Date of Award

Spring 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


Marketing and Analysis

First Advisor

Bruce Babin


Studying consumers is at the heart of the sub-discipline of consumer behavior; to truly understand the core of said consumers however, the marketing literature has focused on studying the self. The extant literature has discussed the self from several conceptual view points. As such, this study provides a rich theoretical review reaching back into the 19th century literature and extending into more recent developments related to cognitive social psychology. James' (1890) global tripartite model of the self is adopted, and the various avenues by which consumers create their `selves' are then explored, with particular focus on James' material self (bodily creation).

The latter phase of the study reintroduces Katz's (1960) functional approach to attitudes as a conceptual lens to examine how matching consumers' functional profiles to advertising messages, within the context of creating a self, influences the consumers' overall attitudinal and behavioral responses to the particular message/brands being promoted.

A multi-method approach including grounded theoretic and experimental studies is employed, and the findings show that different functions do fuel different individuals' motives to create their `selves,' and that when viewing an advertisement executed with functions differing from their functional profile, individuals experience mild cognitive dissonance and thus elaborate the message content more; this results in better attitudinal and behavioral responses to stronger over weaker arguments.

Included in

Marketing Commons