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Acquiring Utilitarian Products Restores Psychological Control

Acquiring Utilitarian Products Restores Psychological Control


Coauthor(s): Charlene Y. Chen, Leonard Lee and Andy J. Yap

Abstract
Prior research has investigated how consumption can serve as a means to meet specific psychological needs (e.g., high-status products compensate for powerlessness, unique product options compensate for need for autonomy). This research adds to this literature by demonstrating that the acquisition of utilitarian products can help satisfy people’s fundamental desire for control. We show that consumers who experience a loss of perceived control actively acquire utilitarian products to restore their sense of control. Furthermore, this effect is driven by the desire to experience oneself as capable and effective. Finally, we demonstrate that acquiring utilitarian products (but not hedonic products) after experiencing control deprivation restores people’s sense of control, suggesting that such control-driven consumption preferences are indeed beneficial.

Exact Citation:
Charlene Y. Chen, Leonard Lee and Andy J. Yap "Acquiring Utilitarian Products Restores Psychological Control." , Columbia Business School, (2013).
Date: 2013