When Your World Must Be Defended: Consuming to Justify the System

Keisha Cutright, Duke University, USA
Eugenia Wu, Duke University, USA
Aaron C. Kay, University of Waterloo, Canada
Gavan Fitzsimons, Duke University, USA
Consumers are motivated to view themselves as part of a legitimate and fair external system (System Justification Theory; Jost & Banaji 1994). Our research focuses on how consumption changes when that view is threatened. We find that when the threatening consequences of living in an unjust system are made salient, individuals who are the least confident in the legitimacy of the system are the most likely to defend it through consumption (by embracing traditional versus nontraditional consumption options). Conversely, individuals who are highly confident in the system are able to withstand such threats and do not turn to consumption to defend the system.
[ to cite ]:
Keisha Cutright, Eugenia Wu, Aaron C. Kay, and Gavan Fitzsimons (2010) ,"When Your World Must Be Defended: Consuming to Justify the System", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 254-258 .