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All That Glitters Is Not Gold: How Others’ Status Influences the Effect of Power Distance Belief on Status Consumption

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  • Huachao Gao
  • Karen Page Winterich
  • Yinlong Zhang

Abstract

This research proposes the relationship between power distance belief (PDB) and status consumption is moderated by the salience of others and their associated status (others’ status). When others’ status is not superior (similar or inferior), high-PDB consumers are more likely to engage in status consumption than low-PDB consumers. However, when others’ status is superior, high-PDB consumers are less likely to engage in status consumption. Both signaling effectiveness and need for status underlie the effect of PDB on status consumption. Need for status mediates the effect of PDB only when others’ status is not superior, whereas signaling effectiveness mediates the effect of PDB on status consumption when others’ status is superior, similar, or inferior. Compared to low-PDB consumers, high-PDB consumers perceive greater signaling effectiveness when others’ status is inferior or similar, but they perceive less signaling effectiveness, and therefore engage in less status consumption, when others’ status is superior. When status goods are consumed in private, and therefore not effective at signaling status, the interaction of others’ status and PDB is mitigated. This research articulates the nuanced effect of PDB on status consumption depending on others’ status as well as the multiple mechanisms underlying status consumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Huachao Gao & Karen Page Winterich & Yinlong Zhang, 2016. "All That Glitters Is Not Gold: How Others’ Status Influences the Effect of Power Distance Belief on Status Consumption," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(2), pages 265-281.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jconrs:v:43:y:2016:i:2:p:265-281.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/jcr/ucw015
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nailya Ordabayeva & Pierre Chandon, 2011. "Getting Ahead of the Joneses: When Equality Increases Conspicuous Consumption among Bottom-Tier Consumers," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(1), pages 27-41.
    2. Karen Page Winterich & Yinlong Zhang, 2014. "Accepting Inequality Deters Responsibility: How Power Distance Decreases Charitable Behavior," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(2), pages 274-293.
    3. Silvia Bellezza & Francesca Gino & Anat Keinan, 2014. "The Red Sneakers Effect: Inferring Status and Competence from Signals of Nonconformity," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(1), pages 35-54.
    4. Ashok Lalwani, 2009. "The Distinct Influence of Cognitive Busyness and Need for Closure on Cultural Differences in Socially Desirable Responding," Working Papers 0061, College of Business, University of Texas at San Antonio.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Wang, Xuehua & Wang, Xiaoyu & Fang, Xiang & Jiang, Qingyun, 2018. "Power distance belief and brand personality evaluations," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 89-99.
    2. Jain, Shalini Sarin & Jain, Shailendra Pratap, 2018. "Power distance belief and preference for transparency," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 135-142.
    3. Wang, Jessie J. & Torelli, Carlos J. & Lalwani, Ashok K., 2020. "The interactive effect of power distance belief and consumers’ status on preference for national (vs. private-label) brands," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 1-12.
    4. Nabi, Nazia & Siahtiri, Vida & O'Cass, Aron, 2019. "In search of status: Unpacking the relationship of status with individualism-collectivism, counterconformity motivations and life satisfaction," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 378-386.
    5. Lee, Saerom & Bolton, Lisa E., 2020. "Mixed signals? Decoding luxury consumption in the workplace," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 331-345.
    6. Shir-Way Siew & Michael S. Minor & Reto Felix, 2018. "The influence of perceived strength of brand origin on willingness to pay more for luxury goods," Journal of Brand Management, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 25(6), pages 591-605, November.

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