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Developing Conceptual Articles for JCR (Winter 2016/2017)

Curator: Deborah MacInnis

Undoubtedly, some of the most highly cited and most enduringly valuable articles are conceptual in nature (Yadav 2010; MacInnis 2011), and JCR has a history of publishing such articles. However, despite JCR editors' efforts to promote such papers, the prevalence of peer-reviewed conceptual papers has declined over time (Mick 1999; Deighton et al. 2010; McGill et al. 2011; Dahl et al. 2014). While there is emerging evidence that authors are submitting more conceptual papers than before, the publication success of these papers remains limited. One reason why may be that we, as researchers and reviewers, have little guidance on how to develop and evaluate such articles. For this reason, I use this JCR Research Curation to provide one perspective on factors that enhance the publication success of conceptual articles. There is no one formula for writing successful conceptual articles. However, successful conceptual papers seem to do several things well.

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Time-Inconsistent Preferences and Consumer Self-Control

Stephen J. Hoch

George F. Loewenstein

Why do consumers sometimes act against their own better judgment, engaging in behavior that is often regretted after the fact and that would have been rejected with adequate forethought? More generally, how do consumers attempt to maintain self-control in the face of time-inconsistent preferences? This article addresses consumer impatience by developing a decision-theoretic model based on reference points. The model explains how and why consumers experience sudden increases in desire for a product, increases that can result in the temporary overriding of long-term preferences. Tactics that consumers use to control their own behavior are also discussed. Consumer self-control is framed as a struggle between two psychological forces, desire and willpower. Finally, two general classes of self-control strategies are described: those that directly reduce desire, and those that overcome desire through will power.

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Culture and Consumption: A Theoretical Account of the Structure and Movement of the Cultural Meaning of Consumer Goods

Grant McCracken

Cultural meaning in a consumer society moves ceaselessly from one location to another. In the usual trajectory, cultural meaning moves first from the culturally constituted world to consumer goods and then from these goods to the individual consumer. Several instruments are responsible for this movement: advertising, the fashion system, and four consumption rituals. This article analyzes the movement of cultural meaning theoretically, showing both where cultural meaning is resident in the contemporary North American consumer system and the means by which this meaning is transferred from one location in this system to another.

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The Persuasion Knowledge Model: How People Cope with Persuasion Attempts

Marian Friestad

Peter Wright

In theories and studies of persuasion, people's personal knowledge about persuasion agents' goals and tactics, and about how to skillfully cope with these, has been ignored. We present a model of how people develop and use persuasion knowledge to cope with persuasion attempts. We discuss what the model implies about how consumers use marketers' advertising and selling attempts to refine their product attitudes and attitudes toward the marketers themselves. We also explain how this model relates to prior research on consumer behavior and persuasion and what it suggests about the future conduct of consumer research.

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Possessions and the Extended Self

Russell W. Belk

Our possessions are a major contributor to and reflection of our identities. A variety of evidence is presented supporting this simple and compelling premise. Related streams of research are identified and drawn upon in developing this concept and implications are derived for consumer behavior. Because the construct of extended self involves consumer behavior rather than buyer behavior, it appears to be a much richer construct than previous formulations positing a relationship between self-concept and consumer brand choice.

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Constructive Consumer Choice Processes

James R. Bettman

Mary Frances Luce

John W. Payne

Consumer decision making has been a focal interest in consumer research, and consideration of current marketplace trends (e.g., technological change, an information explosion) indicates that this topic will continue to be critically important. We argue that consumer choice is inherently constructive. Due to limited processing capacity, consumers often do not have well-defined existing preferences, but construct them using a variety of strategies contingent on task demands. After describing constructive choice, consumer decision tasks, and decision strategies, we provide an integrative framework for understanding constructive choice, review evidence for constructive consumer choice in light of that framework, and identify knowledge gaps that suggest opportunities for additional research.

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Consumer Culture Theory (CCT): Twenty Years of Research

Eric J. Arnould

Craig J. Thompson

This article provides a synthesizing overview of the past 20 years of consumer research addressing the sociocultural, experiential, symbolic, and ideological aspects of consumption. Our aim is to provide a viable disciplinary brand for this research tradition that we call consumer culture theory (CCT). We propose that CCT has fulfilled recurrent calls for developing a distinctive body of theoretical knowledge about consumption and marketplace behaviors. In developing this argument, we redress three enduring misconceptions about the nature and analytic orientation of CCT. We then assess how CCT has contributed to consumer research by illuminating the cultural dimensions of the consumption cycle and by developing novel theorizations concerning four thematic domains of research interest.

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