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EMAC 2021 Annual Conference

Power Stories: A Qualitative Investigation into Consumers’ Narratives of Powerfulness and Powerlessness

Published: May 25, 2021


Camille Anin, Université Grenoble Alpes; Pierre VALETTE-FLORENCE, Grenoble Univ, CERAG, IAE, Saint-Martin-d'Hères, France


Consumer power is both a managerial buzz-word and a contested concept in the literature. In an ever-changing world where the marketplace is a key institution to ensure transition toward more sustainable societies, knowing more about how consumers define their own power and experience it could help firms and public policies to harness the transformative potential of consumer power and to potentially tie it closer to the notion of common good. This research builds on a constructivist grounded theory approach to explore the nature and characteristics of consumers’ subjective experiences of power. Two types of power dynamics are highlighted: consumer-market interactions (power as potential influence or escapism from market influence) and consumer-market-society interactions (power as a moral or social force). The relationships between power and transgression shed light on the temporality of power. Implications for future research in brand relationships are discussed.