Compensatory Advice Giving: How Experiencing a Need for Control Makes You Advise More

Alessandro M. Peluso*, Andrea Bonezzi, Matteo De Angelis, Derek D. Rucker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Consumers often advise other consumers by providing them with explicit recommendations on how to behave with regard to a wide range of purchasing decisions. Although previous literature (e.g., Goldsmith and Fitch 1997; Liu and Gal 2011) typically construes advice giving as a behavior driven by an empathic concern for others, in this research we propose and show across two experiments that advice giving can sometimes serve a compensatory function and thus be driven by a self-serving motive to restore a lost sense of control. Experiment 1 (n = 82) shows that individuals who experience a need to restore control are more inclined to give advice than individuals without this need, and that this tendency is stronger for individuals chronically higher in desire for control. We measured respondents’ chronic desire for control (Burger and Cooper 1979). Then, we manipulated their sense of control using an episodic recall task (Whitson and Galinsky 2008), in order to either activate or not a transient need to restore it. Finally, respondents recalled a positive consumption experience and wrote a message about it as if they were writing to a friend. Messages were coded based on whether or not they contained an explicit advice or recommendation for the recipient. As predicted, respondents who experienced a need to restore control gave more advice than respondents without this need (55 % vs. 35.7 %), p =.05. Moreover, this tendency was stronger for those with a higher chronic desire for control compared to those lower in desire for control (76 % vs. 32.2 %), p =.008. Experiment 2 (n = 101) demonstrates that the presence of an alternative means to restore control attenuates the effect of a need to restore control on advice giving. We orthogonally manipulated sense of control, by using an anticipatory thinking task (Rutjens et al. 2010), and initial opportunity to restore control, by asking participants to engage in a task about brands that either boosted their sense of control or not (Cutright et al. 2013). Finally, participants wrote about a positive experience they had with a product or service and expressed their intention to advise others to buy it. Consistent with our compensatory account, when no initial opportunity to restore control was provided, participants in need to restore control reported a higher intent to advise (M = 8.29) than participants with no such a need (M = 6.69), p =.001. When an initial opportunity to restore control was provided, intent to advise did not differ as a function of whether or not a need to restore control had previously been activated (p >.70). Our research advances our understanding of the motives that drive advice giving in word-of-mouth conversations by showing that sometimes consumers may offer advice driven by a motive of restoring control. Our research also contributes to personal control literature by showing that, in providing explicit directions as to how others should behave, advice giving may serve a compensatory function as it provides people with a means to reestablish control.References available upon request.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDevelopments in Marketing Science
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages2
StatePublished - 2016

Publication series

NameDevelopments in Marketing Science: Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science
ISSN (Print)2363-6165
ISSN (Electronic)2363-6173


  • Customer Relationship
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Positive Experience
  • Previous Literature
  • Research Advance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing
  • Strategy and Management


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