The Impact of Diversity and Social Cues on Consumer Judgments
Doctor of Philosophy
Essay 1: How Familial Cues Impact Judgments of Competence Service providers and product manufacturers alike often use familial cues in their narratives, such as highlighting that they have pursued the same profession as their parent. Such cues are prominent in medical, financial, educational, and maintenance services, handmade products (e.g., furniture), and consumable goods (e.g., juice, snacks, baby products). This research demonstrates that familial cues shape judgments of the service provider’s competence, and that perceived engagement in a career or profession mediates the effect of familial cues on consumer judgments. In understanding this relationship more deeply, we identify boundary conditions where the cue is less effective or ineffective, and test for and eliminate alternative explanations such as intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, and perceived natural ability. Essay 2: How Diversity Impacts Judgments of Morality This research investigates how the racial, gender, and nationality diversity of a team representing a firm influences perceptions of moral traits and immoral behavior. Our main proposition is that diverse teams are perceived to be more moral and less likely to engage in immoral behaviors as compared to homogeneous teams because they are perceived to have be exposed to broader perspectives. Members of diverse teams are consequently inferred to incorporate more perspectives in their decision making, and engage in perspective taking. Therefore, diverse teams are likely to self-regulate and exercise restraint in actions detrimental to consumers. Essay 3: How Spouse’s Attractiveness Impact Judgments of Morality People form judgments about others based on their appearance, but how do judges form impressions of people based on the people they choose to spend their time with, especially their spouses? This research investigates the effect of spouse’s attractiveness on the perceived morality of a focal person, as well as credibility of the firm represented by the focal person. We propose that when a man is married to a less-attractive woman, their relationship will appear to be stronger because of its communal nature (as opposed to an exchange relationship) based in a common value of morality traits. This association is attenuated when the focal person is female and when the judges are male.