Lifestyles of the Powerless and Powerful: Compensatory and Non-Compensatory Consumption

Derek Rucker, Northwestern University, USA
Adam Galinsky, Northwestern University, USA
This work examines how psychological states of both low and high power affect consumption. We propose that such states do not differ solely along some continuum of control, but produce qualitatively different psychological reactions associated with different desires. Experiencing powerlessness is found to foster behavior consistent with a compensatory motive to restore power. Consumers seek products that will imbue them with a sense of power. In contrast, feeling powerful focuses individuals on their internal desires. As a result, consumers seek products that provide functionality and comfort. Ultimately, psychological states of power affect consumption through both compensatory and non-compensatory motives.
[ to cite ]:
Derek Rucker and Adam Galinsky (2009) ,"Lifestyles of the Powerless and Powerful: Compensatory and Non-Compensatory Consumption", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 131-134.