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The Beauty of Boundaries: When and Why We Seek Structure in Consumption

  • Keisha M. Cutright
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    How do consumers cope when it seems that they have no control over their outcomes in life? This research posits that consumers will seek greater structure in consumption—or the sense that everything is in its designated place. Moreover, it suggests that very simple boundaries in the environment offer a means for attaining this sense of structure. Several experiments demonstrate that when personal control is threatened, consumers prefer logos, products, and environments that are tangibly or intangibly bounded over those that are unbounded. This research also explores the functional and symbolic benefits that boundaries provide as representations of order and structure.

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    Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Consumer Research.

    Volume (Year): 38 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 5 ()
    Pages: 775 - 790

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    Handle: RePEc:ucp:jconrs:doi:10.1086/661563
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