We are happy to announce that Prof. Valéry Bezençon (Professor of Marketing, University of Neuchâtel) will be giving a research talk on Tuesday, November 28th at 9:00 in AND 4.02.

Title: Social Media is Shifting the Values in our Societies: An Increase in Achievement and Conformity

Abstract: Past research explored the beneficial and harmful effects of social media on individuals, but no study has investigated how social media might change our society at a deeper level. Understanding the effects of social media on basic individual values is essential because our values largely govern our behaviors in society. We suggest that social media could be an important catalyst for a shift in two basic individual values, achievement, and conformity, transforming the very fabric of our societies. We argue that these two values are fueled by the fundamental mechanics of social media. Using the European Social Survey and matching it with social media usage data, we find that greater social media use results in an increase in values of achievement and conformity. We replicated these findings in a consumer survey and revealed that social media use increases achievement and conformity through increased anxiety and the need for approval. In a third experimental study, we manipulated social media use and established a causal link between social media use and the activation of achievement and conformity values. Overall, our findings suggest that social media contributes to the emergence of a societal culture that places a strong emphasis on achievement-seeking and conformity.

Valéry Bezençon is a full professor of marketing at the Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Neuchâtel. His research interests revolve around social marketing and behaviour change approaches, such as nudging, in social, environmental and health domains, as well as consumer behaviour in relation to digital technologies. He occupies or has occupied diverse functions at the University, such as dean and vice-dean of the faculty, director of the Institute of Management, director of the Master of Science in International Business Development, co-director of the Bachelor of Science in Economics and Business and a member of various commissions. He was also an invited, visiting or affiliated professor at various universities (University of Lausanne, Florida State University, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú). He was previously a management consultant at McKinsey & Company.