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Mateo Lesizza

DBA Graduate - 2018

Thesis title

The role of autonomy in social drinking contexts


Diogo Hildebrand
Purpose The purpose of this study is to evaluate whether a more thorough understanding of the dynamics of group drinking can aid in designing more effective alcohol interventions. I focus on examining the role of autonomy as being self-construal (i.e., individuals’ tendency to prefer acting without influence from others) in self-control in social drinking situations. Through this work I specifically address the following research question: when and how does autonomy promote moderate alcohol consumption in group drinking occasions? In answering this question, I contribute to self-control, normative-conflict, self-construal, self-identity, and health promotion theories Design/methodology/approach Two probabilistic correlational studies in Nicaragua (one of the countries with the greatest incidence of people overdrinking), a correlational study using an on-line multinational sample, and a field experiment also performed in Nicaragua, Findings Autonomy decreases an individual’s level of alcohol consumption. Results also show that this effect is mediated by the desire to make a positive impression and moderated by individual’s behaviors derived from internalized/identified goals related to alcohol consumption as well as their level of relatedness to others in the group. This work adds to the extant literature by clarifying the role of social influence in self-control in normative conflicts when several subjects are simultaneously consuming a potentially tempting product. Research limitations/implications My findings were confined to research in a single industry; further research is necessary to ascertain whether the results are generalizable to other domains. Second, my predictions were supported by field studies, hence, a laboratory experiment to control possible confounds would serve to increase its validity. Third, my work aggregates the data from the multinational sample in a unique dataset dropping out options for examining specific cultural differences. Practical implications Findings from this dissertation demonstrate that priming autonomy in campaigns promoting moderate drinking can effectively reduce alcohol consumption, particularly when others in the group drink harmfully. This furthermore provides public policy makers and marketers with insights into the effective design of educational and communicational programs oriented to promote responsible consumption when individuals consume alcohol in a group setting. Originality/value To the best of my knowledge, this is the first research evaluating a bi-dimensional perspective of self-construal in self-control context where a normative conflict between group surrounding descriptive norms are in opposition to societal injunctive norms. Key words Self-control, self-construal, normative-conflict, alcohol, autonomy.