The Impact of Interdependence Awareness and Gender Identity on Consumption of Common Resources

  • Author / Creator
    Tu, Ke
  • It is an inevitable fact that people must engage in the consumption of common resources, such as sanitary drinking water, clean air, and public facilities. A major concern with common resources is overconsumption, which can lead to the common resource being temporarily or permanently depleted (e.g., deforestation, congested highways, water crisis, and desertification of pasturelands). Protecting common resources from overconsumption requires that individuals consume cooperatively (i.e., reduced consumption of a common resource) rather than competitively (i.e., increased consumption of a common resource). Although prior work has identified many factors that influence people’s consumption of common resources, it remains unclear what happens when people fail to see the mutual influences of their common resource consumption in relation to each other. In this dissertation, I attempt to provide the first comparison between situations when people lack versus have awareness of the interdependent influences of their consumption on each other’s well-being in the context of commons dilemmas. Building on the appropriateness framework, I hypothesize that interdependence awareness and gender identity interactively affect how people construe the commons dilemmas encountered, and hence, their competition/cooperation motivation and the ensuing consumption of common resources. Across one field and three controlled laboratory studies using different commons dilemma contexts and different manipulations of interdependence awareness, I found converging evidence that for people with a masculine gender identity, having high interdependence awareness activates a competition motivation, which guides their decision making toward advancing their own welfare (i.e., consuming more); whereas for people with a feminine gender identity, high interdependence awareness activates both competition and cooperation motivations, resulting in controlled consumption of a common resource. Furthermore, results show that attentional focus moderates the interactive effect between interdependence awareness and gender identity. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Faculty of Business
  • Specialization
    • Marketing
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Argo, Jennifer (Marketing, Business Economics, and Law)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Silva, Emilson (Marketing, Business Economics, and Law)
    • Robert, Fisher (Marketing, Business Economics, and Law)
    • Moore, Sarah (Marketing, Business Economics, and Law)
    • Basil, Debra (Marketing)