The Compensatory Consumer Behavior Model: How Self-Discrepancies Drive Consumer Behavior

Journal of Consumer Psychology, Forthcoming

Columbia Business School Research Paper No. 16-42

49 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2016

See all articles by Naomi Mandel

Naomi Mandel

Arizona State University (ASU) - Marketing Department

Derek Rucker

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management

Jonathan Levav

Columbia Business School - Marketing

Adam D. Galinsky

Columbia Business School - Management

Date Written: May 31, 2016

Abstract

Consumer goods and services have psychological value that can equal or exceed their functional value. A burgeoning literature demonstrates that one source of value emerges from the capacity for products to serve as a psychological salve that reduces various forms of distress across numerous domains. This review systematically organizes and integrates the literature on the use of consumer behavior as a means to regulate self-discrepancies, or the incongruities between how one currently perceives oneself and how one desires to view oneself (Higgins, 1987). We introduce a Compensatory Consumer Behavior Model to explain the psychological consequences of self-discrepancies on consumer behavior. This model delineates five distinct strategies by which consumers cope with self-discrepancies: direct resolution, symbolic self-completion, dissociation, escapism, and fluid compensation. Finally, the authors raise critical research questions to guide future research endeavors. Overall, the present review provides both a primer on compensatory consumer behavior and sets an agenda for future research.

Keywords: Self-Concept, Social Comparison, Materialism, Conspicuous Consumption, Self-Regulation, Self-Discrepancy

Suggested Citation

Mandel, Naomi and Rucker, Derek and Levav, Jonathan and Galinsky, Adam D., The Compensatory Consumer Behavior Model: How Self-Discrepancies Drive Consumer Behavior (May 31, 2016). Journal of Consumer Psychology, Forthcoming; Columbia Business School Research Paper No. 16-42. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2787451

Naomi Mandel (Contact Author)

Arizona State University (ASU) - Marketing Department ( email )

Tempe, AZ 85287-4106
United States

Derek Rucker

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Jonathan Levav

Columbia Business School - Marketing ( email )

New York, NY 10027
United States

Adam D. Galinsky

Columbia Business School - Management ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

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