Department of Marketing

Research Seminar Summer Term 2019


Good sides, bad times...

…or not? Causes and effects of ambivalent consumer behavior.

A man is standing in front of the car and smoking. His friends are already sitting inside the car and are ready to go. Except for a latecomer. When he arrives he smiles happily and says: "Thank you for waiting for me, that's really nice!"

A woman is sitting in a car. She is currently using Uber Pool. The driver is on the phone with another passenger. These two do not understand each other. The driver desperately tries to find the other passenger. The woman asks if she can help, calls the passenger and organizes a meeting place. From the back seat you can hear: Wow, that was totally helpful and friendly of you!"

A student is standing in a bakery. He points on his cell phone. The seller confirms the purchase at the food sharing app TooGoodToGo and hands over the rolls and cake pieces. The student returns home to his girlfriend. She says, "Honey, you always do so many good things, not only for me, but for the environment!"

Helpful, friendly and nice? Or selfish, impatient and opportunistic? A behavior that we wear as friends, passengers or consumers. Whether we participate in food sharing because we are fighting altruistically against food waste or simply want to shop cheaply cannot be perceived by others or sometimes by ourselves. Egoistic behavior can be strategically interpreted as moral behavior. In this context, this research seminar deals in particular with the following questions:

  • How is ambiguous behavior or ambivalent consumption perceived by individuals and the social environment?
  • Which role do social influences play in the interpretation of ambivalent behavior?
  • Which new findings for marketing and consumer behavior research emerge from the perspective of ambivalent consumption?


Further information and enrollment can be found on OLAT.