A Metaphorical Synthesis of the Impact of Ownership on Consumer Behavior
46 Pages Posted: 7 May 2016
Date Written: December 15, 2014
The experience of ownership is a constituent of the human condition and is woven into the entire spectrum of consumer behaviors. Despite its overarching impact, the literature on the experience of ownership and, in particular, on its consequences on consumer behavior presents a rather fragmented picture. This review focuses on the way in which ownership brings about measurable consumer perceptions and behaviors. It synthesizes the main existing streams of research on the effects of ownership and advances the state of the art by deriving basic tenets of ownership and condensing existing knowledge into the conceptual metaphor of a person holding a balloon (symbolizing the ownership target) on a leash. The theory-generating potential of the metaphor is established by using it to propose that ownership can be viewed in terms psychological distance and by showcasing how the metaphor can be used to address multiple open questions around the experience of ownership. The result is a fresh perspective on a fundamental human phenomenon. Applying this perspective leads to theoretically and practically relevant implications and may prove useful in coming to grips with socio-economic developments such as a surge in virtual goods.
Keywords: ownership, endowment effect, psychological distance, mere-ownership, attachment, possession, psychological ownership, metaphor
JEL Classification: D10, M30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation