The impact of desirability and feasibility considerations for self and others Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Kubowicz Malhotra, Claudia Carolyn
    • Affiliation: Kenan-Flagler Business School
  • Construal Level Theory (CLT) proposes that social distance will operate similarly to temporal distance in that individuals' perceptions of others will be high level, abstract construals, and individuals' own perceptions will be low level, concrete construals (at least for the near future; Liberman, Trope, and Stephan in press, Trope and Liberman 2003). Consequently individuals will predict that desirability considerations are more important to others than to self, and will indicate that feasibility considerations are more important to self than to others. Four studies show this effect by examining the prediction of others' preferences, and the choices people make on behalf of others. These studies replicate the effect using different manipulations of desirability considerations (i.e., importance of brands in general, a specific brand of a consumer product, and attributes of a consumer product and experience) as well as feasibility considerations (i.e., importance of value in general, the price of a consumer product, and attributes of a consumer product and experience). Therefore, the effect is not driven solely by individuals' perceptions that they are more price sensitive than others, but rather results from perceived differences between self and others in the importance of the tradeoff between desirability and feasibility considerations. Results also indicate that closeness of the relationship to the other to the self is a moderator of the effect such that the effect is attenuated as the relationship to the other becomes closer to the self (i.e., average other vs. friend). Because individuals perceive that others value desirability considerations, results show that they report different preferences (i.e., preferences favoring desirability considerations) for themselves in public than they do in private. Consequently, the self-other difference not only influences the choices individuals make for others, but also the choices they make for themselves in different social settings. Two final studies examine representation of the other (i.e., level of concrete representation) as the underlying mechanism for the self-other effect. No conclusive evidence is found that a concrete representation attenuates the self-other effect. Future directions and managerial implications are discussed.
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  • In Copyright
  • Ratner, Rebecca Kanarre
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Open access

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