All That Glitters Is Not Gold: How Others' Status Influences the Effect of Power Distance Belief on Status Consumption
Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 43(2), p. 265-281, August 2016
58 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2017
Date Written: August 2016
This research proposes the relationship between Power Distance Belief (PDB) and status consumption is moderated by the salience of others and their associated status (others’ status). When others’ status is not superior (similar or inferior), high PDB consumers are more likely to engage in status consumption than low PDB consumers. However, when others’ status is superior, high PDB consumers are less likely to engage in status consumption. Both signaling effectiveness and need for status underlie the effect of PDB on status consumption. Need for status mediates the effect of PDB only when others’ status is not superior whereas signaling effectiveness mediates the effect of PDB on status consumption when others’ status is superior, similar or inferior. Compared to low PDB consumers, high PDB consumers perceive greater signaling effectiveness when others’ status is inferior or similar, but perceive less signaling effectiveness, and therefore engage in less status consumption, when others’ status is superior. When status goods are consumed in private, and therefore not effective at signaling status, the interaction of others’ status and PDB is mitigated. This research articulates the nuanced effect of PDB on status consumption depending on others’ status as well as the multiple mechanisms underlying status consumption.
Keywords: Power Distance Belief, Status Consumption, Superiors, Social Comparison, Signaling Effectiveness, Need for Status
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