Owning our beliefs: Mental materialism and intellectual arrogance

Expanding concepts of materialism and territoriality from material objects to beliefs, new research by Aiden P. Gregg, Nikhila Mahadevan, and Constantine Sedikides (University of Southampton) suggests that people view their core beliefs as valued possessions and develop a sense of mental materialism towards them. As a consequence, people might react with a sense of ideological territoriality when they have to fight to protect their beliefs, which can lead to intellectual arrogance. The authors examine how differences in communion and agency predict whether people take a hostile epistemic stance (rejecting reality) or a deferential one (embracing reality).

You can read more about this research here.

Self-enhancement and other-derogation as explanations of the ownership effect

A novel look into ownership phenomena. People’s tendency to overvalue owned objects has been often explained through self-enhancement – viewing owned things in a more positive light. However, recent research by Yunhui Huang (Nanjing University, China) and Yin Wu (Shenzhen University and Peking University, China) proposes other-derogation as another potential explanation. According to this research, the higher value people place on self-possessions can also be explained by their tendency to view other-possessions less favorably. Other-derogation can be another underlying mechanism that explains the ownership effect besides self-enhancement.

You can read more about this research here.

Why We Are So Attached to Our Things – A TED-Ed Lesson about Ownership by Christian Jarrett

Dear readers,

We would like to share a really neat video with you that sums up the phenomenon of ownership quite nicely in under 5 minutes. It was created by Christian Jarrett as part of a TED-Ed lesson on ownership and endowment.

 

The entire TED-Ed lesson content can be accessed here: [CLICK].

Yours,

The Science of Ownership team

The Future of Ownership Research – Workshop held on July 7-8 2017

If you find yourself reading this post, I am quite sure you know that ownership is a concept that is fundamentally linked to almost all transactions in our society. Every economical transaction also involves a transfer of ownership.

On this note, the Institute for Marketing & Consumer Research (m.core) from WU Vienna is hosting a small-scale workshop on (psychological) ownership that will be held on July 7th-8th, 2017. In addition to Bernadette Kamleitner and Monika Koller (m.core) we are happy to announce that Stephan Dickert (Queen Mary University of London) and Joan Peck (University of Wisconsin-Madison) will also be part of the organization committee.

Within the scope of the workshop, which is being held for the second time his year, we aim to bring together researchers with different disciplinary backgrounds to facilitate a fruitful discourse on the phenomenon, its variants, its antecedents and its consequences. The goal is to jointly move towards a much-needed unified theory of ownership and to shape the future of ownership research.

If the above description makes you feel like this workshop is also a bit yours (pun intended) then you should apply for one of our travel scholarships. They are available for early career scholars and PhD students.

To get more about the workshop visit our official homepage here [CLICK]

To get the details about how to apply for scholarships click here [CLICK] 

Personal Data and (Psychological) Ownership: A Book Chapter by Bernadette Kamleitner & Vince Mitchell

We are writing the year 2017, an era with a higher population of mobile gadgets than people (GSMA Intelligence 2017), where we easily create a 10 million Blu-ray discs amount of data each day (Walker 2015). A substantial fraction of these data represents virtual copies of our very selves. From digitally tracking our personal health over religiously using our loyalty cards for better deals to simply surfing the Internet for information – where we go, what we do and consume, how we behave and feel is not a private matter anymore (Haddadi & Brown 2014). Despite heightened public concern about how personal data is collected and used (Pew Research Center 2014), we rarely think about oversharing when we download apps, sign up for mailing lists, or give away our personal details in exchange for a boost in convenience and temporary well-being. What is more, the question of who holds legitimate claim over these data – legally as well as psychologically – is still fuelling an undisputed yet to date unsatisfactory debate.

In a new book chapter to appear in a book on ownership that Joann Peck and Suzanne Shu are editing for Springer, Bernadette Kamleitner from WU Vienna and Vince Mitchell who is just about to move from London to The University of Sydney are exploring these and related questions in detail and come to surprising conclusions about the logic of ownership in the context of personal data. Read for yourself what they discovered in the abstract below. The matching first-draft of the chapter in its entirety can be downloaded [HERE]:

In the age of information everything becomes mined for the nuggets giving rise to it: data. Yet, who these new treasures do and should belong to is still being hotly debated. With individuals often acting as the source of the ore and businesses acting as the miners, both appear to hold a claim. This chapter contributes to this debate by analyzing whether and when personal data may evoke a sense of ownership in those they are about. Juxtaposing insights on the experience and functions of ownership with the essence of data and practices in data markets, we conclude that a very large fraction of personal data defies the logic and mechanisms of psychological possessions. In the canon of reasons for this defeat, issues of data characteristics, obscuring market practices, and data’s mere scope are center stage. In response, we propose to condense the boundless collection of data points into the singularized and graspable metaphor of a digital blueprint of the self. This metaphor is suggested to grasp the notion of personal data. To also enable consumers to effectively manage their data, we advocate adopting a practice commonly used with plentiful assets: the establishment of personal data agents and managers.

References

GSMA Intelligence. (2017), available at https://www.gsmaintelligence.com/

Haddadi & Brown (2014), Quantified Self and the Privacy Challenge, Technology Law Futures.

Kamleitner & Mitchell (2017). Can consumers experience ownership for all their personal data? From issues of scope and invisibility agents handling our digital footpring. In press

Pew Research Center (2014). Public Perceptions of Privacy and Security in the Post-Snowden Era. November 12. http://www.pewresearch.org.

Walker (2015). Every Day Big Data Statistics – 2.5 Quintillion Bytes of Data Created Daily. Available at http://www.vcloudnews.com/every-day-big-data-statistics-2-5-quintillion-bytes-of-data-created-daily/

 

An Update on The Science of Ownership

Dear readers,

You might have noticed that it has been rather quiet here on The Science of Ownership for the past few months. We have been occupied with a million of projects that deserve being brought to your attention.

Here is some of what has happened within the realms of ownership research in 2016 and some of what to expect in 2017. (Note that all respective references are listed in alphabetical order at the end of this post.)

Contributions to a soon-to-be-released Book on Psychological Ownership

We are happy to announce that one of our important voices of ownership, Joann Peck together with Suzanne Shu are editing an entire book on psychological ownership next year. Joann will at some point in the future hopefully be able to tell us more about when exactly the book will be launched, but being among the contributors ourselves, we already know that it features cutting-edge reviews from the likes of Jon Pierce, Ori Friedman and Colleen P. Kirk among others. As to what to expect from us: Stephan Dickert wrote a piece on ownership and economic decisions, Sophie Süssenbach and Bernadette Kamleitner wrote a piece on ownership and sustainable behaviors, and Bernadette authored another chapter on questions of psychological ownership of data with Vince Mitchell. Details about all contributions as well as the book in general will be disclosed as soon as possible, but we are certainly not lying when we say that it will be another stepping stone for the field of psychological ownership.

New Research on Ownership

This year research on ownership was present at most leading marketing and consumer research conferences. The contexts in which the concept was embedded ranged from sustainability and care for the environment to the links between specific emotions and more general affect and ownership.

For example, at the Society for Consumer Psychology Winter Conference in St. Pete Beach, FL in February this year, Sophie Süssenbach and Bernadette Kamleitner shared insights from their paper on the relationship between perceived environmental knowledge and ownership for the environment (for details see Süssenbach & Kamleitner 2016 at the end of this article). Antje Graul and Aristeidis Theotokis from Leeds University Business School presented work on the relationship between lay rationalism, psychological ownerhship and consumers’ participation in access-based consumption (see Graul & Theotokis 2016). Joshua Morris and Szu-chi Huang from Stanford talked about their research on expense ownership and financial decision-making (see Morris & Huang 2016). Joann Peck with her colleagues Bowen Ruan, Robin Tanner and Liangyan Wang gave a presentation on the impact of haptic roughness on psychological ownership (see Ruan et al. 2016). And Jaeyeon Chung and Gita Johar from Columbia Business School shared their work on how product ownership induced identity activation affects product (un)related task performance (Chung & Johar 2016). [CLICK] here to go directly to the SCP conference proceedings.

After sunny Florida in February came Nordic Oslo in May. There, our entire team attended the European Marketing Academy Conference to present two very early projects on ownership and emotions as well as ownership and brands (see the reference list for details). The conference program can be accessed [HERE].

On we went to the annual Association for Consumer Research (ACR) conference, which was held in beautiful Berlin, Germany in October this year. Again ownership was featured strongly in several contributions including one by us (see Kamleitner et al. 2016). For example, Matthew Hall and Xin Zhao shared their work on perpetual dispossession, in which they explore the concept of ownership without possession (see Hall & Zhao 2016). Elena Fumagelli, Luca Visconti and Kristine De Valck (see Fumagelli at al. 2016) talked about how our own body is connected to the concept of ownership. Rui Chen, Leonard Lee and Yuhuang Zheng presented a paper on the reversed endowment effect in living goods transactions (See Chen et al. 2016). And Colleen Kirk together with her colleagues Scott Swain and Joann Peck introduced situations in which psychological ownership leads to territorial responses (see Kirk et al. 2016). Further contributions were made by Friedman & Pesowski (2016) who talked about how ownerhship shapes children’s judgements, Atasoy & Morewedge (2016) who studied ownership in the context of digital and physical goods and Valsesia, Nunes and Ordanini (2016) who looked at the relationship between psychological ownership and consumer ratings.

Further Projects

In addition to this vast amount of conference presentations, there are also a number of new publications on psychological ownership that appeared this year. These include Dawkins et al. forthcoming, Hair et al. 2016, Hartley et al. 2016, Kim et al. 2016, Sinclair and Tinson 2017 and Spiekermann and Korunovska 2016 (for detailled references, please scroll down to the end of this page).

With so much work apparently in progress – a lot appears about to come out. We too have been busy finishing up papers on the topic. Without giving away too much, we can already tell you that the projects we and others are working on illuminate psychological ownership from an array of different lenses, including but not limited to the contexts of personal information, social networks, streaming, crowdfunding, and product design. We’ll make sure that you – our loyal readers – will be the first ones to know more about these projects once we can confidentially disclose more details about them. On this note, we would like to thank every single one of you who has contributed to The Science of Ownership so far and will continue to incorporate extraordinary scholars from all over the world as collaborators on our blog.

Finally, we plan to repeat the successful ownership workshop that we organized in 2013 by hosting yet another little ownership gathering in 2017. We are currently in the process of arranging everything. Mostly we will curate a highly interdisciplinary group of participants but there will also be some open spaces, so stay posted.

We are looking forward to a fantastic year 2017. May it start and end with a bang and feature lots of inspiring and fruitful [research] moments in between.

We wish all of you a Happy Holiday & a Joyful [and productive] New Year!

Yours,

The Science of Ownership Editorial Team

Featured References

Conference Presentations

Atasoy, Ozgun & Morewedge, Carey (2016). Better to Have a Book in the Hand Than Two in the Cloud: Consumer Preferences for Physical Over Digital Goods. The Association for Consumer Research Conference (ACR) 2016, Berlin, Deutschland, 27.10.-30.10.

Chen, Rui, Lee, Leonard & Zheng, Yuhuang (2016). The Reversed Endowment Effect in Living-Goods Transactions. The Association for Consumer Research Conference (ACR) 2016, Berlin, Deutschland, 27.10.-30.10.

Chung, Jaeyeon & Johar, Gita V (2016). The Bounded Self: Effects of Product-Ownership Induced Identity Activation on Product (Un)Related Task Performance. SCP Winter Conference, St. Pete Beach, FL, USA, 25.02-27.02.

Friedman, Ori, Pesowski, Madison (2016). Ownership Shapes Children’s Judgments about Material goods. The Association for Consumer Research Conference (ACR) 2016, Berlin, Deutschland, 27.10.-30.10.

Fumagalli, Elena, Visconti, Luca M. & De Valck, Kristine (2016). To Me or Not to Me: Personal Body as Contested Ownership. The Association for Consumer Research Conference (ACR) 2016, Berlin, Deutschland, 27.10.-30.10.

Graul, Antje & Theotokis, Aristeidis (2016). Mine is mine and yours is mine: Understanding the relationship between lay rationalism, psychological ownership and consumers’participation in access-based consumption. SCP Winter Conference, St. Pete Beach, FL, USA, 25.02-27.02.

Hall, Matthew & Zhao, Xin (2016). Perpetual Dispossession: An Exploration of Ownership without Possession. The Association for Consumer Research Conference (ACR) 2016, Berlin, Deutschland, 27.10.-30.10.

Kamleitner, Bernadette and Süssenbach, Sophie and Thürridl, Carina and Ruzeviciute, Ruta (2016). The fine line between me and mine: Brand psychological ownership as a distinct and powerful construct. European Marketing Academy (EMAC), Oslo, Norway, 24.05.-27.05.

Kamleitner, Bernadette, Süssenbach, Sophie, Thürridl, Carina, Ruzeviciute, Ruta (2016). This Brand is MINE: Brand Psychological Ownership as a Distinct Construct and Powerful Driver of Consumer Behavior. The Association for Consumer Research Conference (ACR) 2016, Berlin, Deutschland, 27.10.-30.10.

Kirk, Colleen P., Swain, Scott & Peck, Joann (2016). You Stepped on My Toes: When Does Psychological Ownership Lead to Territorial Responses? The Association for Consumer Research Conference (ACR) 2016, Berlin, Deutschland, 27.10.-30.10.

Morris, Joshua & Huang, Szu-chi (2016). When Your Hands Are Tied: The Impact of Expense Ownership on Financial Decisions. SCP Winter Conference, St. Pete Beach, FL, USA, 25.02-27.02.

Ruan, Bowen, Peck, Joann, Tanner, Robin & Wang Liangyan (2016). Grip not to Slip: How Haptic Roughness Leads to Psychological Ownership. SCP Winter Conference, St. Pete Beach, FL, USA, 25.02-27.02.

Süssenbach, Sophie, Kamleitner, Bernadette (2016). I know it, I own it and I care for it: How perceived environmental knowledge strengthens ownership for the environment. SCP Winter Conference, St. Pete Beach, FL, USA, 25.02-27.02.

Thürridl, Carina, Kamleitner, Bernadette, Dickert, Stephan, Ruzeviciute, Ruta & Süssenbach, Sophie (2016). Happy, possessive and loyal: From consumption affect to brand loyalty. European Marketing Academy (EMAC), Oslo, Norway, 24.05.-27.05.

Valsesia, Francesca, Nunes, Joseph & Ordanini, Andrea (2016). I Got Here First! Feelings of Psychological Ownership and Consumer Ratings. The Association for Consumer Research Conference (ACR) 2016, Berlin, Deutschland, 27.10.-30.10.

Journal Publications

Dawkins, Sarah, Tian, Amy Wei, Newman, Alexander & Martin, Angela (forthcoming). Psychological ownership: A review and research agenda. Journal of Organizational Behavior.

Hair, Joe F., Barth, Kati, Neubert, Doreen & Sarstedt, Marko (2016), Examining the Role of Psychological Ownership and Feedback in Customer Empowerment Strategies. Journal of Creating Value, forthcoming.

Hartley, Phillip, Sun, Jie & Raggio, Randle D (2016). Psychological ownership as a crisis management advertising appeal – antecedents, outcomes, and moderators. Journal of Marketing Communications, 1-15.

Kim, Sangmi, Kim, Seong-Gyu, Jeon, Yoonsin, Jun, Soojin & Kim, Jinwoo (2016). Appropriate or Remix? The Effects of Social Recognition and Psychological Ownership on Intention to Share in Online Communities. Human–Computer Interaction, 31 (2), 97-132.

Sinclair, Gary & Tinson, Julie (2017). Psychological ownership and music streaming consumption. Journal of Business Research, 71, 1-9.

Spiekermann, Sarah & Korunovska, Jana (2016). Towards a value theory for personal data. Journal of Information Technology.

THE DEVELOPMENT OF JOB-BASED PSYCHOLOGICAL OWNERSHIP

A GUEST COMMENTARY BY BOBBY BULLOCK, CONSULTANT & RESEARCHER

The concept of psychological ownership (PO) as we know and understand today has originated from the field of organizational behavior and psychology. More precisely, Pierce, Kostova & Dirks (2001, 2003) were the first ones to coin the term and establish a theory of PO in organizations. Defined as “the state in which individuals feel as though the target of ownership (material or immaterial in nature) or a piece of it is “theirs”, they were able to show that PO develops through three distinct routes: control over, self-investment in, and intimate knowledge of the target of ownership (Pierce et al. 2003). In addition to these three routes, many scholars have argued that personality and disposition may also matter for the emergence of PO, yet this has never been properly tested.

In his PhD thesis, our current guest author Bobby Bullock, has explored this gap in the literature and has taken a closer look at the relationship between personality, job autonomy and psychological ownership. Moreover, he has looked at how the well-established routes through which PO is said to emerge come into play in the context of organizational employment.

But read for yourself what Bobby Bullock has to say:

Psychological ownership has come to light as an important state with strong implications on employee attitudes and behaviors.  However, relatively little attention has been paid towards the process by which employees come to develop feelings of psychological ownership towards their work, particularly regarding the role played by individual traits in this process.  Ownership theorists claim that personality and disposition should matter (Mayhew, Ashkanasy, Bramble, & Gardner, 2007; Pierce & Jussila, 2011), yet these claims remain largely untested.

The purpose of the current investigation is to address these gaps by exploring how employee disposition and job design contribute to the development of job-based psychological ownership.  Employing a cross-sectional approach, data were collected using an online survey where participants were asked to complete measures of trait positive affectivity (PA), job characteristics, work experiences, and job-based psychological ownership.  Because the study focused on job-related phenomena, participants were required to work full-time in a location other than their home to be considered for this study.  The final 426 participants (60.4% male, 39.6% female) had an average tenure of 5.04 years (SD = 5.03) and represented a wide range of industries and job levels (23.7% entry-level, 31.0% individual contributor, 17.8% supervisory, 10.8% mid-level manager, 2.8% senior manager, 13.8% technical or professional).  Hypotheses were tested using bootstrapped regression analyses and structural equation modeling.

Results indicated that job autonomy has a positive effect on job-based psychological ownership (B = 0.501, CI 0.415 to 0.594) through three mediated paths:  investment of ideas, effort, and self into one’s work (B = 0.252, CI 0.178 to 0.349), experienced control and influence over one’s work (B = 0.214, CI 0.137 to 0.293), and intimate knowledge and understanding of one’s job (B = 0.036, CI 0.003 to 0.082).  Employee PA significantly moderated the mediated path from autonomy to ownership through experienced control (Index of ModMed = 0.017, CI 0.000 to 0.045), such that control mattered more for high-PA employees.  Exploratory analyses suggest that PA may play a dual role – as a moderator of autonomy’s effects on control (B = 0.052, CI 0.009 to 0.100), and as an indirect effect on ownership itself.  For example, high-PA employees reported greater investment of self in their work, which in turn predicted job-based psychological ownership (B = 0.255, CI 0.177 to 0.361).

Ultimately, job autonomy stood out as having a particularly strong and consistent positive effect on job-based psychological ownership.  Results suggest that all employees, from the most enthusiastic to the most apathetic can experience this positive psychological state.  That is, as long as they are afforded a high level of autonomy in deciding how to plan and carry out their work.

If you are interested in reading the full paper including more detailed results, please click here.

About Bobby:

Dr. Robert Bullock is a management consultant with a background in industrial-organizational (I-O) psychology. Since 2010 he has been a staff consultant at Scontrino–Powell, Inc., a Seattle-based I-O consulting firm. As a consultant Robert specializes in qualitative and quantitative assessment (i.e., employee surveys, leadership evaluations, developmental needs assessments, organizational assessments, validation studies), learning and development (i.e., training workshops, on-the-job learning, leadership coaching, training evaluation), and continuous improvement (i.e., Lean workshops, continuous process improvement, culture change). He has provided those services to dozens of clients across a diverse range of sectors and industries, including Fortune 500 companies, state agencies, and the high-tech, education, health care, and non-profit sectors. As a scientist Robert has published and presented research on the psychology of ownership, organizational citizenship behaviors, and job design. He enjoys writing and has had articles published in several outlets including Forbes, Bloomberg, Profiles International, and more.

For more about Bobby, please click here.

Editor’s note: All references can be found in the whitepaper, which you can download here.