Power and Need-for-Justification: Asymmetrical Effects on Senders and Receivers in Marketing Communications

Linying Fan, Derek D. Rucker, Yuwei Jiang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This research reveals how a fundamental and pervasive psychological state, feeling powerful, asymmetrically impacts consumers' construction of and response to communications. For senders, power reduces consumers' need-for-justification and lowers the degree of support they seek and use to construct their communications. This lowered degree of support is evidenced by reduced information search, the use of fewer rational-based arguments, and a greater reliance on more concise language. In contrast, for receivers, power increases consumers' expectations for others to justify their positions. As a result, high-power receivers require a greater degree of support in communications from others. Based on a need-for-justification mechanism, the current work derives and demonstrates theoretically driven boundary conditions (e.g., attenuation when a heightened need-for-justification or support already exists) of this relationship. Together, these results provide new insights into how power influences consumers' need-for-justification and how this need affects the ways that consumers construct and respond to communications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-254
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2023


  • asymmetrical relationships
  • marketing communications
  • need-for-justification
  • power

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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