Copyfrom：Dept. of Marketing Time：2019-11-01
Theme：Easy to Justify Your Want Choice: Comparing the Influence of a Social Norm and an Individual Example
Speaker：Zheshuai Yang (National University of Singapore)
Address：Room 706, Mingde Business Building
Past research on social influence finds supportive evidence that, keeping other factors unchanged, a social norm would be more influential than an individual example. The current research advances our understanding by showing that whether the aforementioned argument is true depends on whether the social influence promotes a “want” behavior or a “should” behavior. Five experiments showed that an individual example can be as influential as a social norm in affecting “want” behaviors such as downloading pirated music for free, but is less influential than a social norm in affecting “should” behaviors such as buying authentic music. We further demonstrated that our finding is due to the ease with which other’s want behaviors are adopted as self-serving justifications. When a social influence promotes a want behavior, a single example provides sufficient excuse for a decision maker to follow suit; when a social influence advocates a should behavior, a stronger influence is needed for people to forgo their existing “want” preference and a norm is thus more influential than an individual example. The differences in the power of social norm vs. individual example offer another reason of why people so easily fall victim of their internal “wants”.
Zheshuai Yang is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Marketing at NUS Business School, National University of Singapore. His research can be categorized into two main streams: one examines how social and cognitive factors, such as social power and consumer creativity, affect prosocial behavior. In the second stream, he studies how framing a business entity as a person (vs. an organization) affects consumers’ purchase behavior. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Marketing from the Renmin University of China. Several of Zheshuai’s papers have received revision invitations from the Journal of Consumer Research and Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
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