Understanding the Role of Consumer Goodwill in Sponsorship: An Application of Appraisal Theory
Sawatari, Yuko (author)
James, Jeffrey D. (professor directing dissertation)
Eklund, Robert C. (university representative)
Mondello, Michael (committee member)
Kim, Yu Kyoum (committee member)
Department of Sport Management (degree granting department)
Florida State University (degree granting institution)
Consumer goodwill is one of the unique effects differentiating sponsorship from other marketing activities (Meenaghan, 2001a; 2001b). While other marketing communications tend to be labeled as selfish (Meenaghan, 2001a; 2001b), designed merely to pursue advantages for a company, sponsorship is recognized as a "good thing to do" (McDonald, 1999). People approve of and generate positive attitudes toward sponsorship, believing it to be one of the activities through which businesses contribute to society (Meenaghan, 2001a; 2001b). Throughout the current study the idea of the process of goodwill generation and goodwill effect was assessed based on the emotion of gratitude, utilizing the application of appraisal theory. This theory focuses on a role of emotion. The theory's central theme is that emotion is derived from individuals' subjective evaluations/appraisals of a stimulus (Scherer, 1999) or implications of a situation (Smith & Kirby, 2009). The emotions elicited through appraisal processes lead to behavioral responses (Frijda, 1986; Johnson & Stewart, 2005; Smith & Lazarus, 1990). The current study included measures of the emotion of gratitude in order to understand how consumers' appreciation toward a sponsor works in the effectiveness of spectator sports sponsorship. Two issues were addressed in this study. The first issue dealt with whether a sponsor is able to influence consumers' perceptions in order to enhance consumers' sense of appreciation for a sponsor. Specifically, an effort was made to address the effect of information transmission concerning a sponsor's investment in a sponsored property (i.e., no information about a sponsor's investment, information about a sponsor's monetary support, and information about a sponsor's non-monetary support) on consumers' perceptions. The MANOVA and MANCOVA results indicated that having access to the information concerning a sponsor's investment influenced participants' perceptions about the sponsorship being beneficial to the property and the sponsor having commercial intent. The information, on the other hand, did not influence participants' perceptions about the sponsorship being a necessity for the property nor the sponsor being concerned about the property. Specifically, participants receiving information about a sponsor's monetary support perceived the sponsorship as more beneficial than participants receiving no information. For commercial intent, participants receiving no information about a sponsor's support perceived the sponsor having more commercial intent than participants receiving information about the sponsor's non-monetary support. The second issue involved how gratitude operates in relation to sponsorship. Based on appraisal theory, relationships among perceptions toward sponsorship, gratitude, and attitudinal and behavioral outcome variables, were hypothesized. The results from Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) indicated that perceived benefit, perceived necessity, and perceived commercial intent predicted gratitude, while perceived concern did not predict gratitude. Gratitude did predict attitude toward a sponsor, while gratitude did not influence purchase intent. Attitude toward a sponsor also did not influence purchase intent. Gratitude was found to partially mediate the influence of perceived benefit and perceived commercial intent on attitude toward a sponsor. Additionally, gratitude fully mediated the influence of perceived necessity on attitude toward a sponsor. The results from the current study confirmed a partial effect of gratitude, providing managers with potential justification for the use of sponsorship in spectator sports, as well as leading the research to offer suggestions to enhance consumers' emotion of gratitude toward a sponsor.
Appraisal theory, Goodwill, Gratitude, Sponsorship, Sport
March 19, 2012.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Sport and Recreation Management in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Jeffrey D. James, Professor Directing Dissertation; Robert C. Eklund, University Representative; Michael Mondello, Committee Member; Yu Kyoum Kim, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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