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Believe it or not, gift giving is really a complex social and psychological phenomenon. Remember the movie "The Family Stone," when the uptight Manhattan executive Meredith Morton, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, is finally embraced by the Stone family after she nails the Christmas gift? It gets more complicated. In new research, Marketing Professor Morgan Ward of SMU Cox and co-author Susan Broniarczyk show that gift-givers experience discomfort when they choose a gift that matches the identity of the recipient but is contrary to their own. A potential retailer's boon, gift-givers then compensate to re-establish their identity and may choose products that express their own identity on the next product choice.
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