Andy J. Yap
Assistant Professor of Organisational Behaviour
Control; Utilitarian Consumption; Problem-solving Tendency;
JOURNAL ARTICLE | Journal of Consumer Research | 43 | April 2017
Control Deprivation Motivates Acquisition of Utilitarian Products
This research investigates how the fundamental desire for control affects product acquisition. The authors propose that consumers compensate for a loss of perceived control by buying utilitarian products (e.g., household cleaning agents) because of these products’ association with problem solving, a quality that promotes a sense of control.Study 1 demonstrates this basic effect in a field setting involving real purchases, while studies 2 and 3 show that framing a product as utilitarian (vs. hedonic) moderates the effect of control on purchase intentions.Study 4 shows that a generalized problem-solving tendency mediates the effect of control on eagerness to pursue utilitarian consumption.Given the pervasiveness and ease of using product acquisition as a means to cope with psychological threat, this research has important implications for theory and practice.