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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Intersection of Dreams and Reality: An Expansion of Temporal Distance Theory to Experiential Purchases
by Grube, Ann M., Ph.D., Northcentral University, 2014, 181; 3580066
Abstract (Summary)

This research was designed to expand the applications of Psychological Distance (PD) Theory by studying the effects of time on the importance of criteria used to evaluate institutions of higher learning. It is intended to help administrators market more effectively by determining how future intentions (to go back to school someday) transition into specific purchase behavior (enrolling at this school now). This study used an experimental quantitative methodology. Research into the weighting of decision criteria was measured with paired t-tests of importance ratings and scores of the seven variables (cost-per-credit, transfer credit awarded, course length, school reputation, quality of faculty/instruction, placement rate, availability of online coursework) at T1 and T2. The relationships between time to enrollment and the degree of change for each of the dependent variables were measured by a one-way ANOVA. Research participants were 292 students enrolled in two online, accredited bachelor degree programs. Research findings did not support temporal PD theory. Only school reputation changed in both importance ratings (p x.0001) and scorings (p = .0004) in the direction indicated by PD theory. Contrary to expectations, with the exception of online coursework , all feasibility criteria decreased in importance at T2. Secondly, the amount of time between T1 and T2 had no significant impact on the importance of any of the criterion. Of all seven criteria, only the change in the rating of school reputation was significantly different (p = .0009) for one time group (1-2 year difference between T1 and T2); F (4, 30) = 4.84. Results suggest several limitations which merit future study; including research into how construal level is impacted by newness, memory, small choice sets, and hypotheticality. Recommendations include delineating the boundaries around PD theory by evaluating how the effects of temporal distance are either supported or negated by 1) consumers and purchase newness 2) the cost of the product/service 3) the significance of the product/service 4) the importance of applying this theory to real-world purchases with meaningful risks and rewards for the consumer. Finally future studies should require a force-ranking exercise to encourage the student to prioritize each criterion.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Nguyen, Trent
School: Northcentral University
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 75/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Marketing, Higher Education Administration
Keywords: Construal-level theory, Online education, Psychological distance, Temporal distance
Publication Number: 3580066
ISBN: 978-1-303-87961-6
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