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1 March 2023 - 1 March 2023

10:30AM - 11:30AM

MHL223, Durham University Business School

  • Free

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Join us at the MIB Seminar to hear from by Dr Jonathan Berman.

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MIB Seminar

Speaker: Dr Jonathan Berman 

Abstract: Consumers often seek to persuade others to join them in taking the same action (e.g., ordering dessert, signing a petition, attending a workout class). A common approach to persuasion in this context is to lead by example—that is, committing to take the action and inviting another person to join. However, we find that it is often more persuasive to make a conditional commitment: committing to take the action only if the other person does as well. Specifically, we investigate when and why conditional commitments (e.g., “I’ll order dessert if you do”) are more persuasive than unconditional commitments (e.g., “I’m going to order dessert”). We theorize that conditional commitments are effective because they symbolically link consumers’ decisions together (which increases social connection) while also giving the responder agency over the joint decision (which puts pressure on them to avoid disappointing the requestor). Thus, conditional commitments are less persuasive when the responder does not want to socially connect with the requestor, or when a countervailing force reduces the pressure to comply. More broadly, this research demonstrates that even outside of typical joint consumption contexts, cues of joint agency are persuasive and can powerfully shape individual consumer decisions.

Bio: Dr Jonathan Berman is an Associate Professor of Marketing at the London Business School. He conducts research in judgment and decision-making and consumer behavior. His specific areas of research look at (a) consumer ethical decision-making and (b) personal financial decision-making. Before joining London Business School, Professor Berman completed his PhD at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. His research has been published in top Marketing and Psychology journals including in Psychological Science, the Journal of Marketing Research, and the Journal of Consumer Research.