Exploring the Impact of Various Shaped Seating Arrangements on Persuasion

41 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2013

See all articles by Juliet Zhu

Juliet Zhu

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Sauder School of Business

Jennifer Argo

University of Alberta - Department of Marketing, Business Economics & Law

Date Written: March 5, 2013

Abstract

Despite the common belief that seating arrangements matter, little research has examined how the geometrical shape of a chair arrangement can impact persuasion. Across three studies, this research demonstrates that the shape of seating arrangements can prime two fundamental human needs which in turn influence persuasion. When seated in a circular shaped layout, individuals evaluate persuasive material more favorably when it contains family-oriented cues or majority endorsement information. In contrast, when seated in an angular shaped seating arrangement, individuals evaluate persuasive material more favorably when it contains self-oriented cues or minority endorsement. Further, results reveal that these responses to persuasive material arise because circular (angular) shaped seating arrangements prime a need to belong (need to be unique). Thus, this research shows that a subtle environmental cue – the shape of a seating arrangement – can activate fundamental human needs and consequently affect persuasion.

Keywords: atmospherics, chairs, shapes, persuasion

Suggested Citation

Zhu, Rui and Argo, Jennifer, Exploring the Impact of Various Shaped Seating Arrangements on Persuasion (March 5, 2013). Journal of Consumer Research, Forthcoming; University of Alberta School of Business Research Paper No. 2013-18. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2228843

Rui Zhu

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Sauder School of Business ( email )

2053 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2
Canada

Jennifer Argo (Contact Author)

University of Alberta - Department of Marketing, Business Economics & Law ( email )

Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2R6
Canada

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