The private and public meanings of possessions

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Complementos de Marketing
Mestrado em Gestão 2010/ 2011

Valuing Things: The Public And Private Meanings of Possessions
Author: Marsha L. Richins The Journal of Consumer Research

Group Members: Cristina Dias - pg 16632 Eliseu Santos - pg 17145 Manuel Martins - pg 16767 Micaela Morim - pg 16768

Mestrado em Gestão 2010/ 2011 Complementos de Marketing Valuing Things: The Public andPrivate Meanings of Possessions

INDEX 0. Introduction 1. The Key ideas 2. Limitations 3. Our Critical Review of the Article 4. Future Research 5. Appendix 6. Bibliography


Mestrado em Gestão 2010/ 2011 Complementos de Marketing Valuing Things: The Public and Private Meanings of Possessions

0. INTRODUCTION The current document aims to characterize and criticise the article “Valuing Things:The Public and Private Meanings of Possessions”, whose author is Marsha L. Richins, a University Professor of Marketing in the Missouri. This document includes the main ideas present in the article, an abstract of the methodology used in the studies performed, the limitations and future research pointed out by the author, our opinion about it (what is wrong/ right), and appendices related with thestudies mentioned below. 1. KEY IDEAS Generally, the article identifies possession meaning as the source of a possession’s value, examines the nature of possession meaning and makes a difference between public and private meaning. The article ends with three empirical studies, made with different groups of the society, which tries to compare the public and private meanings, using different kindsof analysis. Private and public meanings have as strong relation to consumer buying behaviour. Since they reflect consumer´s perception of products, it is reasonable to say that they play an important role in the decision process within a product class. 1.1. Meaning as the Source of Value For the economics, a goods value is placed in the context of exchange and is represented by the price he iswilling to pay. In marketing literature, scholars have distinguished value in exchange from value in use. The last one is defined as the extent to which an owner holds a possession to be dear, independently of the exchange opportunities. In this line of though, a possession´s value derives from its meaning, which is based on memories, emotions and experiences. 1.2. The Nature of Meaning Meaning isdefined as the result of an interpretation process. Furthermore, is used to refer to the subjective meaning an interpreter adds to an object, based on his or her cultural values, and also to refer a person’s subjective perception and affective reactions. The article refers that both public and private meanings play a role in fully comprehending possession value. It states the main differencesbetween public and private meanings. Public Meanings are the subjective meanings assigned to an object by outside observers of the object. In general, and through socialization and shared activities, objects have meanings that are equal to the whole society even though they change within different cultures. The advertising uses this to influence the value of certain goods. Private Meanings are the sumof the subjective meanings that objects hold for a particular individual. In other words, is the meaning attributed to an object, by an individual, as a result of the personal relationship developed with it. In summary, public meanings influence the possessions that people choose to communicate aspects from themselves to others. Private meanings determine people’s feelings about their ownpossessions. 1.3. The Sources of Meaning Public and private meanings have been studied by various scholars. These studies use a variety of schemes to classify the meanings of possessions. However, most of the 2

Mestrado em Gestão 2010/ 2011 Complementos de Marketing Valuing Things: The Public and Private Meanings of Possessions

meanings that create value, as described by empirical and conceptual...
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