Using motivation theory to develop a transformative consumer research agenda for reducing materialism in society

James E. Burroughs, Lan Nguyen Chaplin, Mario Pandelaere, Michael I. Norton, Nailya Ordabayeva, Alex Gunz, Leslie Dinauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

Materialism represents a pervasive value in contemporary society and one that is associated with multiple negative consequences. Although a considerable amount of research has documented these consequences, little research has examined how materialism levels might be reduced. This article presents a research agenda for reducing materialism. The authors begin with an overview of the motivation theory of materialism, a humanistic perspective that holds that materialism is often an outward manifestation of deeper unmet psychological needs and insecurities. Thus, research that contributes to reducing materialism should do so by addressing these more fundamental inadequacies. To this end, the authors outline three emergent research areas that have potential to reduce materialism by enhancing self-esteem-namely, experiential consumption, prosocial giving, and healthy social development in children. The authors review research in each area, consider its relevance to the materialism question, and propose future research directions. They also present the public policy implications of these discussions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-31
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Public Policy and Marketing
Volume32
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

Keywords

  • Consumer welfare
  • Happiness
  • Materialism
  • Transformative consumer research
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing

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