Why friends pay more: An alternative explanation based on self-expansion motives

Yan Kou1, Samart Powpaka2
1School of Management and Economics, Southwest Jiaotong University, People’s Republic of China
2Department of Marketing, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, People’s Republic of China
Cite this article:  Kou, Y., & Powpaka, S. (2017). Why friends pay more: An alternative explanation based on self-expansion motives. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 45(9), 1537-1552.

Volume 45 Issue 9 | e6534 | Published: October 2017 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.6534

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Using the self-expansion model as a theoretical basis, we examined how friendship can benefit a business while avoiding the conflicts that are predicted in the relationship-norm framework. We proposed that engaging in self-expansion would automatically motivate a customer to take psychological ownership of the product, promote favorable attitudes toward the seller, and increase product knowledge, thereby affecting the customer’s perceived product quality and subsequent product valuation. Empirical results from 266 respondents who were customers at 193 restaurants supported most of our hypotheses. Mediation analysis indicated that the relationship between friendship and product valuation was jointly mediated by psychological ownership and attitudes toward the seller; however, the mediating role of product knowledge was not supported, which suggests that in the context of friendship, judgments about products are based more on the friend than on the product itself. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

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