“A Circumplex Model Perspective of Compensatory Consumption” by Mr. Jung KIM
Mr. Jung KIM
PhD Candidate in Marketing
Kellogg School of Management
The current research examines whether people’s pattern of compensatory consumption (i.e., a form of consumption in response to psychological threats to the self) follows the structure of the Schwartz’s circumplex model of values (Schwartz 1992; Maio et al. 2009). In particular, we extend the model by demonstrating that compensatory behavior changes as a function of (1) the type of threat, (2) the relative importance they place on the threatened domain, and (3) the symbolic associations of the target brand. Within Schwartz’s model, any given value (e.g., compassion) has a range of closely related, compatible values (e.g., equality, generosity) as well as a set of conflicting values (e.g. attainment of power and wealth); in addition, there are orthogonal values that neither support nor conflict with the focal value (e.g., respect for tradition or creativity). Applying the logic of the model, we propose that people seek compensation in the same domain as the threat to the extent that they place more importance on that domain than on a domain that conflicts with it. However, they seek compensation in the conflicting domain to the extent that they place more importance on the conflicting relative to the threatened domain. Compensation did not occur in the orthogonal value domains. We consistently find this pattern across three studies with threats in different domains. Implications for other theories of self-motivation – especially symbolic self-completion theory and self-affirmation theory – are discussed.