The influence of idealistic versus pragmatic mindsets on charitable behavior
Date of Issue2019-01-30
College of Business (Nanyang Business School)
There has been a significant difference in the level of charitable giving across different individuals and different countries. For example, around 60% of individuals in the United States donate money, whereas only 8% of individuals in China do so (Charities Aid Foundation 2017). Thus, it is crucial to understand the individual and country differences in motivation of engaging in charitable giving or, more importantly, not engaging in charitable giving. In this research, I move beyond the cultural dimensions (e.g., power distance, individualism versus collectivism) identified by Hofstede many decades ago (Hofstede 1984) to consider how consumers’ mindsets, the psychological orientations that shape individuals’ information processing and behavior (Murphy and Dweck 2016), influence charitable behaviors at both the individual-level and country-level. Specifically, I examine the implication of idealistic versus pragmatic mindsets — the tradeoff between placing values and principles above practical concerns versus being practical-oriented in the context of charitable behavior. I propose and show that individuals and countries with a more idealistic mindset, compared to those with a more pragmatic mindset, are more likely to engage in charitable behaviors and this effect is driven by greater intrinsic motivation and less extrinsic motivation underlying their charitable decision-making. Furthermore, consistent with the mediating role of intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation, I show that charitable appeals that emphasize the internal benefits (e.g., warm glow) of charitable giving increase charitable behavior among consumers with a more idealistic mindset but not among consumers with a more pragmatic mindset; in contrast, appeals that emphasize the external benefits (e.g., tax reduction) of charitable giving increase charitable behavior among consumers with a more pragmatic mindset but not among consumers with a more idealistic mindset. Theoretically, this research deepens the theoretical understanding of idealism versus pragmatism in the consumer context as prior research on this construct is limited. Further, I introduce a new cultural dimension that may add more nuances to our understanding of how charitable behaviors differ across cultures and societies. Second, by establishing the casual relationship between idealistic and pragmatic mindsets and charitable behavior, I contribute to the broader charitable behavior literature (e.g., Simpson, White, and Laran 2018; Winterich and Zhang 2014). Last but not least, this research contributes to the intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation literature by showing that individuals’ difference on mindsets leads to different types of motivation. This research has clear practical implications as well: first, my findings suggest that charitable organizations may consider encouraging and activating an idealistic mindset among consumers to motivate them to engage in charitable behaviors. Second, my research suggests that charitable organizations should take different strategies (internal benefits versus external benefits) to motivate consumers with different mindsets (idealistic mindset versus pragmatic mindset) to engage in charitable behavior.
DRNTU::Business::General::Moral and ethical aspects