Envy on Social Network Sites: How Reading Friend's Posts Leads to (Benign) Envy and Influences Purchase Intentions

DSpace Repository


URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10900/78632
Dokumentart: PhDThesis
Date: 2019-10-01
Source: The Chapter 3 is a slightly modified version of the published paper: "Lin, R., & Utz, S. (2015). The emotional responses of browsing Facebook: Happiness, envy, and the role of tie strength. Computers in Human Behavior, 52, 29–38. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2015.04.064"
Language: English
Faculty: 6 Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Department: Wirtschaftswissenschaften
Advisor: Papies, Dominik (Prof. Dr.)
Day of Oral Examination: 2017-10-09
DDC Classifikation: 150 - Psychology
300 - Social sciences, sociology and anthropology
330 - Economics
Keywords: Social Media , Neid , Facebook , Kauf
Other Keywords:
Experiential Purchases
Material Purchases
Benign Envy
Malicious Envy
Purchase Intention
License: http://tobias-lib.uni-tuebingen.de/doku/lic_mit_pod.php?la=de http://tobias-lib.uni-tuebingen.de/doku/lic_mit_pod.php?la=en
Order a printed copy: Print-on-Demand
Show full item record


Seeing other's perfect lives as presented on Social Network Sites (SNSs) sometimes triggers envy, and previous researchers were worried about the negative impact of it on users’ well-being. This dissertation examines if users are suffering ill effects from the consumption of SNS services and addresses the positive effects of envy on purchase intentions and consumer behavior. Two types of envy are distinguished: one is benign envy with a motivation of moving up, and the other is malicious envy with a motivation of pulling the envied person down. This dissertation investigates the prevalence of (benign and malicious) envy on SNSs, explored the impacts of tie strength (i.e., relationship closeness) and post content (experiential vs. material purchases) on envy and the impact of envy on purchase intentions. Eight studies, including surveys and experiments, were conducted using various samples (total N = 1816) in Western countries. The results showed that users only experienced a limited degree of envy and it was more likely to be benign envy rather than malicious envy. Benign envy was positively predicted by the tie strength but was independent of the post content. Furthermore, benign envy was positively associated with the purchase intention of the envied object. It was also found that consumers posted their experiential purchases more frequently than material purchases on SNSs; and most SNS users perceived experiential purchases as more self-relevant than material purchases, and hence more envy was triggered after reading posts about experiential purchases. This dissertation argues that, given that experiential purchases could bring people more happiness than material purchases, experiencing benign envy about other’s experiential purchases is not necessarily a bad thing–it motivates people to work harder and pursuit the experiential purchases that could bring more happiness. Marketers can also utilize this emotion for better advertising (e.g., by showing the tourism-related ads to those who are benignly envious about friends' vacation experiences). This dissertation further contributes to the literature on the SNSs and well-being, experiential and material purchases, envy, and consumer behavior. More details and the theoretical and practical implications for SNS users, marketers, platforms, and researchers are elaborated in this dissertation.

This item appears in the following Collection(s)