Reconceptualizing materialism as identity goal pursuits: Functions, processes, and consequences

L. J. Shrum*, Nancy Wong, Farrah Arif, Sunaina K. Chugani, Alexander Gunz, Tina M. Lowrey, Agnes Nairn, Mario Pandelaere, Spencer M. Ross, Ayalla Ruvio, Kristin Scott, Jill Sundie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

192 Citations (Scopus)


This article proposes an expanded conceptualization of materialism that grounds materialism in research on the self. The article stresses the functions of materialistic goal pursuit, the processes by which these functions are developed and implemented, and their potential consequences. This functional perspective views materialistic behavior as motivated goal pursuit intended to construct and maintain self-identity, and defines materialism as the extent to which people engage in identity maintenance and construction through symbolic consumption. The article discusses the utility of this conceptualization of materialism in relation to other conceptualizations and suggests avenues for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1179-1185
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Business Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013


  • Goal pursuit
  • Materialism
  • Self-identity
  • Well-being


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