Theses & Dissertations

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    "It's a future-me problem" - How future-self continuity and message framing affect climate change risk perceptions
    (University of Guelph, ) Arora, Sherlyn; Wang, Juan; Wan, Jing
    Climate change is perceived to be a distant problem, both in terms of time and self-relevance. Psychologically, this may impede the depth with which individuals think about and process information related to climate change and, subsequently, their motivation to engage in some form of climate-action behaviour. The main objective of this project was to examine the use of future-self continuity as a behavioural intervention for the climate-action space, given its core components of self-relevance and time. The project proposed an information processing perspective that considered how future-self continuity could influence the way individuals process either negative or positive information related to climate change, and how this manifests in their perceptions of risk related to climate change. The project found inconclusive evidence for any significant main effects of future-self continuity and framing, but there was some evidence for the interaction effect between future-self continuity and non-loss message framing on risk perceptions. Additional relational effects are also explored. These findings hold relevance for climate communication specialists, climate psychologists, and academics looking to extend the reach of future-self continuity.
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    Evaluation of Multi-Functional Products: The Effect of Anthropomorphism on Cognitive Strain
    (University of Guelph, ) Steiner, Erik; Wang, Juan; Wan, Jing
    Multi-functional products (MFPs) are potentially valuable innovations, but consumers have trouble understanding them. As a result, consumers often ignore functions possessed by these products. The primary objective of this research is to explore the reasons consumers have trouble understanding MFPs, and to propose product anthropomorphism as a design strategy that can enhance consumer perception of product multi-functionality. A literature review and conceptual framework was developed consisting of consumer learning of MFPs, the single category belief, and anthropomorphism. Then, two experiments test the effect of anthropomorphism on functionality perceptions. The results support the proposal that anthropomorphism increases expectations of product multi-functionality. In addition, data indicates that the effect of anthropomorphism on functionality perceptions is driven by a reduction in the cognitive strain of understanding product functionality. Based on these findings, the theoretical and managerial contributions are discussed, limitations are noted, and avenues for future research are proposed.
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    How Imagery and Text Combinations May Improve the Perception of Quality of a Post-Secondary School’s Brand via Social Media
    (University of Guelph, ) Gray, Adam; Mark, Tanya
    Within the service industry, post-secondary education continues to be a driving force behind successful societies. Therefore, the information sent to prospective students is critical in the early stages of applying and must be accurate. This study investigates how images and texts used on social media may communicate levels of quality covering the dimensions identified in the HEdPERF scale (Abdullah, 2006) and if those judgements influence behavioural intentions towards a university. While there were varied results across the dimensions and the data presented limited significant results, there were still trends and implications impacting the established literature and providing guidance for future research. There is a need to further develop accurate scales that represent the different aspects of the service industry, while also considering marketing and communications through social media. There will continue to be competition to attract applicants and attendees to post-secondary schools and how institutions portray themselves will be crucial.
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    Are we on ‘Track’ with Women’s portrayal in Athletics? An examination of Athletics Canada’s social media posts during the Tokyo 2020/21 Summer Olympic Games
    (University of Guelph, ) Kester, M.Beth; Aung, May
    This study enriches the narrative around understanding gender differences in sports marketing by extending the literature by presenting insight into understanding the media's portrayal of gender surrounding the sport of Athletics through a Canadian lens. This study examines how Athletic Canada (AC), Canada’s governing body for athletics, portrayed their female athletes during the 2020/21 Summer Olympic Games using netnography methodology with a critical feminist theory lens to examine the postings and communications shared on the 'AC Facebook Page'. Results indicate AC’s posts favoured more male-positioned than female-positioned. Themes revealed that in female posts, at a lower intensity of prowess caused higher rates of Symbolic Annihilation and Hyper-sexualization/Feminization themes. Desire for athlete competency was revealed by community dialogue, even when athletes underperformed. The managerial implications acknowledge opportunities for improvement in their social media presence and how the portrayal of their athletes during this time is not aligned with their organization's mission.
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    Exploration of Meat Reducers’ Motivations and Their Food Choices
    (University of Guelph, ) MacDonald, Jessica; Yi, Sunghwan
    The past decade has observed an increasing number of consumers who are reducing their meat consumption without giving up meat altogether, known as meat reducers or flexitarians. However, relatively little is known about meat reducers in Canada. The goal of this study is to understand the motivations, perceived barriers, and current practices of meat reducers, compare them with other diet groups, and explore heterogeneity among them. To achieve this, we conducted an online survey with students attending a Canadian university (n=438). Our sample consisted of regular omnivores, omnivores reducing meat, meat reducers and vegetarians/ vegans. Results revealed that meat reducers are a distinct diet group that fall between regular omnivores and vegetarians/vegans on a broad range of variables. Lastly, we conducted latent profile analysis and identified four segments of meat reducers: ethical reducers (21%), mixed-motive reducers (24%), uncommitted reducers (41%), and restrictive reducers (14%).