James W. Gentry
Date of this Version
Gupta, Aditya (2019), "Meaningful Consumption: A Eudaimonic Perspective on the Consumer Pursuit of Happiness and Well-Being," Dissertation.
Prior research indicates that consumers often pursue happiness through the market and that their purchase choices can vary depending on how they define happiness. However, while prior research has tended to use a hedonic lens to frame happiness in terms of pleasure, the current investigation is one of the first to use a eudaimonic lens to frame happiness in terms of personal meaning or meaningfulness. The central goal of this dissertation, therefore, is to arrive at a stronger understanding of eudaimonic consumption. In this regard, findings from six experimental studies reveal that eudaimonic consumption differs from hedonic consumption on a variety of cognitive, affective, and behavioral factors. In conjunction with these findings, depth interviews conducted with a diverse sample of respondents help uncover a complex experience underlying eudaimonic consumption that is theorized to consist of three central processes: rejuvenation, expansion, and consolidation. Collectively, the results from this mixed-methods research design illustrate the usefulness of applying a eudaimonic perspective to marketing theory and practice. Specifically, such a eudaimonic lens broadens the disciplinary scope to include aspects that make consumption meaningful, enables a tripartite conceptualization of consumption value as being utilitarian, hedonic, and/or eudaimonic, and argues in favor of an organismic conceptualization of the self to better understand how eudaimonic consumption can impact, and is in turn impacted by, a consumer’s sense of self. By doing so, a eudaimonic view enables a stronger understanding of the consumer pursuit of happiness as also involving a pursuit of meaningful consumption.
Advisor: James W. Gentry