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Journal of Consumer Marketing A multi-dimensional approach to consumer motivation: exploring economic, hedonic, and
Journal of Consumer Marketing A multi-dimensional approach to consumer motivation: exploring economic, hedonic, and

Journal of Consumer Marketing

A multi-dimensional approach to consumer motivation: exploring economic, hedonic, and normative

consumption goals Isak Barbopoulos Lars-Olof Johansson

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A multi-dimensional approach to consumer motivation: exploring economic, hedonic, and normative consumption goals

Isak Barbopoulos and Lars-Olof Johansson

Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden

Abstract Purpose – The purpose of the present research is to explore the (multi-) dimensionality of the highly influential gain, hedonic and normative master goals. Despite being important drivers of consumer behavior, few attempts have been made to incorporate these goals into a single measure. Design/methodology/approach – Across three studies, the dimensionality of the gain, hedonic, and normative master goals are explored (Study 1), confirmed (Study 2) and validated (Study 3). Findings – A structure of five distinct sub-goals emerged, which were shown to be related to the original higher-order goals: thrift and safety (related to the gain goal), moral and social norms (related to the normative goal) and instant gratification (related to the hedonic goal). These five dimensions were shown to have satisfactory convergent, discriminant and construct validity. Research limitations/implications – The present research shows that consumer motivation is multi-dimensional, and that a distinction should be made not only between higher-order utilitarian, hedonic and normative determinants but also between their corresponding sub-goals, such as social and moral norms. A multi-dimensional approach to consumer motivation should prove useful in standard marketing research, as well as in the segmentation of consumer groups, products and settings. Originality/value – The emergent dimensions encompass a broad range of research, from economics and marketing, to social and environmental psychology, providing consumer researchers and practitioners alike a more nuanced and psychologically accurate view on consumer motivation.

Keywords Factor analysis, Scale development, Consumer goals, Consumer motivation

Paper type Research paper

Human behavior is purposeful and goal-driven, performed as a means toward some end (Moskowitz and Grant, 2009), and consumer behavior is no exception (Bagozzi, 1993). When a goal becomes active, tension arises based on the discrepancy between the current state and the desired state (Carver and Scheier, 1981). To reduce this discrepancy, cognitive resources – attention, information processing, knowledge, attitudes and motivation – are mobilized and directed, helping people identify feasible means (Janiszewski, 2008) and determine their value (Kruglanski et al., 2002), based on whether they are conducive or detrimental to the fulfillment of the active goals (Förster et al., 2007). This process constructs and reconstructs perceptions of value independently of pre-existing preferences (Custer and Aarts, 2005). Motivation is rarely homogenous (Lindenberg and Steg, 2007), and consumers frequently strive to maximize goal fulfillment, and resolve goal conflict, by choosing means which satisfy multiple goals simultaneously (Kopetz, 2007). Even when a single goal is focal, weaker goals are rarely discarded completely, and may still influence behavior (Lindenberg and Steg, 2007). While the focal goal will exert the most influence

The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at: www.emeraldinsight.com/0736-3761.htm

on Emerald Insight at: www.emeraldinsight.com/0736-3761.htm Journal of Consumer Marketing 33/1 (2016 ) 75–84 ©

Journal of Consumer Marketing 33/1 (2016) 75–84 © Emerald Group Publishing Limited [ISSN 0736-3761] [DOI 10.1108/JCM-08-2014-1091]

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on cognitive processes, and thus determine which means are taken into consideration, other goals may function as tiebreakers when a choice is made between the means under consideration (Kopetz, 2007). Consequently, it is important to take multiple goals into account to better understand consumer preferences and behaviors in a given situation. Goals are thought to be mentally organized in hierarchical networks, in which abstract higher-order goals are associated with sub-goals and motives (Kruglanski et al., 2002), which, in turn, are associated with means and behaviors (Carver and Scheier, 1981; Kruglanski et al., 2002). Some higher-order goals are so inclusive that they can be linked to whole areas of knowledge, attitudes and sub-goals. Three such overarching “master” goals have been identified and described in goal framing theory (Lindenberg and Steg, 2007; Lindenberg, 2001a). These are the gain goal (“to guard or improve one’s resources”), the hedonic goal (“to feel better right now”) and the normative goal (“to act appropriately”). The gain and hedonic goals coincide with well-established theories in economic and marketing research, for example, rational choice theories (Schoemaker, 1982) and theories on affect and emotions (Babin et al., 1994; Holbrook and Hirschman, 1982), whereas the normative goal has been researched mainly within social and environmental psychology (Schwartz, 1977; Stern, 2000; Kallgren et al., 2000). Although all three goals

Received 6 August 2014 Revised 17 April 2015 17 August 2015 Accepted 8 September 2015

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Multi-dimensional approach to consumer motivation

Isak Barbopoulos and Lars-Olof Johansson

have proven effective at explaining different aspects of consumer behavior, most theories typically focus on only one goal (Lindenberg and Steg, 2007), and the normative goal is often overlooked in the consumer literature (Sanchez- Fernandez and Iniesta-Bonillo, 2007). The aim of the present research is to establish an integrative and multi-dimensional measure of consumer goals, which takes not only the utilitarian and hedonic master goals into account but also the normative goal. The three master goals are purposefully chosen as a point of departure for this measure, as they are well established and have been shown to be highly influential in a variety of consumption settings. However, as the master goals are abstract and overarching, an important task is to examine their dimensionality. As of yet, it is largely unknown whether the master goals are best represented by single sub-goals (e.g. “seek pleasure” for the hedonic goal) or by multiple distinct sub-goals (e.g. “seek pleasure”, “seek excitement” and “avoid effort”). While the fulfillment of an active sub-goal should lead to the fulfillment of the corresponding master goal, the sub-goals may accomplish this in different, sometimes conflicting, ways (e.g. through variety-seeking when seeking excitement or choosing the tried-and-true when avoiding effort). Across three studies, the dimensionality of the gain, hedonic and normative goals is explored (Study 1), confirmed (Study 2) and validated (Study 3). Complementary dimensions, as well as theoretical and practical implications of the emergent structure, are discussed.

The master goals

The gain goal The gain goal entails a heightened sensitivity to changes in personal resources (Lindenberg and Steg, 2007). When the gain goal is active, consumers may be more sensitive to variations in cost and perceived value, while concerns about emotional, social or ethical consequences are of lesser importance. Indeed, strong economic motivations have been shown to displace or weaken other motivations, such as personal responsibility and moral obligations, a phenomenon referred to as “motivation crowding out” (Frey and Jegen, 2001). According to Lindenberg and Steg (2007), the gain goal may be related to sub-goals dealing with saving money, increasing one’s income and dealing with threats to one’s financial security.

The hedonic goal The hedonic goal makes consumers more sensitive to changes in pleasure, mood and energy levels, while economic utility and norms play a lesser role (Lindenberg and Steg, 2007). Consumers have, for example, been shown to be less price sensitive for hedonic goods compared to utilitarian goods (Wakefield and Inman, 2003). Emotions and affect have been shown to be an important aspect of consumption in a wide variety of situations (Babin et al., 1994; Childers et al., 2001; Pohjanheimo et al., 2010), including in highly functional consumer decision contexts, such as the choice between public transport and the car (Steg, 2005). The hedonic goal is assumed to be related to sub-goals dealing with pleasure and excitement, as well as avoidance of effort and negative feelings (Lindenberg and Steg, 2007).

Journal of Consumer Marketing

Volume 33 · Number 1 · 2016 · 75–84

The normative goal The normative goal is associated with a heightened sensitivity how one “ought” to act, according to personal norms, the opinions of others and the society as a whole (Lindenberg and Steg, 2007). As such, this goal is closely related to pro-social and pro-environmental consumption. Although norms are highly influential, they can be displaced by other goals. Research has, for example, shown that, as costs of either resources or effort increase, normative concerns become less influential, a phenomenon referred to as the “low-cost hypothesis” (Diekmann and Preisendörfer, 2003). The normative goal is thought to be linked to sub-goals dealing with appropriateness, moral obligations and social norms (Dawes and Messick, 2000; Lindenberg and Steg, 2007).

Item generation

The list of items was generated in a top–down fashion, following a careful reading of the literature on the three master goals and their possible sub-goals (Lindenberg, 2001a, 2001b, 2006; Lindenberg and Steg, 2007; Steg and Vlek, 2009), as well as similar concepts in the literature (Ajzen, 1991; Babin et al., 1994; Schwartz, 1977). Items were generated to cover key aspects of the master goals, while, at the same time, being nuanced enough to allow for the emergence of sub-goals, as described in goal framing theory (Lindenberg and Steg, 2007). For example, items dealing with saving money (e.g. “Use your money in a frugal and price conscious way”), improving one’s economy (“Maintain or improve your economy”), as well as securing one’s future needs (“Use your money for something that you may need in the future [but perhaps not right now]”), were generated to cover the gain goal. In a similar fashion, items on improving one’s mood, seeking excitement and avoiding discomfort were generated to cover the hedonic goal, and items on appropriateness, moral obligations and social norms to cover the normative goal. Consumers often seek to maximize goal fulfillment and resolve goal conflict by choosing means which satisfy multiple goals simultaneously (Kopetz, 2007). To account for the possibility that sub-goals may be multifinal too, additional items were generated that simultaneously covered aspects of the following goals: items on long-term well-being, and the enjoyment of shopping, were generated to cover gain-hedonic; status seeking and reputation, to cover gain-normative; and items on conscience, and self-esteem, to cover hedonic- normative. In this way, the pool of items was made to cover a broad range of theoretical concepts, from frugality to status seeking while, at the same time, maintaining a close relationship to the three master goals. The emergent factor structure may thus shed light on the dimensionality of the three master goals: if the master goals are unidimensional – that is, each represented by a single lineal sub-goal – then three distinct dimensions should emerge, each containing items associated with the three respective master goals. If, on the other hand, the master goals are multi-dimensional – that is, represented by multiple distinct sub-goals – then additional sub-goals, related to different aspects of the master goal, should be expected. The final list contained 36 items; 6 for each master goal, and 6 for each combination of 2 master goals.

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Multi-dimensional approach to consumer motivation

Isak Barbopoulos and Lars-Olof Johansson

Study 1

The purpose of Study 1 was to explore the dimensionality of the three master goals. A total of 207 participants were recruited from a pool of voluntary research participants at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. The participants were randomly assigned to one of three consumption contexts, namely, food consumption, leisure time consumption and choice of savings and investments. These contexts were chosen as they represent different aspects of household consumption, and should therefore increase the generality of the emerging structure. The participants were e-mailed a link to the online questionnaire, in which their assigned context was introduced (e.g. “Imagine that you’re on the way to a grocery store to buy food and other necessary consumables. What would you buy, based on what you have or do not have at home right now?”). The list of items was presented with the following question: “When you decided how you would use your money, how important was it for you to .]”, followed by the 36 items which made up the continuation of the question (e.g. “Maintain or improve your economy”). The perceived importance of the items was rated on a five-point scale ranging from 0 (not at all important) to 4 (very important).

Exploratory factor analysis The data from the three contexts were pooled for increased generality. Principal component analysis was performed using an oblique rotation method as the dimensions are assumed to be naturally correlated. A total of nine factors had an eigenvalue 1. Following recommendations by Costello and Osborne (2005), multiple factor solutions were extracted, ranging from one to nine extracted factors, and then evaluated in terms of explained variance on the one hand, and signs of over-extraction on the other. The five-factor solution was chosen, as it was the structure with the highest explained variance without any signs of over-extraction (i.e. no factors made up mainly of weak or cross-loaded items). Ten items with low communalities ( 0.5) were then removed one by one, as recommended by Costello and Osborne (2005), and three items were removed due to cross-loadings, as recommended by Tabachnick and Fidell (2001). The result was a 23-item five-factor solution explaining a total of 61.9 per cent of the variance. Cronbach’s alpha was satisfactory, ranging from 0.76 (Factor 2) to 0.86 (Factor 1). Component correlations did not show signs of excessive overlap, ranging between 0.21 (Factor IV-V) and 0.23 (Factors I-IV and II-III) (Table I).

The emergent dimensions Factor I, labeled Safety, contains items regarding securing one’s future well-being and feeling safe, and may thus deal with the financial security aspect of the gain goal (Lindenberg and Steg, 2007). Although it may also share some characteristics with the hedonic goal, due to its focus on well-being, it does not share the (assumed) short time frame of hedonic goal, and it is not concerned with pleasure or excitement. Factor IV, labeled Thrift, with its focus on frugality and resource efficiency, is clearly related to the gain goal, and seems to cover the money saving and economic aspect of this master goal. The normative goal too seems to be represented by two distinct dimensions, one concerned with the social aspects, such as fitting in and gaining approval (Factor II, labeled

Journal of Consumer Marketing

Volume 33 · Number 1 · 2016 · 75–84

Social norms), whereas the other deals with the moral and ideological aspects (Factor III, labeled Moral norms). Finally, Factor V, labeled Instant gratification, with its focus on short-term needs and comfort, is reminiscent of the hedonic goal as described in goal framing theory (Lindenberg and Steg, 2007). Although a second hedonic dimension is not present in the five-factor solution, it may be of interest to note that a dimension dealing with excitement (as opposed to satisfaction and comfort), was close to emerge in the discarded six-factor solution. This suggests that the hedonic goal could perhaps also be divided into two sub-goals. Although the sixth factor is theoretically interesting, the relatively conservative five-factor model was used in subsequent analyzes, as it represents an overall “cleaner” factor structure (i.e. has fewer cross-loading and weak items).

Study 2

The purpose of Study 2 was to confirm the emergent five factor structure from Study 1. Confirmatory factor analysis was performed on a new sample, consisting of a total of 255 participants, recruited from a pool of voluntary research participants at Karlstad University, Sweden. Convergent, discriminant and criterion-related validity of the five dimensions was also assessed. Upon arrival, the participants were given 100 SEK

(approximately 10) in real money, with which they were to buy a chocolate bar (100 g). The participants could choose between two chocolate bars:

1 one regular chocolate bar at the cost of 20 SEK (approximately 2); and

2 one carbon compensated “green” chocolate bar at the cost of 50 SEK (approximately 5).

The participants then kept the chocolate bar of their choice as well as the remaining money as compensation for their participation. After completing the purchase task, the participants were asked to rate the importance of the items on the same five-point scale used in Study 1. The purpose of the purchase task was to assess the ability of the emergent structure to explain choice, as well as to test whether the individual dimensions behave as may be expected. While both alternatives are hedonic in nature, they differ from each other in that they entail a trade-off between money on the one hand, and environmental impact on the other. Choice of the green chocolate bar may thus be expected to be negatively related to the Thrift dimension and positively related to the Moral norms dimension. While Thrift and Safety are both assumed to be related to the gain goal, and Moral and Social norms to the normative goal, Safety and Social norms are not expected to be related to the choice of either chocolate bar as they are not assumed to be related to the money saving aspect of the gain goal or the moral aspect of the normative goal. Furthermore, although both alternatives are hedonic in nature, the Instant gratification dimension is not expected to be related to either choice, as the two chocolate bars are assumed to be about equal in their ability to satisfy this goal. Some minor changes were made to the 23-items scale from Study 1. Following recommendations by Churchill (1979), the wording of the items were improved by splitting double-barreled statements into separate items (e.g. from

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Multi-dimensional approach to consumer motivation

Isak Barbopoulos and Lars-Olof Johansson

Journal of Consumer Marketing

Volume 33 · Number 1 · 2016 · 75–84

Table I Factor pattern matrix with item wordings (translated from Swedish), as well as factor labels, loadings, main-loading items, Cronbach’s alpha, eigenvalue and explained variance

Factor label

When you decided how you would use your money, how important was it for you

I

II

III

IV

V

Safety

Increase or secure your future well-being Increase or secure your future safety Be more comfortable in the future (but perhaps not right now) Feel calmer and safer Use your money on something that you may need in the future (but perhaps not right now) Act in line with what you think most others find appropriate Feel like a good person in the eyes of others Show others that you have done right for yourself Maintain or improve your self-esteem Do or get something that is prestigious Feel like you acted morally right Show others that you took a stand for something Feel that your way to use your money was consistent with your ideals and opinions Act the way you think that one should Take consideration of your surroundings Use your money in a frugal and price conscious way Use your money in an affordable and cost-effective way Maintain or improve your economy Use your money in a conscious way Consume in moderation Get something that you wanted or needed for now Satisfy immediate needs In the short term act in a way that was comfortable or in some way increased your immediate comfort Number of main-loading items Cronbach’s alpha Initial eigenvalue Initial explained variance (%)

0.81

0.79

0.75

0.69

0.63

Social norms

 

0.78

0.70

0.68

0.64

0.59

Moral norms

 

0.82

0.72

0.72

0.63

0.54

Thrift

 

0.86

0.77

0.76

0.63

0.59

Instant gratification

 

0.82

0.81

0.75

5

5553

0.86

0.76

0.78

0.82

0.77

5.4

3.6

2.2

1.6

1.4

23.6

15.8

9.6

7.0

5.9

Note: Factor loadings 0.32 were suppressed for increased readability

“Use your money in a frugal and price conscious way” to “Use your money in a frugal way” and “Act price consciously”). Items which became redundant after this procedure (due to the existence of similar items) were removed. A few item wordings were made more succinct by removing unnecessary words (e.g. from “Feel like you acted morally right” to “Act morally right”). Other than these cosmetic changes, the scale and the contents of the dimensions remained essentially the same. This version of the scale consisted of 27 items in total (Appendix 1).

Confirmatory factor analysis Confirmatory factor analysis was performed to test the consistency of the emergent five factor structure across a new sample. Multiple models were defined with increasing separation between the emergent dimensions, ranging from a one-factor model to the emergent five-factor model. As can be seen in Table II, the improvement in chi-square for each subsequent model is significant at p 0.001, which suggests that the model fits the data better when the dimensions are separated rather than combined. The five-factor model based on the results of Study 1 has acceptable model fit in terms of relative chi-square (CMIN/df 2.56), root mean square error

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of approximation (RMSEA 0.08) and comparative fit index (CFI 0.88). Factor loadings range from 0.50 to 0.89 (average 0.73), and are all significant at p 0.001, suggesting sufficient convergent validity.

Initial assessment of convergent and discriminant validity According to Hair et al. (2010), convergent validity is supported if average variance extracted (AVE) is greater than 0.5 and if composite reliability (CR) is greater than AVE. AVE is greater than 0.5, ranging between 0.51 (Social norms) and 0.61 (Moral norms) and CR is greater than AVE, ranging between 0.83 (Safety) and 0.86 (Social norms), for all dimensions. Therefore, convergent validity is supported. Discriminant validity is supported if the maximum shared squared variance (MSV), as well as the average shared squared variance (ASV; Hair et al., 2010), are lower than AVE. MSV is lower than AVE, ranging between 0.24 (Thrift and Instant gratification) and 0.39 (Safety and Social norms), and so is ASV, ranging between 0.10 (Instant gratification) and 0.24 (Moral norms), in all cases. Discriminant validity is thereby supported.

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Multi-dimensional approach to consumer motivation

Isak Barbopoulos and Lars-Olof Johansson

Journal of Consumer Marketing

Volume 33 · Number 1 · 2016 · 75–84

Table II Model fit indices (CMIN, CMIN/df, RMSEA and CFI) for the four different models, each with increasing separation between the five dimensions (see the column labeled factor structure)

Model

Factor structure

CMIN

df

CMIN/df

CMIN

df

RMSEA

CFI

1

(one-factor)

T S IG MN SN T S; IG; MN SN T; S IG; MN SN T S; IG; MN; SN T; S IG; MN; SN T; S; IG; MN SN

2,088.96

252

8.29

0.17

0.41

2a (three-factor)

1,496.59

249

6.01

592.37

3

0.14

0.60

2b (three-factor)

1,485.05

249

5.96

603.91

3

0.14

0.60

3a (four-factor)

1,180.76

246

4.80

304.29

3

0.12

0.70

3b (four-factor)

1,170.67

246

4.76

314.38

3

0.12

0.70

3c (four-factor)

937.07

246

3.81

547.98

3

0.11

0.78

4

(five-factor)

T; S; IG; MN; SN

619.47

242

2.56

317.60

4

0.08

0.88

Notes:

IG instant gratification; MN moral norms; SN social norms. Also note that delta for model 4 was calculated in comparison to 3c, and that delta for models 3a and 3b were calculated in comparison to model 2; p 0.001

“A B” means that A and B load on the same factor, while “A; B” means that A and B load on separate factors; T thrift; S safety;

Criterion-related validity In total, 54.1 per cent of the participants chose the regular, non-carbon compensated, chocolate. A binary logistic regression was performed with choice (regular vs green chocolate) as the dependent variable and the five dimensions as independent variables. The Moral and the Thrift dimensions are as expected significantly related to the choice of green chocolate, the former positively (B 2.29, p 0.001) and the latter negatively (B 2.66, p 0.001). Whereas a one-unit increase in the Moral norms dimension increased the odds of choosing the green chocolate by 9.85 times, a one unit increase in Thrift dimension decreased the odds of choosing the more expensive green chocolate by a factor of 14.29. Unlike Thrift and Moral norms, Safety and Social norms were not significantly related to the choice (B 0.62, p 0.064; B 0.09, p 0.831, respectively). This demonstrates the importance of distinguishing between the sub-goals of a given master goal, as they differ in their relationship to choice. Furthermore, while chocolate is hedonic, instant gratification was unrelated to choice (B 0.19, p 0.565). This demonstrates that even when a goal is salient, it may not be related to choice, as the alternatives under consideration may be equal in their ability satisfy the goal. In this case, goals that correspond to the unique properties of the means influence choice.

Study 3

The purpose of Study 3 was to further test the convergent and discriminant validity of the dimensions, as well as to fully test the construct validity of the five dimensions. A total of 269 participants were recruited from a pool of voluntary research participants at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. The participants were e-mailed a link to the online questionnaire, in which they were asked where they would like to travel, and what they would like to do at the destination, as if they were planning a vacation right now. The remainder of the questionnaire was divided into three parts, plus a follow-up questionnaire filled out approximately one week later. In the first part, the participants were asked to rate the importance of the items in the 27-item scale from Study 2 (Appendix 1) in relation to the described vacation travel context. Three one-item measures representing the three master goals (gain: “Guard or improve your resources”; hedonic “Feel better right now”; and normative “Act

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appropriately”) were also included among the 27 items, and rated on the same scale. The purpose of these items was to assess the relationship between the five emergent dimensions and the original master goals as described in goal framing theory (Lindenberg and Steg, 2007).

Construct validity In the second part of the questionnaire, approximately half of the participants were asked to what extent they seek different kinds of information before they decide where to travel (N

138), and the other half to what extent they were interested in different upgrades to a hypothetical travel package (N 131). One type of information was formulated to correspond to each of the five emergent dimensions:

1 Thrift-information on rebates and deals;

2 Safety-insurance, safety and unrest;

3 Instant gratification-recreation, entertainment and excursions;

4 Moral norms-environmental standards and emissions; and

5 Social norms-opinions and recommendations of one’s friends.

was

Likewise,

formulated for each of the five dimensions:

one

hypothetical

travel

package

upgrade

1 Thrift-preference for a 10 per cent rebate;

2 Safety-upgraded travel insurance;

3 Instant gratification-“deluxe” package;

4 Moral norms-environmentally friendly transportation and accommodations; and

5 Social norms-trendy and popular destination and hotel.

The participants rated to what extent they seek these types of information on a seven-point scale, ranging from 0 (not at all), to 6 (to a very high extent), and to what extent they were interested in each of the five travel package upgrades, ranging from 0 (not at all interested) to 6 (extremely interested).

Convergent and discriminant validity In the third part of the questionnaire, five scales that are expected to be related to the emergent dimensions were included, to further assess their convergent validity. For Thrift, four items representing the price dimension of the consumer perceived value scale (PERVAL; Sweeney and Soutar, 2001) was included. This scale was rated on the same scale as the five dimensions. From Schwartz’s (1992) value theory, six items representing the security value, three items representing hedonism and nine items representing

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Multi-dimensional approach to consumer motivation

Isak Barbopoulos and Lars-Olof Johansson

Journal of Consumer Marketing

Volume 33 · Number 1 · 2016 · 75–84

universalism were included for Safety, Instant gratification and Moral norms, respectively. The importance of these values were rated on a nine-point scale: 1 (opposed to my values), 0 (not important), 1-2 (unlabeled), 3 (important), 4-5 (unlabeled), 6 (very important), 7 (of supreme importance). Eight items from the consumer susceptibility of interpersonal influences scale (CSII; Bearden et al., 1989), was included for Social norms, rated on a seven-point scale, ranging from 0 (not true at all) to 6 (precisely true). Finally, two motivational constructs which are assumed to be unrelated to the five dimensions were included to further test discriminant validity:

promotion and prevention regulatory focus (Higgins et al., 2001). These were rated on a seven-point scale, ranging from 0 (not true at all) to 6 (precisely true).

(Thrift-rebates and deals r 0.29, p 0.001; Safety-

insurance, safety, and unrest r 0.32, p 0.001; Instant gratification-recreation, entertainment, and excursions r 0.46, p 0.001; Moral norms-environmental standards and emissions r 0.25, p 0.003; Social norms-opinions and recommendations of one’s friends r 0.23, p 0.006). Out of these five correlations, four do not differ significantly in strength between T1 and T2, the exception being Instant gratification-recreation, entertainment and excursions, which was significantly weaker at T2 (r T1 0.46 vs. r T2 0.13, Z 2.80, p 0.005). All five dimensions correlate positively and significantly with their corresponding upgrade preferences at T1 (Thrift-10 per cent rebate r 0.22, p 0.012; Safety-travel insurance

Out of the original 269 participants, 232 (86.2 per cent)

r

0.26, p 0.003; Instant gratification-“deluxe” package

answered the follow-up questionnaire a week later. In this

r

0.27, p 0.002; Moral norms-environmentally friendly

questionnaire, the participants were asked to answer the other of the two questions regarding information prior to choice (N 117), and upgrades preference (N 115). The purpose of the follow-up questionnaire was to assess whether the relationships fluctuate over time, as well as to reduce the impact of potential

transportation and accommodations r 41, p 0.001; Social norms-trendy and popular destination and hotel r 0.19, p 0.029). None of the correlations are significantly different at T2 compared to T1; however, Instant gratification-“deluxe” package was marginally stronger at T2 (r T1 0.26 vs. r T2

demand effects.

0.46, Z 1.67, p 0.095; two-tailed).

Convergent and discriminant validity Bivariate correlations were calculated between each of the five dimensions and the five corresponding scales, as well as the two unrelated motivational constructs. As expected, all five dimensions are positively and significantly correlated with their corresponding scales (Thrift-price r 0.68, p 0.001; Safety-security value r 0.27, p 0.001; Instant gratification-hedonic value r 0.34, p 0.001; Moral norms-universalism value r 0.37, p 0.001; Social norms-CSII r 0.34, p 0.001), while the correlations between the dimensions and promotion and prevention regulatory focus are considerably weaker, ranging between 0.17 (p 0.007) for Social norms-promotion and 0.04 (p 0.521) for Moral norms-prevention. In fact, only two out of the ten correlations are statistically significant; Social norms-promotion (r 0.17, p 0.007) and Safety- promotion (r 0.13, p 0.038). Fisher’s r-to-Z was calculated to assess whether the correlations between the dimensions and their corresponding scales are significantly stronger than the correlations between the dimensions and either of the regulatory focus dimensions. The Z value suggests that this is the case in nine out of ten comparisons. Only Safety-security (r 0.27, p 0.001) vs Safety-promotion (r 0.13, p 0.038), was not statistically significant (note that negative signs were removed before the Z value was calculated); however, at Z 1.69, it was marginally significant (p 0.091; two-tailed).

Construct validity A series of bivariate correlations were calculated between the dimensions and the corresponding information search types and preferences, for the original questionnaire (from here on referred to as T1), and the follow-up one week later (T2). To compare correlation strength between T1 and T2, Fisher’s r-to-Z transformation was calculated. All correlations between the dimensions and their corresponding information search types are positive and statistically significant at T1

80

The dimensions in relation to the original master goals Regression analyses were performed with the three one-item measures representing the original master goals described by Lindenberg and Steg (2007) as independent variables, and each of the five dimensions as dependent variable. As may be expected, Thrift and Safety are primarily explained by the gain item ( 0.46, p 0.001 and 0.56, p 0.001, respectively), Instant gratification by hedonic ( 0.48, p 0.001) and Moral norms by normative ( 0.58, p 0.001). Social norms seems to be explained by the gain ( 0.40, p 0.001) and the normative items ( 0.34, p 0.001), which suggests that the Social norms dimension may cover aspects of both goals. It has previously been shown that people may comply with norms to gain rewards or avoid punishment (Burnkrant and Cousineau, 1975), which may explain this result.

General discussion

The aim of the present research was to explore the dimensionality of the three master goals described in goal-framing theory (Lindenberg and Steg, 2007), and, in doing so, develop an integrative and multi-dimensional measure of consumer goals. Five distinct dimensions emerged in Study 1, which could be confirmed in Study 2, and validated in Study 3. The emergence of two dimensions related to the gain goal (Thrift and Safety), and two dimensions related to the normative goal (Moral and Social norms), demonstrates that the master goals are indeed multi-dimensional. The distinction between these sub-goals is important, as the activation of each sub-goal is likely associated with different preferences and behaviors.

The five dimensions Thrift and safety Two distinct dimensions were shown to be related to the gain goal, namely, Thrift and Safety. The Thrift dimension,

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Multi-dimensional approach to consumer motivation

Isak Barbopoulos and Lars-Olof Johansson

which was related to the price dimension of the PERVAL (Sweeney and Soutar, 2001), and the search for information on rebates and deals, and a preference for a 10 per cent rebate, in Study 3, likely deals with the money saving aspect of the gain goal. Safety, on the other hand, was related to, among other things, the security value type of Schwartz’s (1992) value theory, which, in turn, is related to seeking harmony and stability (Bardi and Schwartz, 2003), as well as avoiding dangers and risks in purchase situations (Richins, 2005). This sub-goal likely deals with the financial security aspect of the gain goal, as it relates to securing one’s long-term well-being. Utility may not only be achieved by minimizing the cost of a purchase but also by maximizing the benefit. The price of an item has been shown to correlate positively with perceptions of quality and, at the same time, negatively with perceived value (Dodds et al., 1991), which suggests that consumers looking for high quality may not necessarily be interested in high value, and vice versa. We therefore propose that a quality-oriented dimension may complement the Thrift and Safety dimensions.

Instant gratification The Instant gratification dimension is the most hedonic of the emergent dimensions, and seems to entail a striving for satisfaction and comfort. Like the higher-order hedonic master goal, this dimension seems to have a short time frame (Lindenberg and Steg, 2007), which may make it relatively unstable compared to the other goals. Indeed, the relationship between this dimension and the corresponding constructs varied over the approximately one week that passed between the original questionnaire in Study 3 and the follow-up questionnaire. Hedonism is often treated as unidimensional or bi-polar (e.g. pleasant-unpleasant; Batra and Ahtola, 1990), despite the fact that some hedonic motives are conceptually different from each other (e.g. stimulation vs comfort; Ormel et al., 1999). The hedonic goal can, therefore, perhaps also be divided into two (or more) sub-goals, for example, one dealing with contentment and comfort, and one dealing with stimulation and excitement. This would be in line with research that show that we may seek to either increase or decrease our stimulation level, depending on the balance between our current vs our optimal stimulation level (Steenkamp and Baumgartner, 1992).

Moral and social norms The normative goal is represented by two distinct sub-goals, one dealing with ideals and moral obligations, covering the ethical aspect of the normative goal, and the other with fitting in and gaining prestige, dealing with the social aspect (Lindenberg and Steg, 2007). Whereas the former was shown to be related to universalism (Schwartz, 1992), and pro-environmental behaviors (Studies 2 and 3), the latter was shown to be related to consumer susceptibility to interpersonal influences (CSII; Bearden et al., 1989), which, in turn, has been shown to be related to compliance and conformity, suggesting that people with high ratings on such a dimension would be especially sensitive to social sanctions of different kinds (Burnkrant and Cousineau, 1975). Thus, the distinction between these normative sub-goals is important, as the

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Volume 33 · Number 1 · 2016 · 75–84

motivation to act in accordance with norms from a fear of social sanctions may differ greatly from acting in accordance with norms due to personal or moral convictions and obligations.

Likelihood of activation All else being equal, goals will differ in their a priori strength (Lindenberg and Steg, 2007). According to goal framing theory, the hedonic goal is the most basic goal, as it requires the least support from the social surroundings, and is therefore most likely to be a priori activated. In comparison, the gain goal needs external support to be activated, as it relies on the presence of institutions (e.g. property rights), and the normative goal needs more external support yet, as it requires institutions, moralization, as well as social sanctions. Similarly, Maslow (1970) argues that basic needs are prioritized over more abstract needs. Physiological needs (health, food and sleep) are thought to be the most basic, followed by security (steady income, health insurance), social (belonging, affection), esteem (self-worth, social recognition) and self-actualization (personal growth). In the present research, Instant gratification was related the hedonic goal, and, as it entails satisfying immediate needs, it may be the most basic of the five dimensions, and therefore, likely to be the a priori strongest. The Thrift and Safety dimensions are related to the gain goal, and are similar to security needs (more specifically, Thrift to preserving resources and Safety to avoiding risks), and may therefore be second strongest. Social norms is related to both the gain and normative goal, and is similar to social needs, and is therefore likely the third strongest. Moral norms is related to the normative goal, and is perhaps related to the more abstract social, esteem and maybe even self-actualization, needs. As such, Moral norms is likely a priori the weakest of the five dimensions. However, that is not to say that Moral norms is a weak, or less motivating, goal. The a priori strength of the goals may influence their likelihood to be activated, but it does not necessarily influence their strength once activated.

Contributions and applications The present research contributes theoretically and practically, as the emergent structure not only provides evidence for the multi-dimensionality of the three master goals described in goal framing theory (Lindenberg and Steg, 2007), but also offers an integrative method of measuring these goals across a variety of consumption contexts. Integrating multiple consumption goals into a single measure, provides a richer and more detailed account of consumer motivation, which would not be possible using uni- or bi-dimensional measures. Knowing that a given target group is motivated primarily by Thrift and Moral norms, for instance, may suggest that they are interested in conserving personal as well as environmental resources, for example by bringing their own bags to the store, buying second hand or buying in bulk (thus reducing transportation costs). However, another group that is motivated by Social norms and Moral norms, but not Thrift, may be more interested in showing others that they are willing to make sacrifices for the environment, for example, by buying more expensive eco-labeled products.

Multi-dimensional approach to consumer motivation

Isak Barbopoulos and Lars-Olof Johansson

Journal of Consumer Marketing

Volume 33 · Number 1 · 2016 · 75–84

 

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Multi-dimensional approach to consumer motivation

Isak Barbopoulos and Lars-Olof Johansson

Appendix

Journal of Consumer Marketing

Volume 33 · Number 1 · 2016 · 75–84

Table A1 The five dimensions of the consumer motivation scale

Dimension

When you

, how important is it for you

Thrift

Safety

Instant gratification

Moral norms

Social norms

Use your money in a frugal way Act price consciously Choose a cost-effective alternative Maintain or improve your economy Be economically responsible Increase or secure your future well-being Increase or secure your future safety Be more comfortable in the future (but perhaps not right now) Feel calmer and safer Use your money on something that you may need in the future (but perhaps not right now) Get something that you wanted or needed for now Satisfy immediate needs Choose an alternative that increases your immediate comfort Act in a way that was comfortable Increase your short-term well-being Act morally right Use your money in a way that was consistent with your ideals and opinions Take a stand for something that you believe in Act the way that you think one should Lead by example Take consideration of your surroundings Act in a way that people who are important to you think is appropriate Feel like a good person in the eyes of others Maintain or improve your self-esteem Show others that you have done right for yourself Do or get something that is prestigious Act the way that you think your circle of friends would want you to act

Note: The exact wording may vary given product and context

Corresponding author

Isak Barbopoulos can be contacted at: isak.barbopoulos@ psy.gu.se