When Big Objects Mean a Small Sense of Ownership
56 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2019
Date Written: January 28, 2018
The size of a product is a key feature of its appearance and it also potentially affects object use. Six studies explore how size alienates even experienced consumers from objects when it affects perceptions of control over those objects. Findings from different product categories, acquisition and consumption stages, and laboratory and field data show that size-induced loss of control impedes the psychological bond between the product and the individual — i.e. psychological ownership — and eventually diminishes the managerially relevant allure of large objects. Notably, visual inspection alone does not give rise to this adverse effect of too-large sizes; it is contingent on physical engagement with an object. Moreover, we show that perceived control over an object is not only a function of the object’s size but also of the physical characteristic of the consumer engaging with it. Our results entail implications for product design, sales, and marketing communication.
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