To Acquire or Not to Acquire?  That is a Question of Ownership Language and Dispositional Greed

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Virginia Tech


Acquisition is a crucial element of consumer behavior. By gaining a deeper understanding of the factors that influence consumers' acquisition of products, marketers and managers can develop more effective marketing strategies, and design products that better align with the needs and desires of their target customers. This dissertation develops two essays that examine key components of consumers' interest to acquisition: (1) the impact of ownership language on product evaluation, and (2) the influence of dispositional greed on the experience of diminishing marginal utility. Essay 1 investigates the impact of ownership language (e.g., this is my car) on prospective buyers' item evaluation. Results show that using ownership language has a negative effect on both tangible and intangible item evaluation. Specifically, using more ownership language raises contamination concerns and leads to decreased item evaluation. Essay 2 focuses on the individual differences in the experience of diminishing marginal utility (DMU), which is an essential component of consumers' interest in acquisition. By examining the relationship between dispositional greed and the experience of DMU, this research provides valuable insights into the motivations and desires that drive consumer behavior. The findings from six studies demonstrate that individuals with higher levels of dispositional greed are less likely to experience DMU and that such a heterogeneous experience of DMU depends on consumption scenarios (i.e., quantity-based vs. non-quantity-based).



Psychological ownership, ownership language, dispositional greed, contamination concerns, diminishing marginal utility, consumer behavior