Journal Must-Reads: Sharon Shavitt, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

This month’s reading list is curated by Sharon Shavitt, Walter H. Stellner Professor of Marketing and Professor in the Department of Psychology and at the Survey Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


How Do Consumers’ Cultural Backgrounds and Values Influence Their Coupon Proneness? A Multi-Method Investigation by Ashok K. Lalwani and Jessie J. Wang, Journal of Consumer Research (free download until August 20, 2019)

“Who is more likely to redeem coupons, people from Western or from Eastern cultural backgrounds? Lalwani and Wang used Nielsen panel data to show that consumers with more interdependent or Eastern (vs. independent and Western) ethnicities were likely to be more coupon prone. The reason is self-regulation. That is, the fact that interdependents tend to be more successful at self-regulation confers a relative advantage to persist through the steps required to redeem coupons. For example, to redeem a coupon a consumer must successfully resist purchasing until they have the coupon. In support of this reasoning, Lalwani and Wang systematically show that Asian- (vs. Caucasian-) Americans, Indians (vs. Americans), and people primed with an interdependent (vs. independent) self-construal are more likely to use coupons because they are generally more persistent at a variety of tasks (e.g., they completed more anagram puzzles).”


Culturally Contingent Cravings: How Holistic Thinking Influences Consumer Responses to Food Appeals by Diogo Hildebrand, R. Dustin Harding, and Rhonda Hadi, Journal of Consumer Psychology (free download until May 20, 2019)

“If consumers with Eastern (vs. Western) ethnicities are more successful at self-regulation, how might you successfully tempt Eastern consumers? Hildebrand and colleagues looked at indulgence and craving among consumers, examining the role of cultural thinking styles. They found that holistic thinking (a context-focused thinking style that is known to characterize Eastern consumers), actually increases the desire for indulgent products when those products are shown in a context that depicts a consumption occasion. For instance, seeing a chocolate bar in an ad depicting a usage occasion (e.g., a movie theatre), compared to a neutral background, increased holistic thinkers’ temptation and literally got them salivating more.”


Stigmatized-identity Cues in Consumer Spaces by Kimberly E. Chaney, Diana T.  Sanchez, and Melanie R. Maimon, Journal of Consumer Psychology (free download until May 20, 2019)

“Firms need to understand how to cultivate an inclusive image among consumers with various ethnic, racial, and gender identities. For better or worse, the signals of inclusion or exclusion that consumers notice can become a part of a company’s brand image. This article, part of a Research Dialogue on stigmatized identities in consumer behavior, offers critical insights for companies on do’s and don’ts. Enriched with examples from Subaru, Nike, Coca-Cola, Mattel, H&M, and others, Chaney, Sanchez, and Maimon describe the broad range of cues that can signal identity safety and those that represent identity threat. A key insight from recent research is that these cue signals can transfer to non-targeted identities, having a broader impact than expected. For instance, a firm that has gender-neutral bathrooms can be more appealing to racial minorities because it signals an inclusive mindset.”


Word of Mouth versus Word of Mouse: Speaking about a Brand Connects You to It More Than Writing Does by Hao Shen and Jaideep Sengupta, Journal of Consumer Research  (free download until August 20, 2019)

“When a firm tries to stimulate positive word of mouth about their brand, does it matter whether that word of mouth is written or spoken? Shen and Sengupta find that, for popular brands, the communication channel can affect how strongly consumers feel bonded to the brand subsequently. Oral communication can strengthen the self-brand connection because it elicits a greater focus on interacting with the recipient. This matters because in these studies, oral (vs. written) WOM led not only to an improved feeling of connection to the brand, but other key outcomes such as a greater willingness to wait for the brand when it is stocked out. These findings suggest that, at least in the case of popular brands, marketers might be well served by actively encouraging consumers to leave spoken rather than typed feedback (e.g., voice comments on Facebook brand pages).”

See all Reading Lists


You must be logged in to leave comments. Please login.



Employees of MSI Member Companies enjoy the benefits of complete online access to content, member conferences and networking with the MSI community.



Qualified academics benefit from a relationship with MSI through access to, conferences and research opportunities.



The public is invited to enjoy partial access to content, a free e-newsletter, selected reports and more.




Learn more about becoming a member of the institute

Read More

Stay Informed

The MSI Mailing List

Subscribe to our email list to stay informed about upcoming events, news, etc.