The Shelby D. Hunt/Harold H. Maynard Award recognizes the 2021 Journal of Marketing article that has made the most significant contribution to marketing theory. The winners of the 2021 Hunt/Maynard Award are Joseph Nunes (University of Southern California), Andrea Ordanini (Bocconi University), and Gaia Giambastiani (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) for their article “The Concept of Authenticity: What It Means to Consumers,” published in Volume 85 of the Journal of Marketing.
Authenticity is undoubtedly one of the cornerstones of contemporary marketing. As a result, research in marketing and related fields involving authenticity as construct has proliferated over time. As an unintended consequence of this proliferation, however, authenticity accumulated different interpretations, leading to conceptual ambiguity and making it a construct ripe for conceptual reconstruction. In this research, the reconceptualization of authenticity emerges from a multimethod process leveraging data from more than 3,000 consumers across no fewer than 17 types of consumption experiences. The paper conceives authenticity as it pertains to consumption as a holistic consumer assessment determined by six component judgments (accuracy, connectedness, integrity, legitimacy, originality, and proficiency) whereby the role of each component can change according to the consumption context.
The selection committee, comprised of Harald van Heerde (JM Editor and chair), Andrea Morales, and Manjit Yadav noted: “This paper was selected from among an excellent set of very diverse finalists. We are delighted to recognize Joe, Andrea and Gaia’s article as the winner of this prestigious award. Based on a very thorough qualitative and quantitative research approach involving consumers and managers, and using persuasive theoretical reasoning, this innovative article makes a convincing case that authenticity is a formative—rather than reflective—construct. The six authenticity dimensions offer brand managers valuable insights to enhance the authenticity of their offerings, depending on the consumption context.”
The selection committee also note the strong methodological contribution of the paper: “The generation and operationalization of new constructs is pervasive in marketing. In contrast, almost no attention or effort is dedicated to revising existing concepts. Over time, concepts tend to accumulate different interpretations and meanings, frequently resulting in conceptual ambiguity. These concepts need to be challenged and revised to ensure their clear and consistent use in the field. We believe many concepts in marketing would benefit from being reconceptualized and this work offers a roadmap for doing so, from the qualitative methods the authors use to derive a concept’s definitional perimeter, to the quantitative methods they use to validate it.”
The other finalists for the award were:
- Stephen J. Anderson, Pradeep Chintagunta, Frank Germann, and Naufel Vilcassim (2021), “Do Marketers Matter for Entrepreneurs? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Uganda”
- Elham Ghazimatin, Erik A. Mooi, and Jan B. Heide (2021), “Mobilizing the Temporary Organization: The Governance Roles of Selection and Pricing”
- Justin M. Lawrence, Lisa K. Scheer, Andrew T. Crecelius, and Son K. Lam (2021), “Salesperson Dual Agency in Price Negotiations”
- Joann Peck, Colleen P. Kirk, Andrea W. Luangrath, and Suzanne B. Shu (2021), “Caring for the Commons: Using Psychological Ownership to Enhance Stewardship Behavior for Public Goods”
- Madhubalan Viswanathan, Nita Umashankar, Arun Sreekumar, and Ashley Goreczny (2021), “Marketplace Literacy as a Pathway to a Better World: Evidence from Field Experiments in Low-Access Subsistence Marketplaces”
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