Monster Or Motivator? Understanding and Taming Consumer Envy

Cait Poynor, University of Pittsburgh, USA
Darren Dahl, University of British Columbia, Canada
Gerald Gorn, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong, China
While a vast literature has depicted the negative consequences of envy, recent work in economics and management also suggests that envy can be a positive, motivating force. How will envy impact consumers, and can these effects be anything but damaging? Three studies explore ways in which envy’s typical malignant face can be transformed into a less damaging influence both with regard to interpersonal hostility and product valuation. Specifically, we find that self-esteem and one’s sense of control over future opportunities drive the extent to which envy acts as a monster or a motivator in a consumer context.
[ to cite ]:
Cait Poynor, Darren Dahl, and Gerald Gorn (2010) ,"Monster Or Motivator? Understanding and Taming Consumer Envy", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 195-198 .