quantity Promotions Can Induce Aggression

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2017-02
Abstract: 

Marketers frequently use scarcity promotions, where a product or event is limited in availability. The present research shows conditions under which the mere exposure to such advertising can activate actual aggression that manifests even outside the domain of the good being promoted. Further, we document the process underlying this effect: exposure to limited-quantity promotion advertising prompts consumers to perceive other shoppers as competitive threats to obtaining a desired product and physiologically prepares consumers to aggress. Seven studies using multiple behavioral measures of aggression demonstrate this deleterious response to scarcity promotions.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Rejecting Responsibility: Low Physical Involvement in Obtaining Food Promotes Unhealthy Eating

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2017-08
Abstract: 

Five experiments show that less physical involvement in obtaining food leads to less healthy food choices. We find that when participants are given the choice of whether or not to consume snacks that they perceive as relatively unhealthy, they have a greater inclination to consume these snacks when less (versus more) physical involvement is required to help themselves to the food; this is not the case for snacks that they perceive as relatively healthy. Further, when participants are given the opportunity to choose their portion size, they select larger portions of unhealthy foods when less (versus more) physical involvement is required to help themselves to the food; again, this is not the case for healthy foods. We suggest that this behavior occurs because being less physically involved in serving one’s food allows participants to reject responsibility for unhealthy eating and thus to feel better about themselves following indulgent consumption. These findings add to the research on consumers’ self-serving attributions and to the growing literature on factors that nudge consumers towards healthier eating decisions.

Document type: 
Article

Turning Off the Lights: Consumers' Environmental Efforts Depend on Visible Efforts of Firms

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2017-06
Abstract: 

Firms can save considerable money if consumers conserve resources (e.g., if hotel patrons turn off the lights when leaving the room, restaurants patrons use fewer paper napkins, or airline passengers clean up after themselves). In two studies conducted in real-world hotels, the authors show that consumers’ conservation behavior is affected by the extent to which consumers perceive the firm as being green. Furthermore, consumer perceptions of firms’ greenness and consumer conservation behavior depend on (a) whether the firm requests them to conserve resources, (b) the firm’s own commitment to the environment, and (c) the firm’s price image. Additionally, firm requests to consumers to save resources can create consumer reactance and can backfire when firms themselves do not engage in visible costly environmental efforts. Such reactance is more likely for firms with a high price image. Finally, the authors show that by spending a little money to signal environmental commitment, firms can save even more money through consumers’ conservation of resources, resulting in wins for the firm, the consumer, and the environment.

Document type: 
Article

Corporate Leanwashing and Consumer Beliefs About Obesity

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2017-07-10
Abstract: 

Purpose of review. Caloric overconsumption, rather than lack of exercise, is the primary driver of overweight and obesity. We review people’s beliefs about the causes of obesity, and the origins and consequences of these beliefs, and suggest possible mechanisms for corrective action.Recent findings. In multiple samples across the world, approximately half the population mistakenly believes that lack of exercise is the primary cause of obesity. These misbeliefs have consequences: people who underestimate the importance of one’s diet are more likely to be overweight or obese than people who correctly believe that diet is the primary cause of obesity. Next, we discuss the systematic misrepresentation of these factors -- which we call 'leanwashing' -- by the food and beverage industry. Corporate messaging and actions are likely contributing factors to these mistaken beliefs being so widespread, and corrective actions are required. These include regulation and taxation.Summary. People’s beliefs have important medical consequences, and the origins of these beliefs and misbeliefs need to be monitored and regulated.

Document type: 
Article

Cost and the Craving for Novelty: Exploring Motivations and Barriers for Cooperative Education and Exchange Students to Go Abroad

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2016-09
Abstract: 

Canadian universities aim to increase student participation in international learning experiences through mobility programs such as international co-op and academic exchange. According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), 97% of Canadian universities offer education abroad programs, reflecting a pervasive belief that international experiential learning is good for students as well as their home universities. Contrasting with this international orientation, a relatively small percentage of students actually complete international co-op and exchange. Research into what motivates or prevents students to undertake these somewhat risky ventures and knowledge of how to increase students’ participation in these programs is limited. Business students at a single western Canadian university were surveyed to gain insight into what motivates or prevents them from participating in international co-op and exchange.

Document type: 
Article
File(s):