Dr. Sara KIM
MSc in Marketing Programme Director
Associate Professor

3917 2266

KK 703

Academic & Professional Qualification

  • Ph.D., Booth School of Business, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • MBA, Booth School of Business, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • M.S., KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) Business School, Korea
  • B.S., KAIST, Korea


Sara Kim’s research focus is on consumer and managerial decision making and its implications for marketing management. She is particularly interested in antecedents of consumers’ sense of self including self-affirmation, identity threats, mortality salience, and implicit theories of personality, and the impact of consumers’ sense of self on various consumer judgments and behaviors such as consumer emotions, word-of-mouth, prosocial behavior, and anthropomorphism. Her work has appeared in such publications as Journal of Consumer Research and Psychological Science. Her research has received media coverage by outlets such as New York Times, Time, Science Daily, and Medical News Today.

Sara Kim received her BBA and MS from KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology), as well as her MBA and PhD from Chicago Booth. She joined the University of Hong Kong in 2012.


  • Introduction to Marketing
  • Marketing Research

Research Interest

  • Humanization (Anthropomorphism)
  • Emoticons/emojis in online service encounters
  • Dehumanization of service employees or consumers
  • Implicit theories and attribution theory

Selected Publications

  • Fine F. Leung, Sara Kim and Caleb H. Tse (2020), “Highlighting Effort Versus Talent in Service Employee Performance: Customer Attributions and Responses,” Journal of Marketing, 84 (3), 106–121.
  • Li, Xueni (Shirley), Kimmy Wa Chan, and Sara Kim (2019), “Service with Emotions: How Customers Interpret Employee Use of Emoticons in Online Service Encounters,” Journal of Consumer Research, 45 (5), 973–987.
  • Zhou, Xinyue, Sara Kim, and Lili Wang (2019), “Money Helps When Money Feels: Money Anthropomorphism Increases Charitable Giving,” Journal of Consumer Research, 45 (5), 953–972.
  • Kim, Sara and Ann L. McGill (2018), “Helping Others by First Affirming the Self: When Self-Affirmation Reduces Ego-Defensive Downplaying of Others’ Misfortunes,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 44 (3), 345–358.
  • Kim, Sara, Ke Zhang, and Daeun Park (2018), “Don’t Want to Look Dumb? The Role of Theories of Intelligence and Humanlike Features in Online Help-Seeking,” Psychological Science, 29 (2), 171-180. *Leading article
  • Kim, Sara, Rocky Peng Chen, Ke Zhang (2016), “Anthropomorphized Helpers Undermine Autonomy and Enjoyment in Computer Games,” Journal of Consumer Research, 43 (2), 282-302.
  • Daeun Park and Sara Kim (2015), “Time to Move On? When Entity Theorists Perform Better than Incremental Theorists,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41 (5), 736-748.
  • Kim, Sara and Ann L. McGill (2011), “Gaming with Mr. Slot or Gaming the Slot Machine? Power, Anthropomorphism, and Risk Perception,” Journal of Consumer Research, 38 (1), 94-107.
  • Kim, Sara and Aparna A. Labroo (2011), “From ‘Inherent Value’ to ‘Incentive Value’: When and Why Pointless Effort Enhances Consumer Preference,” Journal of Consumer Research, 38 (4), 712-742.
  • Labroo, Aparna A. and Sara Kim (2009), “The ‘Instrumentality’ Heuristic: Why Metacognitive Difficulty Is Desirable During Goal Pursuit,” Psychological Science, 20 (1), 127-134.
  • Park, Do-Hyung, and Sara Kim (2009), “The effects of consumer knowledge on message processing of electronic word-of-mouth via online consumer reviews,” Electronic Commerce Research and Applications, 7 (4), 399-410.

Awards and Honours

  • 2018-19 University Research Excellence Award (Outstanding Young Researcher Award)
  • 2016 University Teaching Excellence Award (Early Career Teaching Award)
  • 2016 ACR Best Working Paper Award
  • 2014-15 Faculty Outstanding Teacher Award (Undergraduate Teaching)
  • 2015 RGC GRF Grant, Principal Investigator
  • 2013 RGC Early Career Scheme, Principal Investigator