Date of Award

Spring 2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

Department

Business Administration

First Advisor

Barry J. Babin

Abstract

The study of atmospherics recognizes shoppers engage in consumption for more than its utilitarian function. The concept of the recreational shopper recognizes the value-producing process of the consumption experience. This research furthers the understanding of consumption by delving into the value-enhancing process of escaping during the experience, as well as measuring the mediating effects of fascination and authenticity. In this study, a test of an individual's self-regulating behavior and the moderating effects on the consumption experience help determine if predetermination affects an escape experience.

Pictured scenes of restaurants were pretested for their ability to produce fascination and represent and authentic experience. Selecting two scenes rated on the high and low end of the scale of authenticity and fascination, Photoshop is used to change the atmospherics that signal a high and low fascinating experience. From these two pictures, four pictures are created representing the four possible manipulations of authenticity and fascination.

The final analysis indicated that the level of escape in a built environment is positively related to positive affect. When consumers are able to engage in a dining experience that takes them away from their normal lives, they exhibit excitement, happiness, and relaxation. Escape also is a partial mediating factor in fascination, defined as involuntary attention that is effortless. Research in fascination is in natural settings; however, this study confirms its relationship in a built environment. Fascination reduces fatigue and leads to a restoration of cognitive effectiveness. This study finds that escape partially explains the fascination experience. When provided an escape setting, the consumer is more likely to relax and more open to enjoy the restorative qualities of a fascinating experience.

Interestingly, in this study authenticity is not found to have a significant effect in the escape experience. Indexicality is an important quality in authentic experiences, and once the consumer accepts items and places as authentic, they will become more personally involved with items and places. This research, however, found indexicality is not necessarily required, and is not important in an escape experience. This means escape can be found in environments that are truly unique and untied to the indexicality of the authentic. Self-regulating behavior is found not be a significant contributor the escape experience. Action-oriented individuals are rated high in the active disposition of their actions and avoid difficulties in the completion of a task. This research finds that action-oriented individuals are no differently affected in the escape experience than are state-oriented individuals, who are more willing to "go with the flow," have difficulty in completing tasks, and are generally more likely to fail due to an inability to filter out obstructions. This supports the supposition that the escape from the mundane is a sought after quality desired by both action-oriented and state-oriented individuals.

This study supports the desirable characteristics of an escape experience and its relationship to fascination. Escape is related to positive feelings, which lead to the desire to stay, engage in social behavior, and ultimately add to the value of the consumption experience.

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