Make it Your Own: How Process Valence and Self-Construal Affect Evaluation of Self-Made Products



Self-production, participation of consumers in the production process of products for their own consumption, leads to consumers’ enhanced evaluations of the self-made products. Three experimental studies investigate how and why self-production affects consumers’ product evaluations and reveal that not all production experiences create additional value for all consumers. In particular, Studies 1 and 2, using hypothetical stories and real experiences, show that only positive (vs. negative) production experiences enhance evaluations of self-made products over products made by others. Positive (but not negative) experiences decrease the psychological distance between the self and the product and strengthen identification with it. Study 3 manipulates self-construal (independent vs. interdependent) to investigate its role on evaluation of self-made products and products made with close others as a group (i.e., group-made). Consumers with independent self-construal evaluate self-made (vs. other-made) products more favorably only if the process is positive. However, consumers with interdependent self-construal evaluate self-made products more favorably even if the process is negative. Additionally, consumers with interdependent (vs. independent) self-construal exhibit more favorable evaluation of group-made products. Finally, even if consumers know how another person feels while making a product, other people's process emotions do not affect consumers’ product judgments as strongly as their own experienced process emotions.