Presidential Address: 1980

William L. Wilkie, University of Florida
[ to cite ]:
William L. Wilkie (1981) ,"Presidential Address: 1980", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 08, eds. Kent B. Monroe, Ann Abor, MI : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 1-5.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 8, 1981      Pages 1-5

PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS: 1980

William L. Wilkie, University of Florida

INTRODUCTORY COMMENTS

Before beginning my formal address, I would like to thank Kent Monroe, who acted as Conference Chairman for this event. Having had the pleasure of doing this several years ago, I can appreciate the substantial effort that he, his Program Committee, and his Arrangements Co-Chairmen, Gary Ford and Paul Bloom have put into this conference.

I would also like to note that it gives me particular pleasure to be able to deliver a Presidential Address in Washington, D.C.... especially in this election year. While thinking about what I might say, I began to appreciate the power inherent in the Presidency. As I stand before this distinguished assemblage, therefore, I am tempted to announce that I have ordered -- and there will in fact be -- a massive cut in government spending this coming year...This will be coupled with a major tax cut for both businesses and individuals.

Inflation will end, and employment will rise...Our savings rate will increase...Productivity gains will be phenomenal...

I am today placing our entire military forces on maneuvers in the Mid-East; this will result in immediate cessation of all hostilities in that region, and will shortly bring world peace and tranquility...

Overall, I am pleased to announce that we shall shortly reach all of our goals in life, both individually and as a society...

That is all I have to announce for today. Unfortunately, due to the press of world affairs, I will be unable to take questions at this time...

Beyond the pleasure I get from being able to make such Presidential pronouncements, it is also a personal pleasure to return to Washington, D.C. for this occasion. I once lived here and came to feel great affection for the town. Some of you may not know, by the way, that Washington is considered to be the point at which the North and South of the United States come together. This special characteristic once led President John F. Kennedy to describe Washington as a city that managed to uniquely blend "old-time Southern speed and efficiency, with all the graciousness of urban Northern charm."

At any rate, unlike some other Presidential addresses this year, my speech today will not be mean... Unlike some others, it won't be taken from note cards, and won't be memorized. Hopefully, though, it will be brief.]

ACR'S MISSION

My topic today deals with the central mission of the Association for Consumer Research, and how well we seem to be accomplishing this mission. After reviewing why ACR was founded, and how it proceeded at its start (Pratt 1974), I think that ACR's two key goals are quite clear:

The pursuit and development of knowledge.

A sharing in this pursuit.

The pursuit of knowledge is a basic goal for this type of organization; I intend to discuss it in more detail in the body of my speech. The explicit "sharing" goal is less typical, however. ACR was intended to be interdisciplinary in nature, and the pursuit of knowledge was intended to be accomplished across institutional structures. It was intended that persons in business, in government, and in academia should come together with this common goal, each contributing significant perspectives and findings to the body of knowledge. As we all have seen, the pairing of these objectives presents a challenging task.

It turns out that our field's progress and problems have provided by far the most popular topics for past Presidential Addresses to this Association. They have been approached from several directions, including:

The amount of work.

The quality of work.

Problems in theory and methods.

Relevance of the work.

Proper domain of our work.

Some ethical issues in dissemination of our work.

Today, I would like to take yet another approach to this topic, mainly to ask in a broader sense, AWhen we, as an Association, assert that we want to pursue knowledge, what do we really mean?"

Overview of the Address

There seem to be three special issues involved here, and I have organized my talk according to these. First, there is the question of each member's personal choice whether or not to attempt to contribute to the development of knowledge. I would like to briefly address this in terms of "Individual Choice: Contribution and/or Participation.''

Choosing to contribute to knowledge is no light matter. This is a point that I'd like to amplify upon in a second section, which discusses the literature on "The Meaning of Knowledge." In requiring that we possess knowledge before presuming to add to it, the choice of attempting to contribute suggests that past achievement is important.

In addition, of course, contributions will require future performance. The quality of such future performance -- or lack of same -- depends on one's willingness to work toward the goal. I would like to raise some basic issues here in the third section, entitled "Personal Acceptance of the Responsibilities."

On a personal note, because of the nature of this topic, there is a risk that this topic might seem pretentious and/or presumptuous. I want to begin by saying that I didn't choose this topic without reservations, and am not raising it as if I personally feel especially knowledgeable about it. I think, furthermore, that the real success or failure of this speech will actually depend on each of you, and how willing you are to deal with these issues at a personal level. They are important issues for our field, our Association, and for many of us as individuals.

Individual Choice: Contribution and/or Participation

As its base, the development of knowledge requires that each individual choose whether or not to undertake this effort. With respect to ACR, we should recognize that membership does not necessarily mean contribution to knowledge. For example, I expect that many of you have come to the conference solely for what you might take away from it, either to use in decision making, or because you simply find it to be of personal interest. There is certainly nothing wrong with this; one of our Association's chief purposes is the dissemination of knowledge. On the other hand, we should not equate the roles of receiving knowledge and contributing to knowledge.

There are two key issues that I'd like to raise in this regard. The first issue concerns the motivation to contribute, while the second involves institutional barriers to such contributions. I expect that all of us can appreciate the personal motivations to contribute to knowledge, so will not attempt to delve into this area in any depth (whether this reflects insight or cowardice is not exactly clear to me).

At any rate, there is a book entitled The Cultivated Mind (Hodnett 1963) which bears on the motivation to contribute. I mention this book especially to this audience because Dr. Hodnett served both in academe and in business gaining a background which should allow him to communicate well with almost all of us. His description of the "cultivated mind" seems an especially appropriate summary of why an individual might choose to attempt to contribute to knowledge. In brief, he asserts that the cultivated mind is distinguished by three qualities. It is a mind that is:

Conceptual

Discriminating

Humane

The "conceptual" property refers to a mind that seeks understanding, desires to know, to know why, and is willing to conceptualize and speculate. The "discrimination" characteristic suggests that the cultivated mind is aware of and sensitive to value. The cultivated mind is "humane" in the sense that it is able to move beyond an obsession with self and a pervasive focus on its personal day-to-day affairs. The cultivated mind is thus capable of adopting a serious concern with mankind and the nature of the human existence.

Barriers and Facilitators

While individual motivation is basic to the personal choice to try to contribute to knowledge, it would be inappropriate not to recognize that some substantial barriers presently exist for certain of our members. The most obvious of these are institutional in nature. Most ACR members who work in business or government find themselves in roles which neither provide for, nor reward, attempts to contribute to general knowledge. This is a chronic problem, and well recognized by all of us. I certainly don't have a clear resolution for it, but would urge you to consider ways in which such contributions can be facilitated within the Association's rubric.

For example, I feel that our field is in need of more descriptive research on consumer markets and aggregate behavior. This form of contribution is likely to be readily available within business and government institutions, and would not require much additional effort to transmit to the field. Similarly, persons in business have closer and more specific contact with the actual consumer marketplace and purchasing behavior. This experience can provide a fertile ground for the development of insights into consumer behavior. These insights, while not achieving the rigorous standards of science, could provoke significant research investigations and refinements by others attempting to follow up on them. The Association's role would seem to provide vehicle for the presentation of these types of contributions, and to provide a receptive atmosphere for them. The stimulus, however, still needs to occur at the individual level.

With respect to other forms of barriers, I believe that the academic sector possesses some substantial constraints as well. These, however, are more informal in nature and harder to pin down. I would like to raise them in a later portion of my talk.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ADD TO KNOWLEDGE?

A Shared Heritage and Value Legacy

I mentioned earlier that a personal choice to attempt to contribute to knowledge is not an empty or minor gesture. The first perspective which I encountered in beginning to address the question was a realization that, by opting to assert a goal of "adding to knowledge." we have elected to join the thousands of men and women who have also sought this goal, and who have gone before us. In pursuing the goal, they have provided us with the knowledge which we now have available. In addition, they have passed on insights, philosophies, and warnings about the nature of the quest. It is sobering to realize the nature of the goal, and humbling to appreciate our significance in the larger picture.

The recognition of the others who have gone before us, and of those in other fields who currently share our broader goal, provides a useful perspective, an appropriate humility, and an important source of guidance for approaches to our development of knowledge. Before turning to consumer behavior matters, I would like to briefly share with you some things I've discovered in reading about the development of knowledge.

The Great Disciplines of the Mind: The Keys to Knowledge

In reading about the development of knowledge, it appears that there is a general agreement that certain disciplines are fundamental; additions to knowledge in any area must necessarily depend upon prior knowledge in these basic disciplines. In a sense, this suggests that before we can presume to add to knowledge, we must possess knowledge.

While there is not complete agreement on the exact number of basic disciplines of the mind, the following five receive great support:

Mathematics

Languages

History

Logic

Philosophy

Mathematics is the key to the natural and material sciences; it allows us to comprehend space and time, and to understand the basis of our existence. Language allows us to add human reason, and to communicate and transmit knowledge. History, which in some sense is our repository of knowledge, requires language for its basic material. Logic introduces the principles of reasoning, and employs the elements of language to arrive at new facts and new knowledge.

Philosophy, which can include logic, also transcends the narrow principles to provide us with consideration of norms and ideals for mankind. Within this area, metaphysics, the study of the first principles of being and reality, is perhaps the highest science. Within the melding of logic and philosophy, then, we are able to address the true (logic) and the good (ethics), and thus to approach some significant ideals of mankind. In addition (and beyond this framework) are the aesthetic areas, which aim to enhance our appreciation of the beautiful elements of life. Here are included art, music, and literature.

I think there are two distinct conclusions which derive from even an elementary consideration of these thoughts. First, the store of knowledge which humanity already possesses is awesome. One way to become more familiar with the scope of knowledge, if not with its depths and substance, is to examine the Propaedia of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. This volume wrestles with the question of how to conceptualize and organize "knowledge" in order to be able to summarize and present it in a complete and coherent fashion. In this regard, Mortimer Adler's remarks in that volume are especially illuminating.

The second conclusion that I reached pertains more directly to ACR and our topic today. The consideration of all knowledge places consumer behavior in an appropriate perspective; as a very small part of the puzzle, we should be open to appreciating that more developed areas might provide important insights for us. At the same time, though, it is important to see that we do belong in the puzzle, and this is reassuring. In joining the puzzle, however, we must accept that our additions to knowledge will come from, and depend upon, our mastery of the underlying disciplines or keys to knowledge --the five areas listed above. It thus becomes appropriate for us to ask how well we have mastered these areas.

This is an uncomfortable question to raise. At the individual level, the most troublesome question might well be, "Can I contribute to knowledge if I do not possess mastery of any of the great disciplines?" Subsequent to this, one might inquire, "Can I contribute to knowledge if I am ignorant of several of the great disciplines?"

As a field of study, it would be worthwhile to assess which of these disciplines are relatively more significant for knowledge of consumer behavior, and whether some of the disciplines (philosophy leaps to mind) can be continually overlooked within our field. It is also important that we at least tentatively address the issues of whether sets of specialists, steeped in the application areas of one discipline, offer the most chance for advancing knowledge across the field of consumer behavior.

Trends

More broadly, recent trends are not especially reassuring on these grounds. For example, I recently noticed that only 121 of all college graduates are now matriculating in the traditional humanities areas of history, philosophy, language, literature, and the fine arts. This suggests a dwindling pool of persons available to offer these special forms of perspectives on our work in the future. Conversely, 90% of all scientists and engineers in the history of the world are alive and working today.

On a somewhat different note, the quality level at which the disciplines are being transmitted may be falling -- it is interesting to consider that there is no necessary reason that knowledge must increase over generations. For example, it is disturbing that the College Boards SAT scores, have just been reported to have declined for the 18th consecutive year. Whether we might wish to quarrel with the validity of these scores as predictive devices or not, they do make an effort to tap the level of understanding of three of the five disciplines listed above -- mathematics, language, and logic -- and these measures are falling.

In summary, I have found that reading about knowledge can provide a rich perspective on our field and our efforts. Before rushing to do research, it is reasonable to contemplate what most needs to be done. In addition, it is also reasonable to question our capability in certain areas. We should be willing to examine our training, our education, and our interests, and should be honest in appraising areas of weakness. When we find areas of weakness, moreover, it is appropriate to consider that attempts to build strength in those areas will pay longer term dividends than attempting to proceed as if these deficiencies weren't a problem.

PERSONAL ACCEPTANCE OF THE RESPONSIBILITIES

Not only does the choice to attempt to contribute to knowledge require a strong knowledge base, but it also brings with it a substantial set of responsibilities. Without a willingness to shoulder these, a decision to attempt to contribute to knowledge can be virtually meaningless.

In this regard, I would like to especially recommend The House of Intellect, a book by Professor Jacques Barzun (1959). In it, Professor Barzun delves into the requirements for -- and threats to -- high standards of intellect and contributions to knowledge. It is a powerfully written volume, and certainly does not attempt to please everyone. Because of this, however, it can serve as both an inspirational volume for some of us, and as a hard-line test of our personal willingness to take on the inherent responsibilities.

As to the responsibilities, there are two key types which stand out: effort and standards. With respect to effort, we should recognize that contributing to knowledge is a difficult and demanding task. It is work. At the same time, of course it brings benefits.

It is impossible to discuss effort, however, without also referring to standards, as these will directly affect the way in which effort is expended. As I will discuss shortly, a reallocation of effort is probably more needed than an increase in effort per se. Standards will provide a valuable resource in this reallocation of effort. One way to view this relationship is to recall that the choice to attempt to contribute to knowledge brings with it an implicit agreement to have one's work subjected to external judgments, which are expected to employ rigorous criteria. A most significant accompaniment to the development of scholarship -- and in some sense a measure of such development -- is the internalization of these standards or criteria, so that the contributor practices self-criticism at a high level before inflicting his or her output on the external world.

Standards of Quality

One type of standard relates to the inherent quality level of the work; how accurate, precise, valid, and/or insightful should a contribution have to be? Many persons (myself included) believe that our field suffers from the general acceptance of too low a quality standard. Knowledge is not advanced when a reader or listener must approach an offering with a legitimate skepticism as to its underlying veracity.

I believe that ACR, and our field more generally, would benefit from a consensus judgment that higher quality standards are in order. We should not be willing to adopt the minimal acceptable standards of our sister disciplines, or sister associations, but instead should strive for an absolute level of quality in our contributions.

I noted earlier that the issue of standards interacts closely with the question of effort. Here I feel encouraged that higher quality standards would not necessarily require more effort, although they would likely lead to reallocation of the effort. (This of course depends upon the underlying training and knowledge available to the individual; if this is insufficient to allow quality contributions, then remedial work seems clearly to be needed. Assuming that a reasonable background is available, however, it does seem likely that a reallocation of our effort would be fruitful.)

At present, it seems obvious that much effort is currently being expended fruitlessly, at least in terms of having impact on the body of knowledge in our field. For example, we have again this year failed to make a JCR/ACR Award in recognition of a doctoral dissertation article's contribution to knowledge in consumer behavior. None of us doubts that substantial work and worry was expended on dissertations in this past year, as in every year. Also, I don't doubt that some contributions did occur in each of these efforts. The degree of contribution, however, was viewed again to be insufficient to merit an award. This is beginning to look like a chronic condition, and no one is pleased about it. While some minor adjustments in the process may be called for, it does seem inappropriate for us to lower our criteria in order to make an award; on the contrary, it would seem more appropriate for doctoral candidates and their chairpersons to raise the criteria for doctoral dissertations.

Similarly, the acceptance rate at our major journals runs about fifteen percent each year. This means that six out of seven papers fail to meet minimal requirements for publication. Even allowing for adjustments to this figure to account for multiple submissions, lack of topic match-ups, etc., I am sorry, to see such considerable effort involved in writing a manuscript go to such negative results. Again, wouldn't our field, and we as individuals, be better off if we simply raised the average quality level of our papers? Note that this could be done by lowering the number of papers, and expending more effort on the remaining projects.

As mentioned earlier, this would have to be accompanied by an acceptance and internalization of higher standards for our attempts to contribute to knowledge. The internalization process seems especially important, because often the external standards for publication are not high enough. Acceptance for publication shouldn't be seen as a vindication of our personal standards, nor as the primary purpose of our work. A preferable approach, I think, is for each of us to seriously examine whether we are adding to knowledge, broadly viewed.

Standards of Relevance

This brings me to my second issue under standards, which pertains to the "relevance" of our work. It is interesting to discover that "relevance" has always played an important role as a criterion for directing the pursuit of knowledge. In one sense, in fact, relevance can be viewed as the ultimate purpose of this pursuit.

However, the great thinkers have not chosen to define relevance in as narrow a sense as many of us apparently do. That is, they view relevance as a general measure of the fit or essential appropriateness of a project of the body of knowledge with which it is affiliated. Impact on the body of knowledge is one submeasure, but not the only one. Usefulness for immediate purposes, such as managerial or governmental decision making in our case, is another appropriate measure. Stress on this measure alone, however, can lead to a narrow conception of both the purposes of knowledge and of the most reasonable representations of phenomena within our field of inquiry. This can have deleterious impacts on basic forms of research, and might retard or even eliminate significant breakthroughs and contributions.

My particular concern in this area involves the feeling on the part of many persons in our field that consumer behavior is essentially an engineering discipline. If this position is advanced as a description of the current interests and motivations of most persons in the field, then I accept it as being accurate and appropriate. On the other hand, if this engineering orientation is advanced as a normative requirement or definition of the field of consumer research, I must emphatically disagree. Consumer behavior is an increasingly significant phenomenon in our world; it deserves description and understanding, independent of interests in improving, influencing, or otherwise benefiting from it.

Whatever the resolution to this issue, the more general problem of relevance is an appropriate standard for us to consider as individuals, and as a field. As individuals, this suggests that we should attend carefully to our substantive goals and motivations for each undertaking: What exactly am I attempting to add to knowledge with this undertaking? What questions need to be answered and will this potential project be able to answer them sufficiently well? If not, can it be revised or refined to do so? If not, should a different question be pursued, or should a new undertaking be substituted?

Although it sounds trite, I think that we typically don't spend nearly enough mental effort on exactly these questions. I would point to this deficiency as one of the major causes of rejection rates at our journals and conferences, and as a major reason that persons looking for application help in decision making tend to openly complain about the "irrelevant" work done by academics in our field.

In concluding this discussion of responsibilities, I think that the major implication is that each of us would benefit from a hard, objective assessment of both our willingness to accept the inherent responsibilities, and of the extent to which our preliminary efforts are likely to meet the required levels of quality and meaning of the problem at hand. This is inherently a personal, individual process. It can be greatly assisted, however, if external feedback and/or yardsticks are integrated into that process. By raising our standards as a field, I believe that the individual's decision making in this area would be both enhanced and rewarded.

CONCLUSIONS AND  CLOSING REMARKS

As I indicated at the start, ! hope that the most significant conclusions from this talk will occur at the individual level, in the form of personal contemplation and decisions about our individual roles in the field. I also expect that these conclusions will differ substantially within this group, and I think that this is quite appropriate. Therefore, I am left with only the possibility of forwarding some of my conclusions from a more aggregate, association point of view. I hope that you will accept these in that light.

Really a Small Group

First, I think that if we were to honestly apply the three criteria in this speech -- possessing knowledge, choosing to contribute, and accepting the responsibilities -- to our field as a whole, we would have to conclude that the number of people actively contributing to knowledge is considerably smaller than the number of people affiliated with this area. I would not expect consensus on the underlying knowledge requirements in regard to the five great disciplines of the mind, but certainly this must impair our ability to develop knowledge. Further, it is obvious that a number of us have chosen to participate, but not especially to contribute. This leaves a smaller group who may have tentatively made the choice to attempt contributions.

Insufficient recognition and/or acceptance of the concurrent responsibilities, however, remains a serious barrier to the actual realization of contributions. It is my impression that a number of persons find this barrier inconsistent with their personal motivations, and decide to avoid it. This takes another major cut into the ranks of contributors, leaving us with a fairly small group, especially when contrasted to the wide range of issues in the field of consumer behavior.

ACR Needs More Contributions

I think this point is clear, when we consider how much work remains to be done, and the pace at which we are overcoming areas of ignorance. My comments earlier on the desirability of more contributions from business and government sectors are pertinent here as well.

In addition, there are some closing perspectives I wish to raise regarding the academic sector. I would divide these into two categories.

The first pertains to the "older, established" contributors, most of whom are affiliated with academic institutions. To this group I wish to offer no recommendations. In the spirit of my topic, I wish to pay my respects to you, as you are the people who have brought the field this far along. You know what high standards mean, and you know the effort required to produce contributions to knowledge. I wish only to transmit the message that the field will benefit from your decisions to stay active, to continue to contribute, and to act as role models for others who wish to make contributions.

There are several points I would like to offer for the "younger, not-quite-yet-established" members. First, in evaluating your decisions to decide to contribute to knowledge, please cake the discussions of accepting responsibilities in a most serious way. Many -- and probably most -- persons have not really done this, and most institutional entities in our field do not really require it. As a result, you may find little overt guidance towards internalization of the standards and effort-levels which really ought to be your goals.

Unfortunately, if you adopt what appears to be "accepted" standards, together with diffuse and unexplicated goals, the chances for "success" in academia are sharply curtailed. In addition, but perhaps less obvious, the chances of your making contributions to knowledge drop significantly. For many persons, it appears that this combination of factors leads to a later conception that one is merely "playing a game," and that the deck is stacked against the player. Substantial time, efforts, and emotional costs may then be expended in attempting to outfox the opposition and obtain "another pub" for the resume. If we would step back a bit and abstractly view the needs of our field, we could easily see that this system is misdirected.

In fact, however, the more straightforward system is the better and assuredly more rewarding to pursue. The leaders of our field recognize its need for contributions. The established contributors in the field are able to recognize new contributions, and generally await the appearance of same. Unlike the perceptions that I know that many of you either hold or have heard, this is not an "in-group" association, nor is it a "private club" running the field. In fact, this association was born, as I understand it, in large part to avoid these very characteristics. In short, the field wants to look positively on your work. It needs your work, and it knows it.

As I listen to myself saying this, I realize that it may not be very convincing to you, especially if you already hold the opposite view. Perhaps an example might be useful in this regard, because it strikingly demonstrated to me the field's real receptivity to quality work. One such situation occurred about five years ago at the ACE Conference, in a particularly negative setting. In brief, we had been involved in an all-day special topics session, with a reasonably small group--may-be 30 or 40 people -- with a sincere interest in the subject. By the end of the day, we were hot, tired, and generally in a bad mood. As the papers went on, criticism became more severe. By the time the final paper was scheduled, most of us, I think, were quite ready to get to the football game where we could take out our frustrations. The last thing in the world anyone wanted to hear was a mediocre or bad paper.

Unfortunately, the last speaker had to walk into this situation. He was not a "big name" in the field; to the contrary., he was a young academic, trained at not one of the major prestige universities, and he was just beginning his career. As he started to speak, some of the testier members of the audience began to sound him out on various detailed issues of the topic. If he had failed to deal with these questions adequately, they would have felt comfortable in dismissing the remainder of his effort, and probably appropriately so. I don't know if I have vividly portrayed the whole context, but it surely was a severe test.

However, he stepped up and did a superb job. He handled the questions, sometimes adding additional issues which hadn't been included. He demonstrated an awareness of the key work on the topic, and an interest in improving the conceptualization and research in the area. In short, he gave a fine talk, and made a contribution with it.

My point in relating this episode involves what happened next. As soon as the discussion ended, I watched as leading scholars from three or four of the major institutions in the country walked up and introduced themselves. In the space of a half-hour, he had moved dramatically upward in their evaluations. He later moved to one of the top schools in the nation, where he is now a veteran on the faculty.

The moral of the story is two-fold. First, this didn't happen easily. This man had to be able to meet a relatively rigorous set of standards to be viewed as making a contribution. This had required long hours of work on his part, and a sincere interest in the topic. He had already put in those hours and made that commitment long before arriving at the ACR session. Second, when others recognized the contribution, they were pleasantly surprised, interested in discussing the topic further with him, and wanted to encourage him to continue his work. This is what our field is really about, and I hope that the younger members will recognize it and appreciate it.

Summary: The Goal

In this speech I have ranged over a variety of issues, and have attempted to discuss both pragmatic and abstract questions. I hope that these comments may stimulate some further consideration of "what it means to add to knowledge" by all of us. In closing the substantive portion of this talk, I would like to quote Dr. Barzun, as he summarizes his discussion of the House of Intellect:

"These considerations make only more imperative the safeguard of the master virtues of Intellect. They are, once again: concentration, continuity, articulate precision, and self-awareness. Intellect needs the congregation of talents spurring one another to high achievements by the right degree of proximity and intercourse; it needs the language and the conversation that maintain its unity like a beneficent air; it needs precision to dispel the blinding fogs of folly or stupidity; it needs self-awareness to enjoy its own sport and keep itself from vainglory."

Closing Comment

Given the nature of the topic I chose, it is almost necessary that we be dissatisfied with the level of our work, and with the progress we have made. It would be inappropriate, however, for me to close this talk on that note. Yesterday it was mentioned that ACR grew out of an initial conference at Purdue, then took shape at a subsequent meeting at Ohio State. The shocking fact is that this started only 14 years ago! In this very short period of time, we have come a long way, and can be proud of our progress.

On a personal note, I would like to close by saying that I am truly appreciative that you were willing and saw fit to elect me as a President of ACR. I have enjoyed the chance to serve during this past year, and to have seen firsthand many of the finer elements of the Association and its membership. Thank you very much.

REFERENCES

Barzun, Jacques (1959), The House of Intellect, New York: Harper & Brothers.

Hodnett. Edward (1963), The Cultivated Mind, New York: Harper & Row.

Pratt, Jr., Robert W. (1974), "ACR: A Perspective." In S. Ward and P. L. Wright, eds., Advances in Consumer Research, vol. I, 1-8.

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