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Title: Effects of resource scarcity in consumer behavior
Authors: Fan, Linying
Degree: Ph.D.
Issue Date: 2019
Abstract: The reminders of resource scarcity are so pervasive in human lives. From the empty shelf space in the stores, and from their empty wallet to their busy lifestyle, consumers are often surrounded by cues that emphasize the limited nature of resources. Despite its importance and the growing body of knowledge on resource scarcity, only a few theoretical models provide an integrated comprehension of the existing findings and help us understand how and why consumers cope differently with the scarce resources they are facing. And how the salience of resource scarcity causes the motivational consequences in consumptions domain remains underexplored. In order to address these two issues, in this thesis, I first propose a maximization- reallocation- efficientization (MRE) model of scarcity coping to understand how and why consumers may adopt different coping strategies to mitigate resource scarcity. Specifically, I show that resource scarcity results in three consequences: 1) resource maximization (i.e., to increase the available resources possessed by consumers), 2) resource reallocation (i.e., to reallocate the resources possessed by prioritizing more important needs and ignoring trivial desires), or, 3) resource efficientization (i.e., to endure the resources possessed by using it more efficiently). Based on the existing literature review on resource scarcity, I explain why consumers' coping strategies can be determined by three theoretical moderators: self-efficacy perception, implicit theories about self; and the substitutiveness of resources. After that, I examine the two motivational outcomes of resource scarcity in consumers' behaviors, namely, consumers' attitudes toward range offers and consumers' effortful pursuit of reward in independent consumption contexts. First, I demonstrate how and when a feeling of resource scarcity elevates consumers' favorability on a range products or services offer (a marketing offer with two end-points, such as price from HKD100—HKD200). In the four experiments, I exhibit that consumers with a sense of scarcity will activate a relative promotion focus; with this relative promotion focus, they can pay more attention on possible gains than on possible losses and consequently show more favorable attitudes to range offers. In line with this proposed promotion focus account, I demonstrate that the positive effect of scarcity salience on range offers is weakened when consumer suspicion is induced. Second, I provide some novel insights into how the perception of resource scarcity (vs. abundance) might enhance or inhibit consumers' effortful reward pursuit in an independent consumption context. Four studies suggest that situational feelings of resource scarcity induce a need for self-efficacy, thus leading consumers to exert more effort in the reward-seeking process (e.g., manifested as increased task persistence, enhanced performance accuracy, and greater preference for effortful customer reward programs). Consistent with the efficacy-based account, I demonstrate that the positive impact of scarcity salience on effortful reward pursuit is attenuated when rewards are not contingent on effort exertion, when consumers do not believe that greater effort evinces higher self-efficacy, and when consumers' self-efficacy is reassured through self-affirmation. Taken together, these findings contribute to observations about the motivational upside of resource scarcity.
Subjects: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Consumer behavior
Consumption (Economics)
Pages: xii, 108 pages : color illustrations
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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