Antecedents and consequences of consumer envy

Date

2014

Authors

Goss, Robert Justin

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Abstract

Envy is a universal emotion. This research investigated the impact that status hierarchies within brand communities have on the occurrence of Envy. Across four experiments, I examined the antecedents and consequences of Malicious and Benign Envy as well as their effect on members of brand communities. Specific attention was paid to Self-Brand Connection (SBC), Deservingness, and Schadenfreude. Findings from Experiment 1 showed that Deservingness affects feelings of both Malicious and Benign Envy. Results indicated that participants showed Benign Envy toward a higher status target who is deemed worthy of good fortune. However, if the higher status member of the brand community is deemed unworthy of the good fortune, participants experienced Malicious Envy toward that person. In Experiment 2, Deservingness and SBC were manipulated to investigate their effects on the emotional presence of Malicious and Benign Envy. For Malicious Envy, the impact of the source of the car was greater for High SBC than for Low SBC Participants. In Experiment 3, level of brand ownership, within the luxury brand hierarchy, was manipulated to investigate how level of ownership affected feelings of Malicious and Benign Envy. Results indicated that more Benign Envy was felt for those who deserved/earned their car than for those who were gifted their car. In Experiment 4, a product failure manipulation was added to investigate under what circumstances feelings of Malicious and Benign Envy transmute into Schadenfreude. Practical implications and future directions are discussed.

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Keywords

Envy, Schadenfreude, Self Brand Connection, Social Comparison Theory

Citation

Department

Marketing