Theoretical Framework of Five Integrated Facets | My Assignment Tutor

Consumer Wisdom: A Theoretical Framework of Five Integrated FacetsMichael Gerhard LuchsCollege of William & MaryDavid Glen MickUniversity of VirginiaAccepted by Amna Kirmani, Editor; Associate Editor, Hans BaumgartnerWe establish a parsimonious theoretical framework of consumer wisdom based on five mutually reinforcingpsychological facets. Our research draws from wisdom literature and a set of 31 phenomenological interviewswith informants who were identified through a multi-stage nomination process. The five facets of consumerwisdom that emerged are Intentionality, Contemplation, Emotional Mastery, Openness, and Transcendence.Together, they comprise a data-grounded, aspirational model of consumer wisdom—for researchers as well asconsumers—to understand, maintain, and improve personal and collective well-being. We discuss the implications of the framework and directions for future research.Keywords Wisdom; Well-being; Mindfulness; Values; Morality; ChoiceIntroductionThe formal beginnings of the academic field of consumer research can be traced to the 1960s, with thefounding of the Society for Consumer Psychology(1962) and the inauguration of the Association forConsumer Research (1969). Over its first half-century, a diversity of topics has been addressed, including many related to the challenges or “dark side” ofconsumption. These include impulsive and compulsive buying, addictions (e.g., drugs, nicotine, gambling), materialism and status competition, decisionbiases (e.g., myopia, overconfidence), and ecologicaldeterioration, among others. Research has also suggested that reckless consumption decisions (e.g.,smoking, poor diet, alcohol abuse, sedentary lifestyles) are the leading cause of premature death inthe United States (Keeney, 2008). However, consumer research on related remedies and alternativeshas been historically scant, until recently.A growing number of consumer researchers haveturned more intensively to studying personal andcollective well-being. One subset affiliates with theTransformative Consumer Research movement (seeMick, Pettigrew, Pechmann, & Ozanne, 2012; e.g.,motivating sustainable consumption, improvingnutrition labeling, fortifying retirement savings,protecting vulnerable consumers). Another involvespublic policies on “helping consumers to helpthemselves” (Lynch & Wood, 2006). Research isalso now appearing on “meaningful consumerchoice” in terms of long- versus short-term happiness (Aaker, 2014). And there has appeared theadmirable idea of citizen-consumers within an “elevated marketing system” (Webster & Lusch, 2013).Across research on the tragedies, enrichments,and dilemmas of modern consumption, one couldreasonably expect that the concept that encapsulatesthe apex of human functioning—as recognized byphilosophers, religious leaders, and social scientists—would have been by now woven into new theories and empirical findings in the field. Yet, wisdomis hardly to be found. The irony is glaring whenone considers proclamations from antiquity to modern psychology on the nature, significance, andurgency of wisdom:First among the virtues found in the state, wisdom comes into view. (Plato, Republic)(Wisdom is) the foundation of all good qualities.Without the guidance of wisdom, all the otherperfections, like generosity and ethics, are like agroup of people without a leader. (The DalaiLama, 1994, p. 179)Received 5 October 2017; accepted 4 February 2018Available online 17 February 2018This research was supported by the Templeton Foundationthrough a grant awarded to Michael Gerhard Luchs by theEnhancing Life Project, a project of the University of ChicagoSchool of Divinity and Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany. Thesecond author acknowledges the support of the McIntire Schoolof Commerce, University of Virginia.Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed toMichael Gerhard Luchs, Henry and Phyllis Shook Term Distinguished Associate Professor of Business, College of William &Mary, Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795, USA. Electronic mail maybe sent to [email protected]© 2018 Society for Consumer PsychologyAll rights reserved. 1057-7408/2018/1532-7663/28(3)/365–392DOI: 10.1002/jcpy.1037Wisdom is what you need to understand in orderto live well and cope with the central problemsand avoid the dangers in the predicaments humanbeings find themselves in. (Nozick, 1989, p. 267)(Wisdom is) the ideal integration of knowledgeand action, mind and virtue. (Baltes & Smith,2008, p. 56)If there is anything the world needs, it is wisdom. Without it, I exaggerate not at all in sayingthat very soon there may be no world. (Sternberg, 2003, p. xviii)Similar assertions are readily found in Assmann(1994), Csikszentmihalyi (1995), Fowers (2003), Hall(2010), Kekes (1983), and Maxwell (2014), amongothers.However, wisdom might seem to consumer scholars beyond the reach of most individuals, or too pretentious, ethereal, and intractable to investigate. Yetelsewhere, in psychology particularly, wisdomresearch has accelerated during the last 20 years (Baltes & Staudinger, 2000; Ferrari & Weststrate, 2013;Grossmann, 2017; Schwartz & Sharpe, 2010; Sternberg, 1990, 1998; Sternberg & Jordan, 2005). Takentogether, these works offer hope and insights to leadpeople toward higher discernment, and even excellence, in the ways they comport their lives.Despite this promising development, Grossmann,Gerlach, and Denissen (2016) note that there stillremains meager knowledge about wisdom in everyday life, which obviously includes consumer behavior. Accordingly, we explore and seek a rich,grounded understanding of the phenomenology ofconsumer wisdom through personal stories andviewpoints. Other projects in consumer psychologyusing a similar paradigm include Baker and Hill(2013), McGrath, Sherry, and Levy (1993), and Posavac (2009). Our main intended contributions are twofold. First, we develop from these data and a selectionof compelling wisdom literature a parsimonious theoretical framework consisting of five integrated facetsof consumer wisdom, the first of its kind in the field.Second, we employ the emergent framework to provide new directions for research on consumer wisdom, covering a range of topics and varied methods.Selective Literature Review on WisdomHistorical and Modern Sources. For centuries inboth Eastern and Western philosophies, livingwisely across activities and contexts has been considered the pinnacle of human behavior (Assmann,1994; Fowers, 2003; Hall, 2010; Walsh, 2015). Developing and enacting wisdom has also been identifiedas the principal manner by which personal flourishing and the common good are achieved and sustained (Ardelt, 2004; Csikszentmihalyi, 1995;Sternberg, 1998).The Oxford English Dictionary defines wisdomas the “Capacity of judging rightly in matters relating to life and conduct; soundness of judgment inthe choice of means and ends.” Put differently, wisdom is doing the right thing in the right way forthe right reasons to live a good life (Schwartz &Sharpe, 2010). Hence, as revealed below, wisdom’score mission of rightness and goodness continuallyinvolves values and morality (Baltes & Staudinger,2000; Fowers, 2003; Kekes, 1995; Sternberg, 1998).Different types of wisdom have been identifiedover the years. A renowned Aristotelian distinctionis that between phronesis, the practical kind (Fowers, 2003; Schwartz & Sharpe, 2010), versus sophia,the philosophical kind (Trowbridge, 2011). The former emphasizes observation and applied reasontoward the pursuit of specific objectives. The latteremphasizes introspection and intuition that evoketimeless first principles, including a holistic perspective through which commonly perceived boundaries dissolve (notably the Self (ego) versus theOther), as emphasized in Eastern perspectives suchas Buddhism (Mick, 2017). The last 35 years of psychology research on wisdom has concentrated onphronesis (Trowbridge, 2011). A sub-goal in our project is to probe for both types of wisdom in actualconsumer behavior.The significance of wisdom is counter-weightedby the recognition that it is among the most elusiveof concepts (Sternberg, 1990; Walsh, 2015). Not surprisingly then, there is neither a consensus definition nor a predominant theory (Gluck et al., 2013; €Grossmann, 2017; Trowbridge, 2011). There are alsodifferent emphases in empirical approaches, ranging from analysis of iconic wisdom figures (e.g., theBible’s King Solomon, Mahatma Gandhi, EleanorRoosevelt, Martin Luther King Jr.), to the collectionof primary data via interviews, diaries, surveys,and even experiments. Given the complexity of wisdom and diversity of approaches in examining it, aplentitude of positive human virtues and characteristics has been associated over the years with wisdom (as many as 48, according to MacDonald(2011) such as attentiveness, empathy, responsibility, patience, humility, equanimity, wonder, joy,and desiring the welfare of the whole). Within the366 Luchs and Mickrealm of modern empirical research on wisdom, thecharacteristics that emerge, including what theyentail, depends in part on the context of interestand research approach.Three Contemporary Social Science Streams onWisdom. Three wisdom research streams havebeen prominent in psychology and sociology overthe last two decades. The first is the Berlin paradigm in which researchers have examined howindividuals analyze and resolve difficult life problems through interviews with small samples ofolder adults who have been nominated by peers fortheir wisdom (Baltes & Staudinger, 2000). From thatorientation, the researchers define wisdom as “ahighly valued and outstanding expertise in dealingwith fundamental, that is, existential problemsrelated to the meaning and conduct of life” (Kunzmann & Baltes, 2003, p. 117). Properties of wisdomderived from the Berlin paradigm include theaddressing of significant and demanding questions(and related strategies) for coping with life’s vicissitudes; knowledge and humility about the limits ofknowledge and the uncertainties of the world; asynchronization of values, goals, and action; andthe use of knowledge and judgment for the wellbeing of oneself and of others.A second stream sources from Sternberg’s balance theory of wisdom. He maintains that wisdomis above all a metacognitive style, composed of theapplication of successful intelligence and creativityas mediated by values toward the achievement of acommon good. Such wisdom is attained through abalance among (a) intrapersonal, (b) interpersonal,and (c) extrapersonal interests, over (a) short, and(b) long terms by (a) adapting to existing environments, (b) shaping existing environments, and (c)selecting new environments (Sternberg, 1998, 2003).This dense conceptualization has strengths of focusing on the meta-functionality of wisdom (i.e., firstseeing the bigger picture of situations and decisionsin need of wisdom), the central role of balancingmultiple and often contradictory issues, the inescapable role of values and ethics, the importance ofboth short-term and long-term orientations, and arequirement to consider a wide range of stakeholders in anticipating the consequences of any particular decision or behavior. Despite its thoroughness,or perhaps because of it, the balance theory of wisdom has not been the focus of much empiricalresearch. Exploring this perspective is another subgoal of our work.The third paradigm focuses on wisdom as alatent construct with measurable dimensions. It hasbeen most notably developed by Ardelt (2003,2008), and more recently by others such as Bangen,Meeks, and Jeste (2013), Gluck et al. (2013), and €Thomas et al. (2017) (see also Webster, 2003).Ardelt portrays wisdom as a three-dimensional construct that melds cognitive, reflective, and affectivequalities. The first encompasses a desire to understand the deeper meaning of phenomena andevents in life, especially with regard to intrapersonal and interpersonal issues. The second involvesself-examination and the use of multiple perspectives to deal with different phenomena and situations. The third reflects compassion and sympathyfor others. From this orientation, Ardelt has developed a scale and shown that overall wisdom scoresare positively related to a sense of mastery and subjective health, among other variables.The dimensions of wisdom that emerge fromresearch depend, however, on the context understudy. Today’s sociopsychological research on wisdom has been primarily evident within the subfields of cognitive psychology, life span psychology,and gerontology. However, it is also appearing inapplied settings such as medicine, public policy,education, and leadership (Etheridge, 2005; Intezari& Pauleen, 2017; Plews-Ogan, Owens, & May, 2012;Sternberg, 2001; see website for the University ofChicago’s Center for Practical Wisdom). Consumerbehavior has not been the subject of any wisdomresearch until relatively recently.Limited Prior Consumer Research on Wisdom. Thewords wise and unwise have appeared occasionally inconsumer and decision-making research, yet nearlyalways in an informal manner, without regard towisdom literature (e.g., Bazerman & Greene, 2010,subsection title; Hammond, Keeney, & Raiffa,1998; Chapter 11 title; Schwarz & Xu, 2011;abstract; Zeckhauser, Keeney, & Sebenius, 1996,book title).Nevertheless, a recent conceptual paper by Mickand Schwartz (2012) proposed 12 qualities of wisdom for consumer behavior derived from prior literature (e.g., adopting a wide perspective, learningfrom prior mistakes). The authors then constructedand interpreted hypothetical consumer scenarios toillustrate the presence or absence of these qualities.The dozen separate qualities they proposed arequite defensible, yet arguably unwieldy and unintegrated as a theoretical base, and the lack of empirical evidence constrains linking wisdom moreexplicitly to tangible consumer experiences andphenomena.In the lone empirical effort to date, Mick, Spiller, and Baglioni (2012) recruited college studentswho were asked to keep diaries on their productConsumer Wisdom 367purchases (e.g., food, clothing), and to provide foreach a rating of its perceived wisdom. Hierarchicalmodeling analysis showed that buying eventsrated wiser (a) had evidence of stronger pre-purchase intentions, (b) involved more informationsearch before purchase, and (c) revealed consideration of more factors, such as different usage benefits. These insights are sensible too, but the concisediary data, the reliance on college students withrestricted financial means and a highly circumscribed context, and the narrow spectrum of examined purchases limit broader conclusions onconsumer wisdom.Summary. This brief review underscores thatwisdom is both an eminent and intricate concept.In light of this background, we believe it is appropriate for the purposes of our project to not uncritically assume or wholesale adopt theories or themesfrom one specific stream of prior research. Rather,we maintain that the most appropriate approach isto obtain first-hand consumer data on the wisdomphenomenon, and identify which aspects naturallyarise and can then serve as solid footing for furtherdevelopment of consumer wisdom theory. In support of this approach, Sternberg (1998), Grossmann(2017), and others have steadfastly maintained thatwisdom is domain-specific. That is, aspects of itsnature and significance will depend on whether thecontext, for instance, is parenting, law enforcement,medical care, or, in our case, consumer behavior.From such local sensitivity, research can inductivelydetermine which wisdom elements surface andapply most fruitfully.Nonetheless, based on centuries of writings andprior sociopsychological research on wisdom, wealso acknowledge up front that we began withcertain oft-emphasized insights that we thenlooked for with interest in our data. One is thatwisdom is integrative insofar as it is the mastervirtue that recruits and comingles certain other virtues as a situation demands (Ardelt, 2003, 2008;Schwartz & Sharpe, 2010; The Dalai Lama, 1994).Second, wisdom must often balance or take a middle-way approach to resolving alternative or seemingly incompatible goals and options and avoidingextreme responses in most cases (Schwartz &Sharpe, 2010; Sternberg, 1998). Third, wisdom’sleading objective is well-being, which is encompassed by a combination of the physical, economic, socio-cultural, psychological, emotional,political, and spiritual dimensions of life (McGregor, 2010; Ryff, 1989). While we find the predominant paradigms of sociopsychological wisdomresearch compelling and useful (as summarizedabove), we also consider and endorse Aldwin’s(2009, p. 3) criticism that most social scientists inwisdom research have under-assimilated sophia(philosophical wisdom).MethodologyPsychology research on wisdom has drawn fromthree approaches. They are known as (a) explicit (inwhich researchers use literature and logic tohypothesize a theory, e.g., Baltes & Staudinger,2000; Sternberg, 1998), (b) phenomenological (basedon the study of lived experiences, e.g., Montgomery, Barber, & McKee, 2002), and (c) implicit(based on people’s lay opinions on wisdom, e.g.,Clayton & Birren, 1980; Sternberg, 1985). Given thelong literature on wisdom, plus multipleapproaches to determine its sociopsychologicalqualities, our methodological thrust is hybrid bydesign. It involves keen awareness of prior theoriesand research (explicit approach) combined with discovery-oriented depth interviews (phenomenological approach) and, in the end, direct queries tointerviewees for ascertaining their views throughtheir words on the meaning of wisdom and wiseconsumption (implicit approach).Informant RecruitmentFollowing the Berlin paradigm, our sampling tactic was to identify and interview people who wereconsidered exemplars of wisdom in daily life (see,e.g., Baltes, Staudinger, Maercker, & Smith, 1995).Given that wise people typically do not classifythemselves as such—humility is a time-honoredtrait among wise individuals (Hall, 2010)—ourrecruitment approach was multi-staged and selective. In addition to seeking initial nominations ofwise persons (as described further below), we alsoused snowball sampling among the early informants. Overall, we conducted fieldwork stretchingfrom the Northeastern and Southeastern UnitedStates to the Midwest and West, using purposivesampling to pinpoint specific individuals whowould be well-suited for an investigation of consumer wisdom.The initial nominators that we approachedwere known gatekeepers in various organizationsacross several different communities. We met withcommunity leaders, such as the city coordinatorfor Residential Sustainability Outreach in Portland,Oregon, who then introduced us to principals inother local organizations. Since we did not yet368 Luchs and Mickhave the benefit of an established definition ofconsumer wisdom, we asked these individuals tonominate potential informants after we describedattributes from prior literature that are associatedwith wisdom in general. Specifically, invokingSternberg’s balance theory of wisdom (1998), wedescribed a wise individual as “a good decisionmaker who effectively balances heart and mind,is concerned as much with the future as with thepresent, and considers others’ needs as well astheir own.” We then conducted phone screeningswith each nominee and shared information aboutthe interview procedure and topic, described simply as “everyday decision making.” Next, wescheduled interviews to take place in informants’homes, except for two interviews that were conducted in neutral locations at the interviewees’request (see Table 1 for summary information onthe 31 informants).Interview ProcedureThe interviews averaged 90 min and each beganwith informants providing information about theirbackgrounds and lifestyles. Next, they werereminded that the interview was focused on “everyday decision making” and that we would usethe context of consumption behaviors for us tounderstand their approach (i.e., their personal philosophy and practices). We then asked them todescribe in detail a “significant consumption relateddecision” that they had made in the prior 6–12 months. We repeated this instruction for otherconsumption choices, eventually including thosethat they would consider to be relatively minorchoices. We probed as warranted at various stagesof consumer behavior, from need identification,search, and choice, to ownership, use, and (if applicable) disposition. At each stage, we asked forTable 1Informant Summary (Alphabetical by First Name)Name Age Gender Family status Occupation US region Community typeAlex 20s Male Single Student West UrbanAllen 70s Male Married Executive (ret) Southeast SuburbanBen 40s Male Married Self-employed yoga instructor Southeast SuburbanBernard 50s Male Married Teacher Midwest SuburbanBetty 60s Female Married Customer service West UrbanBill 90s Male Married Accountant (ret) Midwest SuburbanBob 50s Male Married Executive (ret) Southeast SuburbanBrent 40s Male Married Farmer Northeast RuralCaleb Teen Male Single Student West UrbanConnie 60s Female Divorced Permaculture educator West UrbanDale 60s Male Married Executive (ret) Midwest SuburbanHila 30s Female Married Customer service West UrbanIwona 30s Female Married Fitness trainer Southeast RuralJen 40s Female Married Farmer Northeast RuralJenn 40s Female Married Self-employed Southeast SuburbanJessamyn 30s Female Married Mother West UrbanJoel 50s Male Married Farmer/author Southeast RuralJohn 40s Male Married Farmer Northeast RuralKarma 40s Female Married Farmer Northeast RuralKristyn 40s Female Married Mother Southeast SuburbanLes 70s Male Married Administrator (ret) Southeast SuburbanLiz 30s Female Married Farmer Northeast RuralMatthew 30s Male Married Farmer Northeast RuralMonica 30s Female Married Administrator Southeast SuburbanNatalie 30s Female Married Consultant/journalist Southeast SuburbanOle 60s Male Married Physician West UrbanRandy 60s Male Married Salesman (ret) Midwest SuburbanRita 60s Female Divorced Self-employed executive coach Southeast SuburbanTeresa 40s Female Married Farmer Northeast RuralTom 60s Male Married Teacher (ret) West UrbanVickie 60s Female Married Accountant (ret) Midwest SuburbanConsumer Wisdom 369specifics, examples, and stories to fill in and roundout the experiences being shared.Finally, to take advantage of the opportunity ofan implicit approach to wisdom inquiry and toensure that we had not overlooked anything else inthe conversation, we introduced the terms “wiseconsumption” and “wise consumer,” and askedinformants to tell us what they thought these termsmight mean or entail in their daily lives. Wedeferred disclosing our specific interest in consumerwisdom until the end of each interview becauseprior research has suggested that people tend toconflate wisdom and intelligence (Sternberg, 1985)and we did not want to prematurely constrain ourconversations to a restricted layperson’s understanding of this complex and multi-dimensionalconstruct.Data and AnalysisInterviews were video- and audio-recorded, andfield notes were typed and elaborated within a dayof each interview. In total, 507 pages of singlespaced transcription notes were compiled andimported into the software program MaxQDA foranalysis. An initial high-level coding scheme wasdeveloped based on our review of wisdom researchconducted in psychology over the last 30 years.Guided by Spiggle (1994), the scheme was developed through iterations of inductive content analysis, which led to formal codes (wisdom facets), subcodes (facet dimensions), and memos related to theinterpretative analyses. As transcripts were marked,codes were added or expanded or, conversely, collapsed or deleted to reflect the emergent meaningsof each code and sub-code. Next, we revisited allcoded passages in a second comprehensive review,this time reviewing passages by code and sub-code.Throughout this final stage, we refined the memosand recoded passages as needed. In doing so, wewere able to distill the meanings and boundaries ofour codes toward the identification of the facetsand dimensions that collectively constitute the foundation for our emergent theoretical framework.FindingsOur analysis yielded five integrated facets of consumer wisdom that we label Intentionality, Contemplation, Emotional Mastery, Openness, andTranscendence. Figure 1 depicts the facets and theirdimensions as they relate to each other and to theirrespective emphases on personal and collectivewell-being. Table 2 provides the definitions for consumer wisdom and each of its facets and theirdimensions, and it also expounds on these dimensions through the cognitive, affective, and behavioral tendencies that comprise each.In the pages ahead, we define each wisdom facetand their respective dimensions, and we exemplifytheir lived nature through the interview data. ThisFigure 1. A graphical depiction of the theoretical framework of consumer wisdom.370 Luchs and MickTable 2Consumer Wisdom Definitions and TraitsConsumer wisdom is the pursuit of well-being for oneself and for others through mindful management of consumption-related choices and behaviors,as realized through the integrated application of Intentionality, Contemplation, Emotional Mastery, Openness, and Transcendence.Facet DimensionTraits (cognitive, affective, and behavioral characteristics and tendencies)Intentionality in wiseconsumption includesthe commitment to andpractice of ongoinglifestyle envisionmentand the consciouspersonal resourcemanagement needed torealize thisenvisionment.Lifestyle envisionment: the ongoingdefinition and pursuit of apersonalized, virtuous patternof living• Assumes personal responsibility for ongoing lifestyle management• Defines a meaningful lifestyle vision that aligns with values andresources• Decides how to selectively use consumption to enable envisionedlifestyle• Critically evaluates whether and how patterns of consumptionbehaviors support envisioned lifestyle• Limits consumption and material responsibilities to enable envisioned lifestyle by reducing resource needsPersonal resource management: arealistic planning andmanagement of fungibleresources to build and preservethe lifestyle that one aspires to• Actively budgets and manages a financial plan to afford envisioned lifestyle and save for unexpected needs and for the future• Practices caution and restraint; not-spending as the default• Periodically shifts budget allocations to make explicit trade-offsaway from spending that does not sufficiently contribute to envisioned lifestyle toward expenditures that provide greater value• Focused on real, personally relevant, and long-term value potential (skeptical of exaggerated claims of value, intolerant of poorquality, appreciative of great design, willingness to trade-offquantity of goods for quality, minimizes costs without compromising quality)• Resourceful and averse to waste• Extends value of goods as long as possible (caring for andrepairing possessions, yet limited attachment to possessions tomitigate investment of time and energy)• Avoids debt in general, with selective long-term investmentexceptions (home mortgage, education, etc.)Contemplation in wiseconsumption is thepractice of thoughtfulconsideration ofdiscrete consumptionoptions at a given timethrough retrospection,prospection, and prudentreasoning.Retrospection: situational andongoing reflection on theconsequences of one’s own andothers’ past consumptionchoices and behaviors• Reflects and learns from prior consumption choices and behaviors• Learns from others’ consumption behaviors, both directly andthrough observationProspection: imagining andsimulating the effects ofpossible consumption options• Imagines future outcomes and consequences• Researches product long-term reliability, costs• Simulates or tries product to experience possible purchase outcome• Borrows as a form of product trialPrudent reasoning: the thoughtfuleffort applied to makingdecisions by synthesizing,balancing, and reconcilingaccumulated knowledge,insights, preferences, and values• Knowledgeable about attributes of various consumption processoptions (e.g., online, retail)• Knowledgeable about the value and motivations of various market participants• Has practical knowledge about products and services in general• Seeks additional information about products and services toinform decisions• Considers multiple perspectives• Critically evaluates whether and how specific consumptionbehaviors serve their needs and align with values and lifestyle• Effectively integrates and uses procedural and factual information to make the best decisions(Continued)Consumer Wisdom 371Table 2ContinuedFacet DimensionTraits (cognitive, affective, and behavioral characteristics and tendencies)Emotional mastery inwise consumption isthe mindfulness towardand strategic use ofconsumption emotionsto enhance well-being,including an activeavoidance of negativeemotions and pursuit ofpositive emotions.Avoidance of negative emotions:recognizing the potential forand circumventing consumerbehaviors that could lead toadverse emotions• Avoids specific retail and other consumption contexts to preventtemptation• Seeks specific retail and other consumption contexts that promote wise consumption• Plans ahead to define intended consumption behaviors, goals, orconstraints prior to decision context• Recognizes potential for, and actively avoids, regret, guilt andstress in consumption choices• Displays patience and delayed gratification• Learns from prior consumption mistakes that led to negativeemotions• Avoids comparisons to others and aspirational spending• Does not obsess; avoids taking frugality, simplicity, and prudence so far that they consume too much time or cause stressPursuit of positive emotions: theactive pursuit of positiveemotions mediated byconsumption choices andbehaviors• Reflects on what they have, engendering a sense of gratitude• Enables pursuit of positive emotions and emotional states—suchas joy, harmony, and flow—through selective spending on tangible goods, services, and experiencesOpenness in wiseconsumption includesthe adoption of aconsumption-mediatedgrowth mindset, and theselective trial andadoption of alternativeconsumption practices.Growth mindset (Dweck, 2006): abelief that one’s personalqualities, including skills andintelligence, can be cultivatedby their efforts, strategies, andhelp from others• Attracted to products or services that provide new experiences• Seeks development of new skills and knowledgeAlternative consumption: nontraditional consumptionbehaviors, including consumerproduction/co-production,borrowing/sharing, buyingused goods, buying custom orsmall-batch produced goods,and actively extending thevalue of goods already owned• Co-creates, grows, makes, or fixes things on their own• Rents, borrows/shares as alternatives to ownership• Purchases used goods• Open to sharing or exchanging knowledge and skills• Seeks custom or small-batch items for self or for gifts• Open to unconventional means of value exchangeTranscendence inconsumer wisdom is anunreserved compassionfor all entities affectedby consumption and astrong sense ofinterbeing.Compassion: self- and otherdirected kindness and empathy,and a concern for the generalwelfare of others• A holistic sense of self, caring for self, and individuality• Prefers consumption options that promote local economy, businesses, and employees• Prefers consumption options that promote social well-beingthroughout the global supply chain and the world in general• Practices pro-environmental consumption• Avoids consumption or spending that harms animalsInterbeing (Hanh, 1987): anintuitive sense that all life isinterconnected• Prefers consumption categories and objects that promote relationships and connections with others• Prefers consumption contexts, processes, and behaviors that promote community and connection with others• Prefers consumption options and behaviors that promote a senseof connection with the natural environment and/or a sense ofspirituality372 Luchs and Mickmeans that our exposition is linear and sequentialas we elucidate the facets and their dimensions oneafter the other, which is largely universal andunavoidable for this genre of research. Yet, it is alsounnatural relative to actual lived experiences. Thatis, more than one facet or dimension is often evident through their co-occurrence and interrelatedness in specific illustrations and stories. As Bangenet al. (2013) emphasize, wisdom is a “multidimensional characteristic with the whole being greaterthan the sum of its parts (p. 6),” and “most conceptualizations [of wisdom] involve integration” (p. 5).Due to the importance and regularity of this themein wisdom research, we begin with one story fromour informant cases that reveals the wisdom facetsand their dimensions manifesting simultaneously(again, see Table 2 for definitions as these issuesinitially surface in the consumption story below).Following that, we disassemble the integrated facetsto provide more nuances on their individualappearance in consumer life.Consumer Wisdom’s Five Integrated Facets: AnIllustrative ExampleBrent lives with his wife, Teresa, and twoyoung children near Ithaca, New York. Across awide ranging interview, Brent chose at one pointto describe his approach to purchasing footwear,which raised issues and motifs that were also evident in other stories he shared about transportation, appliances, eyewear, and furniture. While anisolated footwear purchase may seem relativelyinconsequential when thinking about wisdom ingeneral, a majority of consumption manifests asthe accumulation of seemingly small decisionsthat consumers make every day about productssuch as food and clothing. Thus, the followingillustrates how even an apparently minor or mundane decision can be approached with the recognition of the significant relevance and impact ofthese choices in aggregate.Brent: And I’ll spend money on [sandals]—like Iwould much rather—if I have the money upfront—to just buy something good and enjoy it thanbuy some junky pair of flip flops for four bucksand then next year—or a pair of crocs and thennext year go buy another pair and never behappy. Like I really like design. I like materials.And so you pay it once, but then you—if you’reinto that kind of thing, it’s almost paying you ina way, to appreciate how it feels. You know I’llsit here—it’s kind of weird, but I’ll look at—I’llthink about it’s actually not that easy to design asandal. And think about how they cut the leatherand think about why they do it a certain way.And I saw like a video of how they make theBirkenstocks. So I find that really interesting,how they produce things. Then I actually found,like I said, I had my old Birkenstocks. Andthere’s a place online you can send in yourBirkenstocks in all different levels of disrepair.They’ll like resole them, they’ll recork them.They’ll even like just keep the leather andrebuild the whole Birkenstock. New buckles andeverything. For like half of what it costs to get anew pair. And I think that’s—I mean you’re notgoing to do that with a piece of junky shoes. It’sjust garbage. It’s garbage from the day you gotit. And then you feel crappy because your feethurt. And then you got to throw them out, andthen people do that again and again. I wouldmuch rather be like okay so I bought theseshoes. They were $130, and they should last melike, if I wear them all the time, five years orsomething. That’s not that much money. Whereyou buy one for $30 and you don’t enjoy it, andthe next year you got to buy another pair andanother pair and another pair. Or it just speaksto you in like a way—just the quality of it. Whenyou put it on or you see it, you just senseit. . .It’s the real thing. And it costs $200 becausethat’s what it costs. Because a person needs somemoney to make it. They have to make a living(40s, farmer).The story about Brent’s sandals is revelatory inregard to consumer wisdom, with all five facetsand several of their dimensions evident to differing degrees. First, with respect to Intentionality,Brent talked about his admiration and respect forgreat design as part of his lifestyle envisionment.This theme emerged at several points throughouthis interview in relation to a variety of products,including furniture. For Brent, well-designed products—especially the simplicity and functionality ofScandinavian design—create an environmentwhich he considers elegant and beautiful, andreinforce his sense of identity through their integrity, efficiency, and authenticity. He also pairs thisappreciation of design with a poised considerationof product cost: “. . .If I have the money upfront”(personal resource management). Second, withrespect to Contemplation, Brent considers thelikely consequences of two very different options(prospection), either the more expensive Birkenstocks or low cost “flip flops,” as well as hisConsumer Wisdom 373thought process for reconciling which alternativeis best over a longer period of time (reasoning).Next, both dimensions of Emotional Mastery areevident, including his concern with not wantingto “feel crappy because your feet hurt” and“never be happy” (avoiding negative emotions) andinstead wanting to “enjoy” the great design, and“appreciate how it feels” (pursuing positive emotions). His appreciation for the option of sendinghis sandals in for repair to extend their useful life(alternative consumption) reflects his Openness,given that spending money to restore shoes isatypical among most American consumers.Finally, as to Transcendence and its dimensionsof compassion and interbeing, Brent demonstratessincere compassion in terms of the welfare of themanufacturers’ employees: “. . .it costs $200because that’s what it costs. Because a personneeds some money to make it. They have tomake a living.” Hence, Brent identifies very personally with the employees’ challenges and thevalue of their craftsmanship.Overall, Brent sees complexity and beautywithin the apparent simplicity of sandals. Hisunadorned Birkenstocks are not so easy to craft,and his astuteness about their design, manufacturing, and repair unveils a mature wisdom aboutthe nature of human-made things. Other aspectsof Brent’s stories also reflect his wise consumption, including a blended consideration of valueand meaning through footwear and well-being inthis case, beyond the mere cost of ownership overtime. This includes the enjoyment and pride ofwearing shoes that are comfortable, that embodyhis admiration for thoughtful design, and that areconsistent with his compassion for others and hisdesire to feel bonded and connected to the worldaround him. Given this overview of Brent’s wisdom-infused story about sandals, we now turn tomore detailed development of each facet and itsdimensions.IntentionalityIntentionality in consumption emerges from theindividual’s continuing awareness of the inexorable and systematic role that consumptionbehaviors play in constructing and sustaining alifestyle, as well as from the individual’s acceptance of personal responsibility for the deliberatemanagement of a lifestyle within the confines ofavailable resources. More formally, we defineIntentionality in consumer wisdom as the commitment to and practice of ongoing lifestyleenvisionment and the conscious personal resourcemanagement needed to realize the respective envisionment. In terms of the coding of the interviews,all 31 informants (100%) conveyed at some pointthe theme of Intentionality.Lifestyle Envisionment. A recurrent trait of ourinformants was their recognition that they have theopportunity and accountability to define and pursue their own virtuous pattern of living through asynergy of time, money, effort, values, and consumption behaviors. Across our interviews, therewas, however, a wide variety of ways to enact thisshared mindset as well as a variety of sources ofinspiration. Some informants were raised within alifestyle whose inherent worth they recognize andendeavor to emulate. Others sought and realized achange of lifestyle after substantial reflection ontheir lives; at times, this trajectory came graduallyand for others it was catalyzed by a critical lifeevent. For Connie, wiser consumption throughIntentionality was precipitated by her divorce atage 40:Connie: I did a lot of changing and soul searching. . .I think it was getting out of the situationwhere I was in that I was stifled. I had alwayshad these beliefs, but mainstream kind ofpushes you along. It’s just like a stream. It’s agood word, “mainstream.” It just pushes youright into the next thing. Collecting Christmasornaments, that sort of mentality. I gotta getthe next ornament. And the consumer part ofit was so dissatisfying. It didn’t fulfill me atall. . . And so I had a suburban lifestyle andjust felt totally disconnected to my roots in thecity and my culture and the people that—Ithink the suburbs really do kind of isolate you.That same year, I also took the permaculturecourse. So things really shifted fast for me.That’s when I started realizing that I couldmake a difference in my own life with myown hands. So I started taking control ofthings that way (60s, permaculture educator).Connie’s pensive journey of transformation wasmotivated by a realization that her suburban lifestyle was suffocating her, which she attributes inconsiderable part to mainstream, hyper-consumption American culture. Aside from also feeling disconnected and isolated, her prior lifestyle felt atodds with her true but then-suppressed values.Over time, she awakened to the idea that she“could make a difference in my own life. . . [and]take control.” This epiphany instigated her return374 Luchs and Mickto the culture and community of metropolitan life,and the goal of orienting her lifestyle around herdual interests in environment and agriculture,which foster immense purpose and meaning forher. Now currently engaged full time in the practiceand teaching of urban permaculture, Connie’s newlifestyle reflects more accurately and more selfreliantly her values and priorities. Her Intentionality incorporates a robust linkage of values,knowledge, goals, and behavior that Baltes andSmith (2008) stress as a significant feature of wiserliving, and it also evinces an introspective and intuitive sophia-wisdom that she readily drew upon.Compelling examples of lifestyle envisionmentwere shared by other informants. On the one hand,a prevalent theme within many stories was a concerted effort to strongly regulate consumption generally; this included periodic purging of possessionsto simplify lifestyles and avoid feeling overwhelmed by material goods that required storageand maintenance. On the other hand, many storiesequally emphasized how consumption, when selectively exercised, can support the actualization ofenvisioned lifestyles. Vickie and Dale, for example,developed a welcoming home with comfortable furniture for the periodic dinner parties they organizeto fulfill their active social lives. What all thesestories share is purposeful and diligent lifestyleenvisionment that uniquely exhibits each wise consumer’s Intentionality while also promoting theirwell-being.Personal Resource Management. Our informantsconsistently described the importance of beinglevelheaded about planning and managing theirfungible resources to build and preserve the lifestyles they aspired to. Beyond the generation ofincome to afford their envisioned lifestyle, they alsoemphasized the need to save for unanticipated butnecessary expenditures, (e.g., a new roof for theirresidence). With respect to spending money, informants emphasized the development and effectiveuse of budgets in view of their focus on long- versus short-term costs and benefits (reflecting Sternberg’s, 1998 emphasis on the necessity of bothtemporal views in wisdom). Budget managementfor informants often included budget-shifting,which entailed the resolute periodic reallocation ofmoney from expenditures deemed to contribute lessto their envisioned lifestyle, such as cable television(in one case), to those with greater personal value,such as organic groceries or intercultural travel (intwo other cases). Another regular theme was theavoidance of debt, as informants perceived a reliance on debt to be a threat to the viability of theirenvisioned lifestyle. Mortgage debt, however, wasconsidered acceptable; yet even then, informants,such as Jenn, were cautious about what level ofmortgage debt was appropriate given her envisioned lifestyle and her resource managementobjectives:Jenn: And so we ended up buying this place.And afterwards—and I just went about it sort ofthe wrong—well not the wrong way, but not thenormal way that people do. Normally you go tothe bank and you say, “How much money willyou give me?” And I went instead and said,“Okay well this is how much I want to pay, andthis is how much I want to pay a month.” . . .And then we went to—afterwards when weactually went to the loan guy and we’re signingthe paperwork, I said, “All right, Paul wants toknow how much would you have given us?”And it was, you know, 150,000 dollars more thanour house. We could have bought a whole separate house with the amount of money theywould have given us. And I was like “that’scrazy.” I would’ve spent all of our money—wecould’ve made it, but why would I want tospend all of my money on the mortgage when Icould be spending this much money on themortgage and this much money on travel? Ordoing whatever I want. I don’t want to be lockedinto my house and I can’t ever leave it becausenow I don’t have any more money (40s, selfemployed).Jenn applied shrewd budget-shifting to one ofthe most consequential decisions that consumersface. Rather than being swept away by social orinstitutional influences—as mainstream mortgagelending is often driven by rules-of-thumb abouthow much one could borrow based on their income—Jenn’s astute approach was to consider her aggregate use of resources within the context of her envisioned lifestyle. Beyond ensuring ample resourcesfor other uses, and not being “locked into myhouse” (i.e., trapped by a bad financial decision),Jenn also mentioned peace-of-mind in knowing thatshe and her husband had the flexibility to adjusttheir use of resources and to absorb unforeseenchanges in their ability to generate income. In short,Jenn was both realistic and rebellious. Like Connieabove and other informants, Jenn refused to blindlycapitulate to taken-for-granted practices by the traditional marketplace.In addition to managing financial resources,informants also discussed the importance ofConsumer Wisdom 375managing another lifestyle-defining resource: time.For instance, Betty explained how she and her husband decided to cut back significantly on expenditures that they realized were not materiallycontributing to their envisioned lifestyle (such asnew clothing fashions) to reduce their incomerequirements and work schedules in favor of extradiscretionary time for activities that they enjoyedmore (such as cooking together). This too isunorthodox among US consumers. Work, consumption, money, and time were viewed as being inextricably linked by most of our wise informants,which is a guiding insight that many overworkedand overspent Americans are capable of comprehending and following, but are absentmindedly notapplying to their lives (Schor, 1991, 1999). TheIntentionality of wise consumption is thusly implemented through the judicious harmonizing of workeffort, income versus expenses, and discretionarytime to enrich well-being.ContemplationIntentionality and Contemplation have a reciprocal relationship in which wise consumptiondecisions are guided by conscious, forthrightintentions which, in turn, are informed by livedexperience and reflection upon ongoing choices,behaviors, and consequences. Although they areclosely related, Intentionality and Contemplationare distinguished by their orientation. WhereasIntentionality refers to a superordinate set of consumption intentions and the consumer’s collectivepattern of choices and behaviors over time, Contemplation deals directly with the specific, discreteconsumption choices and behaviors that consumersundertake on a daily basis. More specifically, wedefine Contemplation in wise consumption as thepractice of thoughtful consideration of discreteconsumption options at a given time through retrospection, prospection, and prudent reasoning. In all,28 of the informants (90%) displayed the facet ofContemplation.Retrospection. Consistent with prior wisdomresearch emphasizing the importance of reflection(Ardelt, 2003), as well as asking difficult questionsand learning from mistakes (Baltes & Staudinger,2000), our informants are strongly guided by situational and ongoing deliberation on the consequences of their prior consumption choices andbehaviors.Bob: When you acquire something, there’s allkinds of additional investment that’s requiredbesides you had to lower the amount of moneyin your bank account a little bit and hand it offto the purveyor of whatever it was. The learningcurve associated with using it, the maintenanceassociated with keeping it up, the amount oftime it consumes your thoughts as it relates towhat else it might be able to do for you. . .Andit’s an ongoing relationship, whether it’s a pieceof clothing that you use every day or you rarelywear and every time you look at it you feelguilty that you bought it one size too small. Or agadget that you had great hopes it would changeyour life, and it turns out to be kind of uselessbut you can’t bear to throw it away so it’s sittingon a shelf and you feel bad about that. There areall kinds of elements that have to do with something that you choose to purchase (50s, retiredexecutive).Beyond the immediate financial cost of a purchase, Bob emphasized the demands of learning touse and maintain new products, in addition to theopportunity cost of investing time on gadget learning that does not augment his well-being as he seesit. Furthermore, he recognized the emotionalexpense of dubious product choices in the past thatled him to feeling guilty (due to non-use) or to disappointment (due to unfulfilled expectations). Analogous to Bob’s viewpoint, our teenage informantCaleb described how his approach to consumptionwas shaped by the disenchantment he experiencedfollowing impulse purchases he made when he wasonly 6 years old (e.g., a “cool little statue” at amuseum gift shop which then stood idly on hisbookshelf and a Lego set that went untouched afterbeing assembled). Caleb learned, by implication, tobe cautious about quick decisions in certain settingsand about unbridled hopes or expectations thatoften go unmet. Caleb’s case also revealed, as somewisdom theorists have argued (e.g., Sternberg,1990), that years of adulthood are not a prerequisitefor developing key aspects of wisdom. This insightspeaks to the potential for people across the lifespan to be coached and encouraged in wiser consumption, beginning in early schooling years(Sternberg, 2001).Sometimes, other people in life provide lessonson consumer wisdom, whether knowingly or not.For example, several informants shared stories ofretrospection based on observing the experiences andconsequences of others’ consumption choices. Onewas Ben, who recounted his years of watching hisonce-wealthy grandfather buy one new car afteranother, seemingly “never satisfied with what he376 Luchs and Mickhad.” As Ben concluded, and lamented, “. . .I knewhow he approached life and I knew that he wasunhappy and I saw that connection. . .in a sense,I’ve really profited from his suffering in a way.”Prospection. Informants also devoted substantial effort to pondering the future outcomes ofimpending choices. As a complement to retrospection, prospection involves imagining the effects ofdifferent consumption options, which can beinformed by prior experiences as well as new anddifferent possibilities in a future situation. Dale’sstory of his interest in buying a new house isillustrative:Dale: I mean like I bought a house—we werelooking at a house on the Missouri side in myfirst marriage. And before we made the purchase, I actually got up early in the morning,drove out there, and drove from there to mywork. Before I even lived there. Just to feel whatthat was like. . . .I kind of imagine the day afterthe purchase. What is life going to be like? Is itgoing to do something in my life? Make me better? Make something improved in my life. And ifnot, then I back away. But is it incrementally better? Those kinds of things. And I do think it’swalking through this scenario of not buying ornot consuming. And that to me is—I sleep onthings. I actually don’t make purchases the firstday I start looking at things, unless it’s something real inexpensive. But the camera equipment, vehicles, all those kinds of reallysignificant purchases, it takes time. And part ofit is trying it on mentally and seeing if it reallyworks (60s, retired executive).Dale’s story disclosed his imperturbable practiceof visualizing the future outcome of a potential purchase, and even simulating it when possible. Inactuating this embodied cognition through drivingthe conceivable new commute, Dale approximatedownership so that he could more fully considerimportant questions such as to how he will actuallylive with a new possession, including how it willimpact his current routines. Notably, Dale’s prospection went beyond ordinary affective forecasting (i.e.,how will I feel about it?), which has been shown tobe often erroneous (Wilson & Gilbert, 2005).Instead, he showed remarkable forethought andforbearance in striving to envisage and pre-live theownership experience as conscientiously as possiblefor his overall well-being.Several other informants shared stories that alsoevinced prospection in consumer wisdom. Jessamyn,a mother of two young children, visualized the purchase of a high-quality, low-maintenance, underthe-counter water filtering system. Although it wasexpensive, she came to recognize that the systemwould streamline her busy days, bring healthydrinks to the dinner table, and save money over thelong term. Meanwhile, Tom, who was enticed byads for a new car model, soberly foresaw that thenew vehicle would not substantively improve thequality of his life that much, and it might evencause stress from what he termed the “worry aboutthings happening to it.”Prudent Reasoning. Unlike retrospection andprospection, which emphasize gaining perspective asan input to decision making, prudent reasoningaddresses the thoughtful effort applied to synthesizing, balancing, and reconciling the individual’saccumulated knowledge, insights, preferences, andvalues. Thus, prudent reasoning often follows retrospection or prospection, yet also integrates otherinformation, ultimately leading to a decision. Whilethis certainly requires persevering effort, our dataindicated that it was clearly and substantially evident. As prefigured in Tom’s consideration of anew car as mentioned above, prudent reasoningoften led to postponing or avoiding purchasingcompletely although the informant perceived aneed or desire to be fulfilled and had the necessaryresources to do so. For example, Ole, an urban family-practice physician, explained his closing decisionto pass on the purchase of a Prius hybrid (toreplace his gas-engine Subaru) despite his interestin doing so “just for the ecological impact.” Instead,his consideration of a variety of factors led to anunexpected realization that a new Prius would neither save him money, given how little he drove,nor have a positive environmental impact, giventhe resources used in manufacturing a new automobile to replace his current car.Prudent reasoning was not limited, however, tomajor purchase decisions such as buying an automobile. A less imposing choice was sunglasses:Brent: Like you can go to Target or Walmart andget a pair of sunglasses for $12. Why would youspend $120 on a pair of sunglasses? So theywould think that I’m sort of foolish or maybenot foolish, but just wasting money basically. Iknow some of my in-laws would think that.Especially since if you’re not affluent, like youdefinitely should not be spending that money onsunglasses. But then my argument is you got onepair of eyes and you should get really good sunglasses to protect your eyes if you’re out in theConsumer Wisdom 377sun all the time. Like that’s a smart investment.And also you’re going to buy ten pairs of thosecrappy sunglasses. They’re going to break andthey’re going to be all bent up. And at the endof the day you’re going to spend the sameamount of money, but you’re not going to be ashappy about it (40s, farmer).Brent’s slowed-down reasoning exhibitedmethodical consideration of several factors overtime in buying sunglasses, including cost, utility,comfort, and eye health. Brent told other consumption stories that demonstrated an overallethic of thrift, yet he also exhibited significantflexibility in actively exploring his options toensure apt solutions for his goals and values. Thisexample appears to present a paradox of sorts,given the desire of some of our wise informantsto not invest too much time in the process ofdeciding how and what to consume. However,Brent resolves this apparent paradox by cogitatingon the consequences of not selectively investingtime to enact prudent reasoning within thesedecisions:Brent: Like things own you as much as youown them. If something is breaking all the time,causing you frustration, it’s owning you. Sohow much is that worth? Is saving twelve dollars a year, is that really worth all that frustration, or would you rather just pay the whatevermore and enjoy it that whole time? That’ssomething I’m thinking about more and more,is the things that you own, own you (40s,farmer).Brent’s admonition that “the things that youown, own you” distinguishes a standpoint alsotaken by other informants, namely, that the extratime spent contemplating options—through retrospection, prospection, and prudent reasoning—is oftenjustified (a) by the time and money saved choosingproducts that last a long time, (b) by the routinizingof well-reasoned decisions over time (e.g., re-buyingproven goods and brands), and (c) by limiting consideration (and consumption) of goods and servicesto those that patently align with the consumer’svalues and goals.Taken as a whole, Contemplation exemplifies afirm commitment to mindfulness, as it is newlyemerging in consumer psychology (e.g., Bahl et al.,2016; Mick, 2017). Mindfulness is the act of beingmentally present in a nonjudgmental manner withrespect to both internal stimuli (e.g., thoughts,emotions, bodily sensations) and external stimuli.Hence, its essential benefit is in assisting people todisengage from automatic thinking and detrimentalbehavior patterns (Brown & Ryan, 2003). Bahl et al.(2016, p. 200) suggest that “mindful consumption isan inquiry-based process that endows consumerswith awareness and insight to choose theirresponses rather than react blindly or habitually.”The importance of mindfulness to wisdom is alsoevident in the next facet of consumer wisdom,Emotional Mastery.Emotional MasteryEmotional mastery refers to our informants’learning from consumption-related emotions,including mindful management of current situational and plausible future emotions. Thus, beyondregulation of emotions that might thwart consumers’ intended or preferred behaviors (Kidwell,Hardesty, & Childers, 2008), Emotional Masteryalso encompasses avoidance of behaviors thatmight lead to undesired emotional states such asregret, guilt, and anxiety. This can involve avoiding future frustrations in product ownership, asBrent described earlier. Alternatively, it caninclude the active pursuit and attainment ofdesired positive emotional states such as joy,peacefulness, and flow. Taken together, we defineEmotional Mastery for wise consumption as theawareness of and strategic use of consumptionemotions to enhance well-being. Such masteryincludes both an active avoidance of negative emotions and an active pursuit of positive emotions.Thereby, Emotional Mastery also reflects the balance theme in theories of wisdom (e.g. Schwartz& Sharpe, 2010; Sternberg, 1998) that emphasizes amiddle ground between the hedonism of materialism and the asceticism of denial. In all, 29 of ourinformants (94%) revealed a sensitivity to andcapacity for Emotional Mastery.Avoidance of Negative Emotions. Our informantsrecognized and circumvented consumer behaviorsthey believed could lead to adverse emotions. Ashared tactic was simply to stay away from retailcontexts and other situations that were likely toenergize product desire, which represents a wiseconsumer strategy of little focus in past research.Another well-honed tactic was to buy tried-andtrue products and brands rather than spending limited time and energy exploring new or less knownoptions. Whereas researchers have acknowledgedthis latter consumer strategy for many years, theyhave often characterized it as a simplistic heuristic378 Luchs and Mickor a status quo bias (Samuelson & Zeckhauser,1988), rather than being a relatively wise and defensible approach. However, our informants recognized the inevitability of facing ambiguousconsumption choices, the importance of noticingand contextualizing their emotional responses, and,when warranted, balancing these with a more contemplative stance:Dale: . . . I don’t let point-of-purchase decisionskind of rule me. Occasionally I’ll see somethingthat gave me a new idea. But I don’t go to thestore hungry. I do things like that to make surethat I don’t fall victim to sort of those emotionalkind of things. Which is what companies wantyou to do. Everything is targeted toward gettingyou to buy right now, today. Like cars even. Imean obviously their strategy is to not have youleave the store without something. And I don’tfall for that. I don’t go in there with the expectation to buy and don’t allow them to talk me intoit and just be disciplined about it . . .I don’t liketo make purchases I regret. And so that drivesme to really be happy with what I decide. And Irarely buy something and then I’m disappointedafterward. I rarely do, and I just hate—I thinkactually one time in my first marriage we boughta car. We bought a Renault Alliance, which waskind of a cheap-end Renault. And it was problems all the way through. We could never—thatcar was like a lemon. Gas would leak out of thegas tank and stuff. And they couldn’t find howto fix it. There were some of those purchases Imade back then that I regret. I wish I hadn’tdone that. (60s, retired executive).A vital element underlying Dale’s learned cautious attitude was a recognition of the motives ofmarketers and the promotional tactics employed toinfluence his feelings and behavior, also known aspersuasion knowledge (Friestad & Wright, 1994).While Dale does not question the purpose andvalue of the marketplace in general, he recognizesthat he has a concomitant responsibility to regulatehis emotional responses within the context of hisown needs and goals, such as not going to grocerystores when he is hungry. However, some informants expressed a balancing perspective in whichthey recognized that it is likewise essential not toexaggerate frugality and simplicity to a degree thatthey utilize too much time or cause themselvesstress, including a self-inflicted sense of scarcity.Beyond the initial acquisition of a product, informants also considered how consumption choiceswould affect them during ownership—as illustratedby Brent’s concern that “the things that you own,own you”—and eventually at disposition, such asthe worry of figuring out how to dispose of a product in an environmentally responsible way.Pursuit of Positive Emotions. Informants’ consumption stories also commonly oriented aroundthe pursuit of positive emotions. While informantstended to share an overall sense of gratitude andfeeling of abundance that did not rely on consumption per se, they also recognized the rolethat consumption could play in fostering theiremotional well-being without compromising theirfinances, values, and so forth. This includedeveryday pleasures such as locally produced food,including “fancy cheeses” (Natalie) and “freshpeaches” (Kristyn) as well as shopping in foodco-ops where the scrupulous selection of supplierscontributed to a more fulfilling shopping experience (Jessamyn). Other related purchase experiences involved travel that connected consumers’empathies to the larger cultural and naturalworld, or they involved distinctive products andpossessions that welled-up profound emotionssuch as cherishment, awe, and love. For example,Tom described his custom-built bike as “one ofmy prized possessions”:Tom: I went to a bike show, and he had a framebuilder who built the frames, then he built thebikes up. And he said I can probably put you inone of these for about 3,000 bucks or whatever. Ithink it was about 3,000, which was much lessthan I thought it would be, but also more than Iwas planning on spending. I was going toupgrade my bike anyway. And I just decidedthat in this case it’s worth it since—because asmy wife told me and I remember talking withmy sisters, they said you don’t get rid of thingsonce you get them. And it’s not as in a hoarderor anything like that. It’s just that you take careof them and you use them as long as you can.So now I’ve been riding this bike for thirteen orfourteen years. I’ve put maybe 25, 30, 35,000miles on it. You know, and just regular maintenance. And it just goes and goes and goes. But Itake really good care of it. I make sure everything’s working all the time. And I’ve picked upenough bike mechanic knowledge to be able todo most of the maintenance myself, unless it’ssomething big. . .But the bike itself, it’s a gorgeous bike. It’s not flashy. It just is built for me.They measure your legs, your arms, your shoulders—everything about you. And then theyConsumer Wisdom 379build the frame to fit you. It’s one of my prizedpossessions. . .Again, not that it’s terribly valuable, except to me. . . And I will have it forever(60s, retired teacher).Tom’s bicycle promotes his physical and emotional well-being in a variety of ways. Beyond thefitness that cycling fosters, Tom experiences deepsatisfaction in owning a “gorgeous bike” thatserves his unique needs (“built for me”). Thisstrong and meaningful appreciation of the bicyclefuels his diligent attention to preserving its enjoyment value for the long term, including learningnew maintenance and repair skills. In a sense, thislevel of engagement with a product such as abicycle, distinct from most brand or product relationships, may seem inconsistent with an intuitionthat consumer wisdom is inherently anti-materialistic and, therefore, should involve little emotionalconnection to material goods. However, Tom’sstory—consistent with those of several other informants—exemplifies how objects of wise consumption can provide authentic, healthy, and evocativeemotional significance for consumers (cf. Lastovicka & Sirianni, 2011). Nonetheless, despiteample financial resources, Tom’s aggregate level ofproduct ownership is comparatively low. Indeed,Tom actually has a “fewer but better things” philosophy which was evident in his participation ina tool library that lends tools to members as analternative to ownership (cf. Belk, 2010). Productownership for Tom—given its many and variedcosts—is typically limited to that which unambiguously provides him value over time, includingemotional value. A similar philosophy of productownership was described by other informants,including Brent, Ben, and Karma, who shared stories (respectively) about a wood burning stove, aboat, and a horse brass collection (plaques).OpennessAs nominated for their wisdom, our informantswere characteristically curious and regularly drawnto uncommon ideas and experiences, consistentwith a similar leitmotif described by wisdom psychologists (e.g., Gluck et al., 2013; Webster, 2003). €In our data, Openness was evident in two distinct,yet complementary ways. First, our informantsoften purposefully sought out new consumptionopportunities to impel personal growth and wellbeing. Second, they exhibited a readiness to experiment with and adopt unconventional consumptionpractices. More formally, we define Openness inwise consumption as adoption of a consumptionmediated growth mindset, and the selective trial andadoption of alternative consumption practices. TheOpenness facet appeared among 26 of our informants (84%).Growth Mindset. A growth mindset means thatan individual has a belief that their personal qualities—such as certain skills and even intelligence—“canbe cultivated through your efforts, your strategies,and help from others” (Dweck, 2006, p. 7). This samequest within wise consumption was highlighted byseveral of our informants through motivated spending that supported the expansion of competences(e.g., cooking, photography, public speaking). Forothers, the change sought was more fundamentaland directed their resources toward experiences thatwould afford fresh or unusual perspectives, which isa focal component of wisdom generally (see, e.g.,Ardelt, 2003; Baltes & Staudinger, 2000).Kristyn, a stay-at-home mother of five, describedone of the extended international trips that her family has taken to regions such as Eastern Europe andAfrica that are atypical for a vacationing Americanfamily. Kristyn explained that she and her husbandare stirred by the adventure and lessons of seeingdifferent cultures and places, and by her children’sdevelopment from not only getting a different perspective but also “having to adjust”:Kristyn: We see a lot of poverty. We see a lot ofdifferent kinds of interactions. People that sweepthe streets for a living. Women that are hunchedover and they’re cleaning up the gutters. Andmy kids are just observing all that and saying,“Wow this is the way a lot of people live in thisworld.” So their gratitude, their compassion—things that I want them to learn. This is a way tolearn those things (40s, mother).While these trips depend upon diligent budgetmanagement throughout the year for Kristyn andher husband, they are deemed essential nevertheless to their children’s and their own moral maturation. Though full of cultural wonder, these tripsalso provide a mind-widening perspective on thechallenges of everyday life in many other parts ofthe world. In addition, as Kristyn explained, theexperiences lead the entire family to a realizationand endorsement of empathy, compassion, andgratitude that motivate their serving others withintheir own community.Informants’ stories also suggested that uniqueexperiences can have a profound effect on how theyapproach consumption itself overall. For instance,380 Luchs and MickAlex described the formative experience of living ina co-op as an undergraduate college student. Whileadmitting that he lived there initially because he“needed a place to live kind of desperately and didnot have anything available,” he credited the experience with unexpectedly and fundamentally changinghis attitudes toward consumer behavior, especiallyfor the wiser. To illustrate, he described a recent decision to buy and repair a used basket for his bicycle:Alex: . . . it’s less about saving money because Ican’t afford to get a bike basket ‘cause I couldafford to get a bike basket and it wouldn’t besome sort of inordinate strain. I don’t know. Itjust is more satisfying. In that co-op in collegewas sort of the beginning of it. And I use that asa way to like think about a lot of other thingsbeyond just that house and that specific periodof time. But that was sort of the culture, youknow, just sort of figure things out and improvise things (20s, student).Alex’s Openness to learning through life at theco-op—including development of a greater sense ofresourcefulness and self-sufficiency—helped himappreciate more options for his consumption activities in general.Alternative Consumption. A natural consequence of informants’ Openness to change is a willingness to tryout and occasionally embracenontraditional consumption practices, as describedby Alex above (see also prior stories, e.g., Betty).Our informants regularly questioned widelyaccepted consumption practices in favor of alternatives that they perceived to offer greater value orenhanced fulfillment. Examples included acquiringdistinctive goods that offer singular or superiorbenefits, or adopting practices that minimize theassociated expenditures of consumption, such asthe costs of purchased physical goods and/or theirstorage, maintenance, and repair. Furthermore, alternative consumption practices were perceived as away to provide benefits beyond traditional utilitarian and hedonic attributes, such as personal connection and enactment of Other-oriented values.Alternatives in consumption span a continuum ofoptions, with mass-market goods being oftenviewed as the option of last resort, rather than thedefault. Five alternative strategies along this continuum, which we now briefly describe, include (a)consumer production/co-production, (b) borrowing/sharing, (c) buying used goods, (d) buying custom or small-batch produced goods, and (e)extending the value of goods already owned.Consumer production and co-production arecases in which the consumer contributes in wholeor part to the manufacture of a good or service(Etgar, 2008). Several informants produced theirown goods for personal consumption (typicallyfood, apparel, or crafts) or to share and barter withothers (informants: Brent, Connie, Iwona, Jenn, andJen). These practices simultaneously provided asense of freedom from the mass economy and astrengthened connection to other people whoshared the same ethic and dedication to differentforms of value exchange (cf. Kozinets, 2002). Coproduction was a practice that also included buyingused goods with the intention to repair them orotherwise enhance their value (e.g., Alex, Brent).Within the realm of services, several informantsalso participated in neighborhood “work-parties”(Connie, Caleb) that called neighbors together on aperiodic basis to complete significant home or garden projects that benefited from the pooledresources and expertise of a group.Some informants endeavored to borrow, share,and exchange goods informally with friends andneighbors, while others took advantage of emergingorganized networks that apply the logic of booklending libraries to a growing range of physicalgoods (Belk, 2010, 2014). Among our informants’examples was “Swapnplay,” a local clothing andtoy exchange that Jessamyn joined over 4 yearsago, and a tool library mentioned before by Tom.Beyond minimizing the personal costs of tool ownership, Tom described other benefits of the toollibrary, including extending his social network,gaining access to information about tool usage andmaintenance, and reducing environmental impact(less ownership means less resource use).When purchasing and owning goods was justified or, indeed, was the only viable option, someinformants sought substitutes to purchasing newlymanufactured goods, sometimes leading to nontraditional benefits. Caleb explained that he prefers toshop at the Buffalo Exchange, a used-clothing store,because the clothing there can be “more cool” precisely because it is not brand new, which he sees asan advantage beyond the lower cost per se: “It’sbeen around for a while. Someone’s worn it and it’skind of had a past.” Other informants argued thatolder products can sometimes have superiordesigns (to new ones) that are more functional, durable, repairable, and beautiful, such as toasters(Karma) and trucks (Brent).When informants did consider new goods, theywere inclined whenever possible to seek out custom-made or small-batch goods, often from local orConsumer Wisdom 381regional producers. This was especially true in giftgiving. Informants soundly preferred to give, andto receive, things that reflect the individuality oftheir relationships as well as the extra effort neededto locate the most appropriate ones in terms of therecipient’s identity and interests (Belk, 1988, 1996).For example:Brent: . . .like I have a belt on that Teresa gotme. The belt buckle is sentimental. Someonegave it to me a long time ago. And it’s a brassbuckle. It’s been sitting around in a drawer foryears. And she finally brought it to a leatherworker here in town. They do amazing leatherwork. And now every time I put my belt on, Ithink about that person, and it’s really cool. Andit was like—I don’t know, she probably spentfifty bucks or forty-five bucks on it. And shecould’ve gotten—she could’ve gone to a store intown and probably got a decent, an okay leatherbelt for twenty-five dollars. But it’s worth—like Iknow the woman that made it. I know the wholestory behind it. And it’s like I’ll have the belt fora long time. So that’s worth—the ten bucks is somuch more worth that (40s, farmer).A final tactic, which bespoke of consumptionthat the mass marketplace works against, was todeliberately extend the value of things alreadyowned. Whether our wise consumers did it primarily for practical reasons (e.g., saving money)or for ideological reasons (e.g., to conserveresources), they endeavored to regularly prolongthe life of their possessions through maintenanceand repair. And when the personal value or useof a possession became sufficiently low, ownersoften offered its residual value to others, forexample, by selling, trading, or donating it, or by“re-purposing” the object. For example, Karmaillustrated this dimension of consumer wisdomwhen describing secondary uses for a variety oftypical household items, including old flowerpots, plastic containers, and clothes. She alsoemphasized her family’s goal to “use things untilthey are completely worn out and have to moveon to some other world.” Overall, our wise informants were keenly open to consuming differentlyin many situations as compared to what mainstream consumers tend to do.TranscendenceOur informants revealed Transcendence as asincere and persistent concern for the impact oftheir consumption on others and a recognitionthat consumption inevitably flows from and reinforces higher-order motives and values such askindness, gratitude, and love. Accordingly, severalof our informants’ stories built atop Sternberg’s(1998) emphasis on balancing intrapersonal, interpersonal, and extrapersonal interests. Theseaccounts revealed the philosophical wisdom ofsophia that Trowbridge (2011) depicts as an intuitive knowing of what is right and good, oftenmanifesting in a dissolution of the Self-Otherboundary. Hence, we conceptualize Transcendencein consumer wisdom as an unreserved compassionfor all entities affected by consumption, invokedthrough a conviction of the interconnectedness ofall life forms, which the Buddhist monk ThichNhat Hanh (1987) calls interbeing. Across ourinformants, 27 (87%) disclosed aspects of Transcendence.Compassion. Informants showed a stalwartpersonal accountability for their consumption asoriented around motives and behaviors of kindness and empathy, ordinarily beginning with selfcompassion. This focus, in turn, facilitated agreater concern for the welfare of others, startingwith their immediate families. These insights wereespecially evident in consumption stories by informants who were parents of younger children.Their children were particularly instrumental incatalyzing a more Other-centric perspective (informants: Hila, Jessamyn, Brent, Teresa, Ben, Karma,and Monica). Compassion beyond the selfincluded not only multifaceted caring for otherpeople, but also for the natural environment. Several informants framed their relationship to thenatural environment as stewardship (Joel, Ben,Hila), invoking responsibility to provide protectionand promote healing. As Joel said, “. . .as much aslies within you, you know, is this healing or hurting—the earthworms, your community, culture,your children, the landscape your children willinherit.” And Jassamyn offered, “It’s beautiful andamazing. There’s not another earth near us. . .herewe are on this amazing place. We should really betaking care of it.”Compassion revealed in wise consumption wascultivated through a variety of sources, includingobservation of others, informational reading, andreligion. Such was the case for Hila, who discusseda variety of her choices—both anti-consumptionand pro-consumption—from refusing to apply fertilizer on her lawn to buying from a local farmerwhose practices support animal welfare and eliminate non-recyclable packaging:382 Luchs and MickHila: And so even though I don’t actively participate in a Christian church, I still feel like Ihave a lot of the fundamental values. TheGolden Rule I would say is probably the onethat I still follow the strongest. Treat otherslike you want to be treated. And I feel like“others” applies to more than just humanbeings. I think that “others” is the animals andplants and the environment and all of that. SoI would say that one place is from my Christian upbringing. And then I would also saythat it’s from watching other people and seeinghow people live, that when I see somethingand I’m like that makes sense to me. Like thatperson is really practicing what they preach. . .And so I guess that’s how I’ve continued todevelop my moral code is when I see something or I read something or I hear somethingthat resonates deeply, I guess I just sort ofbring that in as part of the whole moral code(30s, customer service representative).Hila portrayed her “moral code” as both embedded and dynamic in her life. While it was bornefrom the “fundamental values” of her religiousupbringing, this code was also influenced by ideasshe has read about or the behaviors she hasobserved that “resonate deeply.”For Hila and others, compassion is explicitly seenin wise consumption behaviors that implicate avariety of specific issues that have been studiedwithin the growing body of research on sustainableconsumer behavior, that is, consumption thatreflects pro-environmental or pro-social concerns(Luchs, Naylor, Irwin, & Raghunathan, 2010;Prothero et al., 2011). Informants’ stories collectivelyaddressed environmentally responsible practicesacross the product lifecycle, such as choosing products that minimize the various impacts of production, extending the life of products as long aspossible, and adopting responsible disposing practices. The range of social issues identified was similarly broad, and ranged from concerns aboutpromoting local communities, the preservation ofinternational cultural diversity in the face of thepressures of economic globalization, and the welfareof others throughout the global supply chain.Interbeing. Informants’ consumption storiesalso revealed their efforts to develop relationshipswith others, as well as to recognize and cultivateconnection throughout the world around them asan elevated sense of interconnectedness and sharedexistence. This interbeing manifested in possessionsthemselves, as for example in the cases of Caleb’sused shirts and Brent’s custom-made belt buckle, asdiscussed earlier. It also emerged from the consumption process, such as shopping in locallyowned stores (Joel, Teresa, Rita, Liz, Hila) and participating in product lending libraries or exchanges(Tom, Jessamyn). These activities to varying degreesspeak to the most important determinant of healthand happiness—namely, robust relationships—according to the Harvard Study of Adult Development that began nearly 80 years ago (Mineo, 2017).Beyond feeling connected to their local communities, informants also sought a sense of co-existencewith nature and an experience of kinship with distant others, for example, through travel:Tom: And I realized the first time we took kind ofa major trip out of the country, it just broadensyour horizons, your way of looking at things. Itmakes the world a bit smaller. You get out toplaces, and you realize you can be in NorthernItaly, you can be in Eastern or Central Turkeywhere it’s all agrarian. You can be in a giganticcity like Istanbul. . .And the people are just likeus, for the most part. They’re kinda like us. Imean, they’re going about their lives. They’refriendly, they’re outgoing, they’re helpful. . . Ifyou’re standing around with a map on a streetcorner, somebody’s likely to walk by and want tohelp. So I think it’s the notion of just how connected we all are as people and how similar wereally are in spite of our society maybe being different from how theirs is run. . . (60s, ret. teacher)Tom and his wife were inspired to visit Turkey,despite being “nervous about the political situation,”to experience a vastly different culture with a richand lengthy history. Tom also reflected on the peoplethey met, which he described as “kind of like us” andthen noted how “connected we all are as people.”Finally, many informants discussed consumptionbehaviors as impelled by, and as an embodimentof, their beliefs in the sacred. While these beliefs areunderstood and described by informants from theperspective of a variety of religious practices andspiritual traditions (cf. Mathras, Cohen, Mandel, &Mick, 2016), informants shared an overarchingdrive to experience belonging, goodness, andwholeness that extends across and beyond thematerial earthly world. For example, Bettyexplained a dramatic shift away from her fashionoriented lifestyle as follows:Betty: And so I really was kind of putting energyout there searching for something else. . .And soConsumer Wisdom 383it was really wanting a different—almost a different spiritual practice. Because we don’t go tochurch. But I wanted something that was deeper.I think it’s, I feel like. . .the earth is a gift, and Ido believe in a greater power. And so I think weshouldn’t be taking it lightly (60s, customer service representative).Similarly, Ole explained that his choice to bevegan was itself a form of spiritual practice:Ole: Veganism saves on the environment, saveson the planet, and it’s kinder to animals. And wehave this vegan spirituality group that startedjust a few months ago to explore how veganismrelates to spirituality. So I consider myself a spiritual person. I’m an atheist, but atheism does notnegate spirituality. Spirituality is how you dealwith other beings (60s, physician).Rita framed her consumption philosophy inmore explicitly religious terms:Rita: I believe that God—that we’re sent herewith a hole. There’s this hole in us. And we fill itwith alcohol. We fill it with food. We fill it withshopping. We fill it with all of these worldlythings, and God wants us to fill it with him. Seeit’s this missing piece. . . .But I believe when youfill it with Him, that’s the joy inside and that’sthe peace inside that allows you to look at theworld instead of stuff (60s, self-employed executive coach).Joel did as well:Joel: And so the question every day is wellwhat would God do. I mean, you see the bracelets, What Would Jesus Do, your WWJD.And I think that’s a fair question. I think it isa fair question because we do make so manydecisions at an unconscious level. We just do itbecause everybody else is doing it or becauseit’s the thing to do or whatever. And we wantto ask, “what is the right thing to do?” (50s,farmer/author).He continued by relating individual choices tothe collective impact of consumption, includingshared experiences and responsibilities:Joel: But I think if we could live moment bymoment with that level of just awareness that Iam a speck, but I’m also part of the cumulativemass of what we do. . .you might think thatyou’re insignificant, but you have to understandthat where we are right now is the physicalmanifestation, it’s the cumulative effect of trillions of little decisions. Trillions of them. Andwhere we’re going to be in fifty years will alsobe the result of trillions of decisions. And soyour decisions do matter, they really do (50s,farmer/author).Overall, through their consumption choices andbehaviors, several of our informants revealed amulti-sourced ethos of interbeing.General DiscussionIf consumers were wiser, they would certainlyserve a more constructive and influential role inimproving quality of life for themselves and forothers. Our main objective was to provide relatednew insights and to propel future research throughthe field’s first empirically grounded theoreticalframework of consumer wisdom. As we revealedand elaborated, the framework consists of fivefacets that harbor various dimensions (see Table 2).Drawing all together, we induct from our data andframework the following formal definition of consumer wisdom:Consumer wisdom is the pursuit of well-beingfor oneself and for others through mindfulmanagement of consumption-related choicesand behaviors, as realized through theintegrated application of Intentionality, Contemplation, Emotional Mastery, Openness, andTranscendence.We now juxtapose consumer wisdom to priorpsychology research on wisdom and compare it toother constructs and decision approaches in consumer behavior. We then summarize limitations ofour research and identify opportunities for futurescholarship.Juxtaposing Consumer Wisdom to Previous PsychologyResearch on WisdomOur approach has been to explicitly consider andto selectively absorb prior wisdom research toguide knowledge advancements on consumer wisdom. Naturally then, our theoretical frameworkreflects aspects of wisdom attributes from extantparadigms in psychology. For example, our384 Luchs and Mickframework incorporates the balance metaphor inthe pursuit of well-being both for oneself and forothers, as advocated by Baltes and Staudinger(2000) and Sternberg (1998) and as illustrated inFigure 1. Furthermore, our theory parallels theapproach taken by Ardelt (2003, 2008) and otherswho treat wisdom as a latent measurable construct.However, our theory is unique and specific—ratherthan general—insofar as it is derived from andfocuses on the context of consumer behavior.To gain some perspective on how our theoryconverges with, and diverges from, other multidimensional conceptualizations of wisdom in psychology, we draw from Bangen et al. (2013), whoreviewed 31 articles that proposed a definition ofwisdom and/or developed and validated a wisdomscale. Their review uncovered five components ofwisdom that were present in at least half of thereviewed literature: social decision making and apragmatic knowledge of life; prosocial attitudes andbehaviors; reflection and self-understanding;acknowledgement of uncertainty; and emotionalhomeostasis. Other dimensions appeared as well,but were present in less than half of the reviewedliterature (e.g., value relativism/tolerance; opennessto new experiences; spirituality; a sense of humor).As expected, there are some clear-cut similaritiesbetween prior psychological conceptualizations ofwisdom and certain aspects of our consumer wisdom framework. First, in both there is a focus oneffective decision making. This theme is mostprominent in our framework through the dimension of prudent reasoning within the facet of Contemplation. However, the context of our work andrelated findings are quite different since we addresslarge as well as small consumption behaviors andrelated patterns, whereas the wisdom literature hasoften concentrated on interpersonal relationshipsand key life challenges, including work, health,aging, and end-of-life. Second and third, generalwisdom and consumer wisdom share a prosocialfocus as well as an emphasis on reflection, the latterbeing most apparent within our framework’s facetof Contemplation and related dimensions of retrospection and prospection. Fourth, both general wisdom and consumer wisdom emphasize themanagement of emotions; however, whereas thefocus within psychology is on emotional stabilityand self-control, our facet of Emotional Masteryhighlights both the avoidance of negative emotionsand the pursuit of positive emotions in an effort tofoster well-being.In contrast, there were several themes or dimensions of wisdom that emerge as especiallyimportant to consumption but which appear onlyoccasionally in conceptualizations of wisdom inpsychology. Specifically, whereas openness andspirituality surface intermittently in psychology(Bangen et al., 2013), they serve a fundamental rolein consumer wisdom as depicted in our facets ofOpenness and Transcendence (especially in thedimension of interbeing). Conversely, a frequentdimension of wisdom in psychology is theacknowledgment of and coping with uncertainty.Interestingly, this aspect of wisdom was not widelyevident in our data, though not entirely absenteither. It may be less evident in consumer wisdomdue to the different nature of the challengesencountered relative to general wisdom (e.g.,choices about lifestyle and purchases as well asreadily searchable information and options vs.evolving interpersonal relationships, aging, andexistential dilemmas about purpose and meaning).Furthermore, while a sense of humor has beenoccasionally identified in general wisdom, it washardly noticeable in our data, perhaps also due tothe different types of wisdom-related challengesacross these contexts.Comparing Consumer Wisdom to Other Constructs andDecision Approaches in Consumer BehaviorIt is also important to recognize how wisdomgenerally, and consumer wisdom specifically, aredifferent from other constructs and decisionapproaches. With respect to other constructs, thismatter was taken up in detail within psychologyseveral years ago by Sternberg (1998), and againmore recently by Meeks and Jeste (2009) and Grossmann (2017). As they argue, wisdom is not thesame as knowledge, creativity, or intelligence (cognitive, social, or emotional), although wisdom maydepend on one or more of these in different situations of judgment and decision making. Unlike wisdom, none of these is fundamentally values- andmorals-oriented, or consistently concerned with thelinkage of values, goals, and behavior. Nor are theybased in human qualities or processes such asmindfulness or transcendence. In further contrast,they are also not bolstered by equanimity (moderation) or the balancing of the diverse interests andwelfares of affected parties in a pending decision oraction. And they are certainly not ultimately aboutwell-being or the common good, as wisdom is.Thereby, it makes sense that well-being—as measured by greater life satisfaction, less negativeaffect, better social relationships, and greater longevity—has been shown empirically to depend onConsumer Wisdom 385wise reasoning, but not on intelligence (Grossmann,Na, Varnum, Kitayama, & Nisbett, 2013).In parallel argumentation, we maintain that consumer wisdom is not identical to consumer expertise, variety seeking, high persuasion knowledge,being a market maven, or a high need for cognition,to name five noteworthy consumer constructs thatmay guide consumer wisdom in some situations,but which are not synonymous with it. None ofthose constructs or any others we are aware of inthe field are founded on a holistic and integrated setof facets comparable to Intentionality, Contemplation, Emotional Mastery, Openness, and Transcendence in the quest for a good and flourishing life.Consumer wisdom is also not the same as beingsmart. That concept has been most developed asthe smart shopper phenomenon (Schindler, 1998),and it exclusively relates to taking timely advantageof retail promotions that lead to consequent feelingsof pride and achievement. Consumer wisdom cansurely involve getting a favorable deal for a consumer product, but it would also recognize thatthere are times when an insistence on cost savingmay deter from choosing a more fitting and morefulfilling option for the consumer’s needs andresources, both short term and long term.And while several of our interviewees consciously led modest, ecologically informed livesacross their consumption activities, this does notmean that a concept like voluntary simplicity (VS)is tantamount to consumer wisdom. Historically,VS has been almost singularly tied to the pro-environmental movement; it has manifested at times asan extreme form of anti-consumption ideology, andin recent years it has been identified primarily as aconsumer subculture (Belk, 2011). Consumer wisdom as developed here can encompass aspects ofVS through the former’s mission to advance thecommon good, and through its Transcendence facetand interbeing dimension. However, consumer wisdom typically favors moderation (not extremes) inmost things, and it is broader than the usual VSfocus on environmental issues. Our data indicatethat a consumer can be wise or wiser without anynecessary allegiance to VS.In comparison to prior decision-making paradigms, wisdom may seem at first glance akin tothe classical, hyper-rational “economic man”model, at least in the sense that both seek to promote the interests of the individual decisionmaker and both presume that the individual iscapable of exceptional psychological performance.However, beyond those resemblances and theobvious distinction that wisdom equally considersthe welfares of other stakeholders (human andnon-human), there are other important differencesbetween consumer wisdom and economic rationality. For example, while consumer wisdom alsodepends on thorough deliberation, it uniquelyincorporates significant roles for humility and resilience (learning from mistakes), as well as humanintuition and experience-tested successful heuristics (cf. Gigerenzer, 2014). Consumer wisdom, asour data revealed, perceives life generally, andthe economic world specifically, as an ever-changing and byzantine assortment of options,demands, and constraints toward which the wisest thing to do is often a matter of “robust satisficing” (Schwartz, 2015). The wisdom approachacknowledges limits and flaws in human information resources and processing (e.g., Sternberg,2005), as does behavioral economics (Thaler &Sunstein, 2008), which largely razed the classicalmodel over the last 30 years. However, completely unlike the classical model or behavioraleconomics, consumer wisdom is established onequanimity, moderation, discretion, and strongdoses of gratitude and self-knowledge (includingpersonal values) for improving and maintainingwell-being.Another paradigm on decision making for comparison to consumer wisdom was developed byHammond et al. (1998), and also called “smartchoices.” Their model proceeds through six steps:define the problem, establish objectives, identifyalternatives, compare alternatives, make trade-offsbetween objectives and alternatives, and make aselection. This orientation has much in commonwith standard cost–benefit analysis (Bennis, Medin,& Bartels, 2010). Both of these approaches are predominantly cognitive, lock-step, and rule-boundacross situations. In contrast, consumer wisdom isby its nature more adaptive and context-fitting(Schwartz & Sharpe, 2010), and it places muchheavier emphases on balancing the decision’simpact for short-term and long-term time horizons,on the decision’s potential effects on other beings(ecologies included), on the injection of values andethics throughout, on the occasional need for intuitions or heuristics, and on a steadfast mission forthe common good. Collectively, these are not issuesthat other consumer decision-making paradigmsaccentuate, if even acknowledge at all.LimitationsOur project used a purposive sample, which istypically small and narrow by definition, but which386 Luchs and Mickalso facilitates a depth of exploration into complicated topics that the informants are consideredespecially pertinent to. The approach we took—seeking wise individuals nominated by their communities and colleagues—has been used effectivelyby prior wisdom researchers. However, we couldnot know with certainty in advance that these individuals were truly wise as consumers. We had totrust the nominators that most of our intervieweeswere capable of revealing important insights aboutwise consumption. Once a scale of consumer wisdom is developed (see below), it can be used in thefuture to screen or isolate informants who meet criteria for being a wise consumer. It also remains tobe determined if the same five wisdom facets thatwe unveiled would arise in interviews with consumers from a different or more diverse profile ofsocioeconomic classes, ethnicities, and so forth. Similarly, our present findings are based solely on theUS cultural context, and remain to be consideredfor their appropriateness to and priorities in consumer wisdom as it manifests in other cultures.Future ResearchDespite the dearth of consumer research on wisdom, discrete aspects of wisdom are implicit withinour literature. Table 3 provides a limited yet illustrative list of prior consumer research that may helpto further demonstrate the holistic nature of consumer wisdom, provide insights into each facet anddimension of consumer wisdom, as well as stimulate thinking about opportunities for futureresearch. Next, we identify in more detail someadditional research opportunities involving a variety of theoretical, substantive, and methodologicalconsiderations.Theoretical and Substantive Considerations. Wisdom is as pertinent and essential to consumption asto any other domain of life. As an ideal, however,being a wise or wiser consumer cannot occur inevery decision, in every situation, that a personfaces. So the logical first questions for futureresearch are when, where, and why each or severalof the five facets of consumer wisdom (and relateddimensions) are most vital in different consumptionsituations for well-being, whether physical, social,emotional, financial, environmental, political, orspiritual (McGregor, 2010).In concrete terms, research is needed to determine when and how increased consumer wisdom(specific facets and their dimensions) improvesbehaviors related to food and nutrition, financialplanning and retirement, medical and healthdecisions, exercise, hobbies and other enrichingactivities, community volunteering, and gift-giving,among other topics. Also, does consumer wisdomdefinitively increase life satisfaction and flourishingin general (Diener et al., 2010) and, if so, how andwhy? A similar need for future work applies tounderstanding when and how consumer wisdomcan avoid or reduce the effects of decision biasessuch as myopia, overconfidence, egocentrism, andfeelings of invulnerability, among others (Sternberg,2005; Thaler & Sunstein, 2008), as well as sociocultural pressures to engage in high personal debt (including credit card abuse) and a status-oriented,materialistic lifestyle.Future research can also drill down deeper intospecific facets and/or their dimensions. Forinstance, are wiser consumers who exhibit strongEmotional Mastery more able to avoid or reducefantasies and desires for new innovations, impulsive purchases, unplanned (non-impulsive) purchases, and over-buying (excess quantities)? Arethey also better at fending off buying urges triggered by retail promotions, when they objectivelyhave little need for the items and would otherwise(absent promotions) not have made the purchasesat all? Do certain facets or dimensions make it morelikely that wiser consumers attain more happinessin the way they spend their money, per principlesfrom Dunn, Gilbert, and Wilson (2011)? In reverseview, are people who classify as religious or whopractice yoga or meditation (Mathras et al., 2016)more inclined to evoke the Transcendence facet ofconsumer wisdom and its dimensions of compassionand interbeing when making certain kinds of consumer decisions (e.g., charitable giving, mediausage, product disposing)?Methodological Considerations. To explore ortest the causes, correlates, and consequences of consumer wisdom, several methodological approachesare available. Diaries can be implemented using different instructions or prompts (e.g., via texts onsmart phones), and respondents can then fill outquestionnaires about their current consumptionactivities (cf. Grossmann et al., 2016; Mick, Spilleret al., 2012). This approach can improve precisionfor capturing a variety of everyday consumptionbehaviors in-process that exhibit consumer wisdom(or don’t), and then can relate those insights totopics like mindfulness, volition, habits, feelings,plans, and so forth.Another approach would be to use surveys,which typically focus on identifying insights drawnfrom large, diverse, and sometimes probabilisticsamples. To do this will require taking the fiveConsumer Wisdom 387facets revealed here and using them to develop aninstrument for measuring individual consumer wisdom (per Grossmann’s, 2017 suggestions).Although there are skeptics of self-report wisdomscales (Gluck et al., 2013), some efforts in psychol- €ogy (Ardelt, 2003; Thomas et al., 2017; Webster,2003) have proven valuable in identifying wisdom’scomponents and correlates (e.g., self-efficacy andinductive reasoning, per Gluck et al., 2013) as well €as its prospective antecedents and consequences(Ardelt, 2000, 2005; Stange & Kunzmann, 2008).The conceivable merits of a reliable and valid consumer wisdom scale are high, including, forinstance, better understanding of consumer wisdom’s associations with subjects such as retirementsaving; personal hygiene practices; the use of Western conventional disease remedies versus Easternand other alternative medicine practices; consumingsoda, sugary food, alcohol, and tobacco products;materialism; compulsive buying; hoarding; andgambling. It could also stimulate investigations ofconsumer wisdom as a moderator variable inTable 3Illustrative Existing Consumer Research That May Be Drawn from to Advance Insights on Each Dimension of the Five Consumer Wisdom FacetsaFacet Dimension Existing consumer research that may advance knowledge on consumer wisdomIntentionality Lifestyle envisionment Conspicuous consumption of time (Bellezza, Keinan, & Paharia, 2014); voluntarysimplicity (Elgin, 1993); frugality (Lastovicka et al., 1999); mindfulness (Bahl et al.,2016); values-based choice (Huber et al., 1997); consumer lifestyle (Weinberger,Zavisca, Silva, 2017)Personal resource management Resource theories (Dorsch, Tornblom, & Kazemi, 2017); personal saving and savingorientation (Garbinsky et al., 2014; Dholakia et al., 2016); consumer spending andself-control (Haws, Bearden, & Nenkov, 2012); valuation of the future (Bartels &Urminsky, 2015); propensity to plan (Lynch et al., 2010)Contemplation Retrospection Consumer learning (Bettman & Park, 1980); challenges to learning from experienceand mistakes (Nikolova, Lamberton & Haws 2016; Schwarz & Xu, 2011)Prospection Affective forecasting (Wilson & Gilbert, 2005); elaboration on potential outcomes(Nenkov et al., 2008); imagery (Yuwei et al., 2014); mental simulation (Elder &Krishna, 2012)Prudent reasoning Consumer knowledge and expertise (Alba & Hutchinson, 1987; Sujan, 1985);purchase decision involvement (Mittal, 1989); values-based choice (Huber et al.,1997); robust satisficing (Schwartz, 2015); thinking, fast and slow (Kahneman,2011)Emotional Mastery Avoidance of negative emotions Hierarchical approach to negative emotions (Laros & Steenkamp, 2005); regret(Tsiros & Mittal, 2000); dissatisfaction (Fournier & Mick, 1999); consumeremotional intelligence (Kidwell et al., 2008); temptation (Baumeister, 2002); guilt(Burnett and Lunsford, 1994); persuasion knowledge (Friestad & Wright, 1994);delay of gratification (Norvilitis, 2014)Pursuit of positive emotions Hierarchical approach to positive emotions (Laros & Steenkamp, 2005); fun (Laran& Janiszewski, 2011; Woolley & Fishbach, 2016); hedonic consumption (Hirschman& Holbrook, 1982); material possession love (Lastovicka & Sirianni, 2011); materialmirth (Pieters, 2013); savoring (Chun et al., 2017); gratitude (Schlosser, 2015)Openness Growth mindset Theories and research on mindsets (Murphy & Dweck, 2016); extraordinaryexperiences (Arnould & Price, 1993; Bhattacharjee & Mogilner 2014)Alternative consumption Consumer co-production (Etgar, 2008); borrowing & sharing (Belk, 2010);collaborative consumption (Belk, 2010, 2014; Scaraboto, 2015); gifting (Belk, 1996);escaping the market (Kozinets, 2002); voluntary simplicity (Elgin, 1993)Transcendence Compassion Sustainable consumption (Luchs et al., 2010; Prothero et al., 2011); moral/ethicalconsumption (Giesler & Veresiu, 2014; Grayson, 2014); prosocial consumption(Cavanaugh, Bettman & Luce, 2015); charitable giving (Kulow & Kramer, 2016)Interbeing Social ties (Joy, 2001); experiential consumption (Chan & Mogilner, 2017); giftingand interpersonal relationships (Aknin & Human, 2015); brand communities(Bagozzi & Dholakia, 2006); consuming nature (Canniford & Shankar, 2013);sacred consumption (Belk, Wallendorf & Sherry, 1989); spirituality (Shaw &Thompson, 2013); religion (Mathras et al., 2016)aA separate reference list for Table 3 is available at Appendix S2.388 Luchs and Mickexamining the effects of marketing stimuli (e.g.,ads, packaging, promotions) on consumer judgments, attitudes, and choices.Also intriguing is the use of experiments inwhich consumer wisdom, or aspects thereof, ismanipulated and its effects directly assessed. Forexample, Kross and Grossmann (2012) developedan approach to having lab participants take lessegocentric viewpoints, adopt a “big picture” perspective, and think more holistically, which areembedded in all five facets of our consumer wisdom framework. These authors call their induction “distance from self” and they have shownthat greater distance encouraged intellectualhumility, cooperation, and openness to diverseviewpoints. Consumer researchers could followand expand this approach, and determine howdistance from self may evoke consumer wisdomto mitigate rash, unhealthy, or selfish consumerbehaviors.Another fascinating possibility would be toadapt a technique that has fostered new understanding on commitments, cooperation, and lierefrainment when a subset of participants sign apre-study oath to tell only the truth during theinvestigation (Jacquemet, Joule, Luchini, & Shogren,2013). For consumer psychology, some participantscould read a short essay on the meaning and characteristics of consumer wisdom, and then sign anoath that they will strive in a follow-up task to beas consumer-wise as possible. Novel insights mightbe gained, when compared to a control group, onthe potential and the process of consciously evokingwisdom for managing expectations, desires, attitudes, and choices.A third experimental approach would be to follow Staudinger and Baltes (1996). They manipulated (elevated) wiser reasoning by having someindividuals respond to a given life dilemma according to what other people whose opinions they valuewould say or do. This same technique could beapplied, for illustration, to consumers who arechoosing from a series of options after being toldthat they just received an unexpected tax refundand needed to decide what to do with the money.Other consumer decisions could be readily incorporated into this paradigm (delaying gratification,engaging in healthy or unhealthy eating, buying afirst vehicle for a teenage driver, downshifting intoretirement, etc.)The list of those who believe that wisdom isnot only conceivable, but also reachable at times,trails back a long way to luminaries such as Confucius, Plato, and Aristotle, and continues todayamong spiritual leaders (e.g., The Dalai Lama), aformer president of the American PsychologicalAssociation (Robert Sternberg), and numerousother philosophers, educators, psychologists, andsocial scientists. Leading centers for the study ofwisdom have also been established (e.g., at theUniversity of Chicago). 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Boston:Harvard Business School Press.Supporting InformationAdditional supporting information may be found inthe online version of this article at the publisher’swebsite:Appendix S1. Methodological Details Appendix.Appendix S2. References for Table 3.392 Luchs and Mick


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