The karma of consumption: Role of materialism in the pursuit of life satisfaction
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Purpose: This paper aims to examine how social comparison (SC) and belief in karma (KA) encourage materialism (MAT) and promote consumers’ life satisfaction (LS).
Design/methodology/approach: Two studies were conducted with Indian middle class consumers to test the basic premises of the current research. The first one used a survey (N = 247), while the second one used an experimental design (N = 206).
Findings: The survey results showed that SC and belief in KA promoted MAT amongst Indian consumers and further enhanced their LS. Findings from the experiment revealed a novel two-way interaction, in that the KA–MAT relationship was moderated by the underlying motivation for MAT.
Research limitations/implications: Future research may validate and extend our findings using different samples to increase external validity.
Practical implications: By explaining the interactive effects of MAT, its underlying motivation and belief in KA, managers will gain a better understanding of why consumers in an emerging market like India purchase conspicuous products.
Originality/value: This is the first paper to study how the KA–MAT relationship influences LS amongst consumers in the world’s fastest-rising economy. Furthermore, no prior research has reported a boundary condition for the KA–MAT relationship studied here. The findings contribute to an extremely limited body of literature on KA and consumption.
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