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ISSN : 1598-7248 (Print)
ISSN : 2234-6473 (Online)
Industrial Engineering & Management Systems Vol.17 No.2 pp.341-349
DOI : https://doi.org/10.7232/iems.2018.17.2.341

Effects of Four Self-Congruity Dimensions on the Evaluation of Newspaper Brands as Inconspicuous Products

Ji-Hern Kim*
School of Business, Sejong University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Corresponding Author, E-mail: jihern@sejong.ac.kr
March 16, 2018 April 2, 2018 April 16, 2018

ABSTRACT


This research conducts an experiment with 413 samples to show that four self-congruity dimensions have positive effects on the evaluation of newspaper brands as inconspicuous products. Unlike past research on self-congruity with conspicuous products, this research uses an inconspicuous product as an experimental stimulus. Then it reveals that nonsocial-type self-congruity dimensions (i.e., actual and ideal self-congruity) have an impact on brand evaluation as much as social-type self-congruity dimensions (i.e., social and ideal social self-congruity) even when interdependent self-construal is dominant. Furthermore, the relative importance of nonsocial-type self-congruity dimensions (vs. social-type self-congruity dimensions) is more clearly revealed when the response mode of brand evaluation is brand attitude than purchase intention.



초록


    1. INTRODUCTION

    Consumers choose newspapers not only based on the quality of content but also based on unique symbolic images that a newspaper brand has (e.g., progressive vs. conservative) (Fichter and Jonas, 2008). Especially, young newspaper readers tend to focus more on the symbolic benefits of a newspaper as compared with functional benefits (Koo, 2005). However, the importance of symbolic benefits in newspaper consumption has not been emphasized by consumer researchers.

    The effect of symbolic benefits on newspaper consumption can be explained with the self-congruity theory. Self-congruity (SC) is known as one of the most important constructs in explaining how symbolic benefits of a brand can affect consumer behaviors (Kim, 2015). It refers to the degree of congruence between consumers’ selfconcept and typical brand-user image (Sirgy, 1982). Since self-concept is a multidimensional construct that consists of actual, ideal, social, and ideal social self, SC also has four corresponding dimensions such as actual SC, ideal SC, social SC, and ideal social SC (Kumar, 2016). The core concept of SC theory is that the higher SC, the more positive brand evaluation is (Aguirre-Rodriguez et al., 2012). Extant research has revealed that the four dimensions of SC have a positive impact on brand evaluation, such as brand attitude, purchase intention, brand preference and brand loyalty in a variety of areas, for instance, retailing, tourism, advertising, and housing (Boksberger et al., 2011; Branaghan and Hildebrand, 2011; Jeong and Jang, 2016; Sirgy et al., 2005; Yim et al., 2007). However, it is hard to find research that investigates how the four SC dimensions affect the evaluation of newspaper brands.

    Meanwhile, past research has examined the relative magnitude of effects that the four SC dimensions have on brand evaluation. Based on a literature review regarding

    the effects of SC, Sirgy (1982) concluded that nonsocialtypes of SC dimensions (i.e., actual and ideal SC) have a stronger impact on brand evaluation than social-types of SC dimensions (i.e., social and ideal social SC). This induced many SC researchers to focus mainly on actual and ideal SC dimensions, and disregard social and ideal social SC dimensions (Kim, 2015). However, the relative importance of nonsocial-types of SC was found to come from sampling bias (Kim and Hyun, 2013). Specifically, past research had not considered cultural factors such as selfconstrual. Self-construal involves a particular way of interpreting the self, and it can be classified into two types: independent self-construal and interdependent self-construal (Markus and Kitayama, 1991). Consumers with dominant interdependent self-construal are rampant in collectivistic culture such as East Asian cultures (Kim and Malek, 2017). They put a high value on harmony and relationship with others (Oyserman and Lee, 2008). Conversely, consumers with dominant independent self-construal are prevalent in individualistic cultures such as in North America. They emphasize differentiation and separateness from others (Aaker and Schmitt, 2001). Therefore, for consumers with dominant interdependent self-construal, social-type SC effects are greater than nonsocial-type SC effects. The reverse is true for those with dominant independent selfconstrual.

    Past research on SC has been mainly conducted with samples from individualistic cultures, and thus Sirgy’s (1982) argument was valid. However, self-construal moderates the relative importance of the four SC dimensions in explaining a consumer behavior. It does not matter that self-construal is chronic or situational (Litvin and Kar, 2003; Liu et al., 2010; Sung and Choi, 2012). Specifically, when the independent self-construal was temporarily dominant through situational priming, nonsocial-type SC dimensions had greater impact on purchase intention than social-type SC dimensions (Kim and Hyun, 2013). The reverse was true when interdependent self-construal was primed.

    However, these results cannot be directly applicable for understanding newspaper consumption because past research conducted experiments with only publicly consumed products (i.e., conspicuous products) such as casual wear or athletic shoes. Newspapers tend to be consumed privately. In particular, young consumers are more likely to read online newspapers through their smartphones than printed newspapers (Lee and Yoon, 2008). This indicates that newspapers can be an inconspicuous product even in a crowded place. It is noteworthy that inconspicuous products hardly reflect social value in collectivistic cultures (Zhang and Gelb, 1996). Accordingly, regardless of self-construal, nonsocial-type SC dimensions may have a stronger effect on the evaluation of a newspaper brand than social-type SC dimensions. This plausibility needs to be empirically tested.

    Meanwhile, the relative magnitude of four SC effects may change depending on the response mode of brand evaluations (Sirgy et al., 2000). The response mode can be classified into two types of decisions: the preferencetype decision (e.g., brand attitude) and the choice-type decision (e.g., purchase intention). Although extant research argues that the enhancement-type SC (i.e., ideal and ideal social SC) has stronger impact on the preference- type decision than the choice-type decision and the reverse is true for the consistency-type SC (i.e., actual and social SC), results are mixed according to the product type (Kim, 2015). Therefore, the moderating effect of response mode on SC effects needs to be examined in the context of newspaper consumption.

    Given the discussion above, this research is conducted with three main objectives. First, it aims to examine whether each of the four SC dimensions have a positive effect on the evaluation of a newspaper brand. The second objective is to analyze the relative importance of the four SC dimensions in evaluating a newspaper brand as an inconspicuous product. Then, the findings will be compared with the results of extant research on conspicuous products. Finally, it seeks to examine how the response mode of brand evaluations influences the four SC effects.

    2. CONCEPTUAL BACKGROUND AND HYPOTHESES DEVELOPMENT

    2.1. Self-Congruity (SC)

    The core concept of self-congruity theory is that consumers prefer a brand which has images congruent with their self-concept. Specifically, the greater degree of congruence between self-concept and a typical branduser’s image, the more positive the brand evaluation is (Sirgy et al., 1991; Graeff, 1996). The positive influence of SC dimensions on brand evaluation is called the “selfcongruity effect.” Since consumers’ self-concept consists of four dimensions such as actual self, ideal self, social self and ideal social self, four corresponding types of SC effects (i.e., actual, ideal, social, and ideal social SC) have been proposed and compared in SC research (Sirgy, 1982). The four SC effects arise from four different types of selfexpression motives (Kim, 2015). Actual SC effect stems from a self-consistency motive which involves the tendency to behave in a way to protect an individual’s present self-image. Next, the ideal SC effect is related to self-esteem motives which is concerned with the tendency to boost self-esteem by seeking an individual’s ideal states. These two SC effects are not associated with social factors and then they are called nonsocial-type SC effects. On the other hand, the social SC effect arises from a social consistency motive which refers to the inclination to maintain the social image perceived by others. The ideal social SC effect is related to social approval motives which involves the tendency to do something for others’ approval. These two SC effects are highly associated with social factors regarding how others think of an individual and thus they are called social-type SC effects.

    Although the four SC effects have been examined in a variety of areas, most research has mainly focused on conspicuous products rather than inconspicuous products (Kim and Hyun, 2013). Product conspicuousness refers to whether a product is publicly consumed in the presence of others (a conspicuous product) or privately consumed (an inconspicuous product) (Graeff, 1996). For inconspicuous products, consumers cannot obtain symbolic benefits for their self-expression as much as for conspicuous products (Correia et al., 2016; Park et al., 1986). Accordingly, some of inconspicuous products may not be appropriate for SC research.

    Specifically, Ross (1971) mentioned that commodities such as detergent or canned food are not appropriate for investigating the effect of product conspicuousness on SC effects owing to the scarcity of symbolic image. On the other hand, he argued that magazine brands are inconspicuous but have enough symbolic image to induce SC effects. Since a newspaper is similar to a magazine in that it is not a commodity but media, four SC dimensions would have a positive effect on brand evaluation. This is in line with the finding of extant research that newspaper readers tend to put a bigger emphasis on symbolic benefit of a newspaper than functional benefit (Koo, 2005). This leads to the following hypothesis 1.

    • H1: For newspaper brands, the four self-congruity dimensions would have a positive impact on brand evaluation.

    2.2. Relationship among SC Effects, Product Conspicuousness and Self-Construal

    The relative magnitude of the four SC effects can change depending on product conspicuousness. Past research divided the four SC dimensions into two groups: enhancement-type SC dimensions (i.e., ideal and ideal social SC) and consistency-type SC dimensions (i.e., actual and social SC). Then it was argued that for conspicuous products enhancement-type SC dimensions have greater impact on brand evaluation than consistency-type SC dimensions (Sirgy, 1982). The opposite is true for inconspicuous products. However, the logic of this argument is not developed based on a theoretical framework (Kim, 2015). Moreover, the results of previous research were mixed. Recent research classified the four SC dimensions into different two groups: social-type SC dimensions (social and ideal social SC) and nonsocial-type SC dimensions (actual and ideal SC). Then, it was argued that there would be an interaction effect between selfconstrual and product conspicuousness on the four SC effects (Kim and Hyun, 2013; Sirgy and Su, 2000). Specifically, social-type SC effects would be greater than nonsocial-type SC effects when consumers have a dominant interdependent self-construal. On the other hand, nonsocial-type SC effects would be greater than socialtype SC effects when consumers have a dominant independent self-construal.

    This difference would exist only for conspicuous products but not for inconspicuous products. For inconspicuous products, nonsocial-type SC effects would be greater than social-type SC effects regardless of the type of self-construal. Although this argument is not empirically tested yet, it is based on logical reasoning (Kim, 2015). Consumers’ intention to follow cultural values and comply with social norms might vary as a function of product conspicuousness (Correia et al., 2016). Unlike conspicuous products, inconspicuous products hardly reflect social norms and values (Zhang and Gelb, 1996). Accordingly, there is no public image to be monitored when consumers buy and use inconspicuous products (Bearden and Etzel, 1982; Graeff, 1996). In the same vein, Fisher and Price (1992) showed that consumers tend to put high value on social approval when they are early adopters of a conspicuous new product. Given that the social-type SC dimensions are highly related to social factors, for a newspaper as an inconspicuous product, the nonsocialtype SC effects would be stronger than the social-type SC effects irrespective of self-construal. This leads to the following hypothesis 2.

    • H2: Without respect to self-construal, actual and ideal SC (i.e., nonsocial-type SC) would have stronger impact on the evaluation of a newspaper brand than social and ideal social SC (i.e., social-type SC).

    2.3. The Relationship between the Four SC Effects and Response Mode of Brand Evaluations

    The relative magnitude of the four SC effects may be influenced by the response mode of brand evaluations (Kim, 2015). There are two different types of response modes with regard to SC effects: the preference-type decision (e.g., brand attitude) and the choice-type decision (e.g., purchase intention). Sirgy (1987) argued that enhancement- type SC dimensions such as ideal and ideal social SC dimensions would have stronger impact on the preference-type decision than the choice-type decision. The opposite would hold for the consistency-type SC dimensions such as actual and social SC dimensions. However, results were mixed and no plausible explanations were provided (Kim, 2015). This may stem from the wrong classification of the four SC dimensions (enhancement-type SC vs. consistency-type SC). The four SC dimensions should be divided into non-social type SC and social-type SC for investigating the effect of response mode on the relative importance of the four SC dimensions.

    According to the theory of reasoned action (TRA), the purchase intention (or behavioral intention) is determined by the brand attitude and subjective norm (Ajzen and Fishbein, 1980). The subjective norm involves a social pressure which concerns social-type SC dimensions. This indicates that the social and ideal social SC dimensions would have more influence on purchase intention than on brand attitude, whereas the actual and ideal SC dimensions have more impact on brand attitude than on purchase intention. Therefore, for inconspicuous products, the relative importance of nonsocial-type SC dimensions (vs. social-type SC dimensions) is expected to be revealed more clearly on brand attitude than purchase intention. This leads to the following hypothesis 3.

    • H3: For a newspaper brand, the relative importance of actual and ideal SC (vs. social and ideal social SC) is expected to be revealed more clearly on brand attitude than purchase intention.

    3. EXPERIMENT

    3.1. Method

    Pretest: To select appropriate stimuli brands, 18 Korean undergraduate students participated in the pretest. “Hankyoreh” and “Chosun” were selected as a focal brand and a referent brand,1 respectively. The two newspaper brands were evaluated in brand familiarity and clearness of typical brand-user images (Kim and Hyun, 2013). They were measured on a seven-point scale (1 = strongly disagree, 7 = strongly agree). The two brands had high familiarity (MHan = 5.61, MCho = 5.61) and clear reader images (MHan = 5.67, MCho = 5.56). In Korea, Hankyoreh is known as one of the most progressive newspapers while Chosun is known as one of the most conservative newspapers (Koo, 2005). The similarity of the two brand-users images was measured with an item on a seven- point scale (1 = not similar at all, 7 = very similar), the score was less than moderate (M = 3.47). Accordingly, the two brands were found to be appropriate for experimental stimuli.

    Participants, design, and procedure: A total of 432 Korean undergraduate students participated in the main experiment, and elimination of incomplete responses left 413 (female = 206) eligible for analysis. A4 (four SC dimensions: actual, ideal, social, and ideal social SC) x 2 (priming self-construal: independent vs. interdependent) between-subjects design was used and thus participants were randomly assigned to one of eight groups. This is in line with Helgeson and Supphellen’s (2004) argument that between-subjects design should be used for comparison of difference among SC effects because withinsubjects design is likely to cause a strong carryover effect to reduce the possibility of detecting differences among the four SC effects. The carryover effect was found in Kim and Hyun’s (2013) pretest.

    Self-construal was primed with a method of combining a story-imagination task with a pronoun-circling task that was developed by Kim and Hyun’s (2013). Specifically, for priming interdependent (independent) self-construal, participants were asked to read stories about a double (single) tennis championship match. Then, they were instructed to circle and count 17 pronouns and fill in the blanks with the number of circles. For priming interdependent (independent) self-construal, pronouns such as “we (I)”, “us (me)”, “our (my)” were used in the scenario. Subsequently, participants were required to answer six questions adapted from Aaker and Lee (2001) for manipulation check of priming self-construal. Three items were used to measure how much participants thought about themselves (i.e., independent self-construal) when they read the scenario. The remaining three items were used to measure how much participants thought about others (i.e., interdependent selfconstrual) when they read the scenario. Each of Cronbach’s coefficient alphas was 0.96 and 0.95. Next, the four SC dimensions, brand attitude, and purchase intention were measured in order. For the manipulation check of product conspicuousness, participants were asked to answer one item on a seven-point bipolar scale about the extent to which a newspaper is publicly consumed (1 = only privately consumed, 7 = only publicly consumed) (Graeff, 1996). Demographic questions were asked last. After all participants completed the questionnaire, the purpose of this research was debriefed.

    Measures: Past research has used two approaches for measuring SC dimensions: indirect method and direct method (Kim, 2015). Indirect method refers to assessing SC dimensions by measuring self-image and typical brand-users images separately and calculating the discrepancy between them. On the other hand, direct method involves measuring SC by directly asking how much a consumer’s self-image is congruent with typical brandusers images. Sirgy et al. (1997) argued that direct method should be used because the indirect method induces critical methodological problems such as measuring incongruence rather than congruence and use of compensatory decision rule. Accordingly, this research employed direct method for measuring four SC dimensions.

    As presented in Table 1, each of the four SC dimensions was measured with three items adapted from Kim and Hyun (2013). Participants were instructed to make judgments about Hankyoreh over Chosun, because participants may have difficulties in answering the direct SC questions if a referent product is not provided (Sirgy et al., 1997). Cronbach’s alphas for three-item scale ranged from 0.88 to 0.92 across the four SC dimensions. Two types of response mode (i.e., brand attitude and purchase intention) were measured with four items respectively, adapted from Gill et al. (1988). Brand attitude was measured with four items on seven-point bipolar scales (dislike- like, unfavorable-favorable, worthless-valuable, badgood). Cronbach’s alpha for four-item scale was 0.82. Purchase intention was measured by: “If you decided to buy a newspaper today, how likely do you feel that you would buy Hankyoreh over Chosun.” Four items were measured on seven-point scales (unlikely-likely, improbable- probable, impossible-possible, nonexistent-existent). Cronbach’s alpha for four-item scale was 0.94.

    3.2. Results

    The result of manipulation check on product conspicuousness showed that a newspaper is an inconspicuous product (M = 3.34, S.D = 1.34). The mean scores of product conspicuousness were not statistically different among the eight groups (F(7, 405) = 0.57, p = 0.78). The manipulation of priming self-construal was also found to be successful. In independent-priming condition, participants thought more about themselves than others (Mself = 5.72 vs. Mothers = 2.09; t(204) = 43.78, p < 0.01). On the other hand, in interdependent-priming condition, participants thought more about others than themselves (Mself = 2.42 vs. Mothers = 5.37; t(207) = -37.70, p < 0.01). The averages of items to measure four SC dimensions, brand attitude, and purchase intention were computed respectively. Extant SC research on conspicuous product has used correlation analysis to examine the effects of four SC dimensions on brand attitude and purchase intention (Graeff, 1996; Helgeson and Supphellen, 2004; Hong and Zinkhan, 1995; Kim and Hyun, 2013; Litvin and Kar, 2003; Quester et al., 2000). To compare their results with the findings of this research on an inconspicuous product, four SC effects were measured by assessing the correlation coefficients between four SC dimensions, and brand attitude and purchase intention.

    As presented in Table 2, all four SC dimensions had positive effects on brand attitude and purchase intention, which indicates that hypothesis 1 was supported. To analyze the difference between social-type SC effects and nonsocial-type effects, the four SC dimensions were classified into two subgroups: consistency-type SC (actual and social SC) and enhancement-type SC (ideal and ideal social SC). Then, the relative magnitude of SC effects was compared in each subgroup, which is the same with Kim and Hyun (2013). In independent-priming condition, actual SC had more impact on brand attitude (rASC = 0.64 vs. rSSC = = 0.36) and purchase intention (rASC = 0.58 vs. rSSC = = 0.35) than social SC while ideal SC had more effect on brand attitude (rISC = 0.75 vs. rISSC = 0.42) and purchase intention (rISC = 0.73 vs. rISSC = 0.42) than ideal social SC. The differences between actual SC effects and social SC effects were slightly greater on brand attitude (BA) than on purchase intention (PI) (DBA = 0.28 vs. DPI = 0.23). Also, the differences between ideal SC effects and ideal social SC effects were slightly greater on brand attitude than on purchase intention (DBA = 0.33 vs. DPI = 0.31). In summary, for independent-priming condition, nonsocial-type SC effects were stronger than social-type SC effects. Moreover, the relative importance of nonsocial- type SC effects was revealed more clearly when the response mode was brand attitude (vs. purchase intention). These findings are consistent with the hypotheses 2 and 3.

    In interdependent-priming condition, ideal SC effect was strongest, followed by actual SC effect, social SC effect, and ideal social SC effect. The order was the same regardless of whether response mode was brand attitude or purchase intention. This indicates that nonsocial-type SC effect was greater than social-type SC effect. Moreover, the differences between actual SC effects and social SC effects were greater on brand attitude than on purchase intention (DBA = 0.03 vs. DPI = 0.01). Also, the differences between ideal SC effects and ideal social SC effects were greater on brand attitude than on purchase intention (DBA = 0.22 vs. DPI = 0.17). Therefore, the hypotheses 2 and 3 were supported.

    4. CONCLUSION

    4.1. Theoretical and Managerial Implications

    The extant SC research has mainly focused on the effects of nonsocial-type SC dimensions (i.e., actual and ideal SC) on brand evaluations such as brand attitude and purchase intention because they have received stronger empirical support than social-type SC dimensions (i.e., social and ideal social SC) (Sirgy, 1982). However, recent research showed that the results arise from the bias of selecting samples from individualistic cultures which foster independent self-construal (Kim, 2015). Specifically, in case of consumers with dominant interdependent self-construal, social-type SC effects are greater than nonsocial- type SC effects. However, the findings can be applied to the only conspicuous products.

    Unlike the extant research, this research uses inconspicuous products as stimuli. Then it shows that nonsocialtype SC effects are stronger than social-type SC effects when independent self-construal is dominant. More importantly, it reveals that nonsocial-type SC effects are stronger than social-type SC effects even when interdependent selfconstrual is dominant. This result is not consistent with Kim and Hyun’s (2013) finding that social-type SC effects are stronger than nonsocial-type SC effects when dominant self-construal is interdependent. Accordingly, this research shows the importance of nonsocial-type SC dimensions by setting a boundary condition where social-type SC dimensions have stronger effect on brand evaluations than nonsocial- type SC dimensions.

    Furthermore, this research suggests an adequate framework to explain the impact of the response mode of brand evaluations on the four SC effects. Although the impact of the response mode on SC effects has also been proposed in the extant research, the results have not been generalized across studies (Kim, 2015). Moreover, extant frameworks hardly explain the finding of this research that the relative importance of nonsocial-type SC dimensions is revealed more clearly on brand attitude than purchase intention. For example, Sirgy (1982) and Sirgy et al. (2000) proposed that consistency-type SC dimensions (the actual and social SC) are more related to choice-type decision (i.e., purchase intention) than to preference-type decision (i.e., brand attitude), whereas enhancement-type SC dimensions (ideal and ideal social SC) are more related to preference-type decision than to choice-type decision. However, those patterns were not found in this research. In contrast, our explanation by TRA was found to be appropriate in interpreting the result that the relative importance of actual and ideal SC dimensions (vs. social and ideal social SC dimensions) was more clearly revealed when the response mode of brand evaluation is brand attitude than purchase intention.

    The findings of this research also provide marketers for inconspicuous products with practical implications for devising effective marketing communications. First of all, for some inconspicuous products, consumers’ self-expression motives are still important in their decision- making process. Especially, when difference of functional quality among brands is hardly distinguishable, marketers need to focus more on the persuasive appeals to stimulate symbolic benefits.

    Second, marketers for inconspicuous products rarely have to consider cultural differences in devising communication strategies. They can focus on developing an advertisement using persuasive messages to stimulate selfconsistency and self-esteem motives rather than socialconsistency and social-approval motives both in collectivistic cultures and individualistic cultures. It is because actual and ideal SC effects arise from self-consistency and selfesteem motives, respectively, while social and ideal social SC effects are induced by social-consistency and socialapproval motives, respectively (Aguirre-Rodriguez et al., 2012). This indicates that localization of marketing communication such as advertising is not important for inconspicuous products as much as for conspicuous products.

    4.2. Limitations and Future Research

    First, the findings of this research should not be generalized without a caution because a limited inconspicuous product (i.e., newspaper) was employed as an experimental stimulus. In addition, the sample of this research was restricted to Korean undergraduate students in a collectivistic culture although a different situational selfconstrual was temporarily primed. To increase external validity, future research needs to replicate this research with different inconspicuous products and samples with different chronic self-construal.

    Second, it may be an important limitation that this research did not consider the difference in choosing newspapers brands between online readers and offline readers. For example, most of Korean undergraduate students may read online news rather than offline news. Especially, social media (e.g., Facebook) became the most popular service for getting news and sharing them with acquaintances (Zúñiga et al., 2012). This indicates that although newspapers are inconspicuous products, online readers have many opportunities of self-expression that offline readers hardly have. Accordingly, future research needs to analyze how the difference in newspapers consumption between online and offline readers affects four SC effects. Furthermore, this research investigates the effects of four SC dimensions on purchase intention, but it may not reflect reality of newspaper consumption well. Recent online readers tend to read a newspaper for free (under the condition of watching advertisements) rather than buy or subscribe it. Purchase intention may not be a good proxy indicator of purchase behavior. Instead, “sharing through social media” can be a better dependent variable reflecting consumers’ motivation to express their self-image. Therefore, the findings of this research about the moderating effect of response mode on SC effects need to be interpreted with a caution.

    Third, this research compared four SC effects in two different priming conditions (i.e., independent and interdependent priming conditions). The comparison between two differently primed conditions has been often used in past research, but for more robust conclusion, controlled group without priming needs to be considered in an experimental design.

    Fourth, this research employed between-subjects design for investigating four SC effects on the evaluation of inconspicuous products. Past research regarding conspicuous products used the same design and thus it can help to compare the findings of this research with those of past research. However, some research (e.g., Kim and Hyun, 2013) employed within-subjects design and conducted multiple regression analysis. Therefore, future research needs to replicate this study with different experimental design and statistical analysis.

    Finally, this research considers only two types of self-concept (independent self and interdependent self) and shows that importance of actual and social SC dimensions is not different depending on the type of selfconstrual. However, the type of self-concept may be classified into three types: personal, relational and collective self-concept (Brewer and Gardner, 1996). Especially, the difference between relational self-concept and collective self-concept should be distinguished and thus different priming methods could be employed. Specifically, the relational self-concept can be accessible by priming associations with close interpersonal relationships with significant others while collective self-concept can be accessible by priming associations with membership in large social groups. Therefore, future studies need to examine comprehensively the influence of three different types of priming tasks on the four SC effects.

    Figure

    Table

    Operational measures and scale reliability values for four SC dimensions

    Correlations coefficients between four self-congruity, brand attitude and purchase intention

    Note: SC = Self-Congruity, ASC = Actual Self-Congruity, ISC = Ideal Self-Congruity, SSC = Social Self-Congruity, ISSC = Ideal Social Self-Congruity, *<i>p</i>< .05, **<i>p</i>< .01. The sizes of the samples are presented in parentheses

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