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The inauthentic consumer: Consequences of self-inauthenticity for possession disposal

Liu, J. J. ORCID: 0000-0002-6224-0216 & Dalton, A. N. ORCID: 0000-0002-1529-4406 (2024). The inauthentic consumer: Consequences of self-inauthenticity for possession disposal. Journal of Business Research, 181, article number 114741. doi: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2024.114741


Self-inauthenticity is characterized by feeling out-of-touch with one’s true, authentic self. Here, we propose that self-inauthenticity causes consumers to also feel out-of-touch with objects that are extensions of the self—namely, their material possessions. We call this effect possession alienation and suggest that it drives possession disposal. Supporting this view, chronic self-inauthenticity leads consumers to dispose of everyday products (e.g., apparel and electronics) at higher frequencies. Additionally, situational triggers of self-inauthenticity (e.g., using counterfeits or out-group-related brands) cause possession alienation and disposal. Self-inauthenticity thereby increases consumer intention to declutter at home, increases consumer preference to replace, rather than repair, broken electronics, and increases consumer participation in C2C product exchanges. Effects of self-inauthenticity on disposal can, however, be mitigated. Marketing interventions (e.g., advertisements) that reinforce consumers’ psychological connection to material possessions, compared to interventions that promote product functionality, encourage inauthentic consumers to retain possessions. Implications, limitations, and future directions are discussed.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC-BY license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher Keywords: Authenticity, Self-product connection, Disposal, Possessions, Ownership, Sustainability
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Departments: Bayes Business School
Bayes Business School > Management
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