People have fundamental beliefs about what constitutes a good relationship, known as implicit theories of relationship, where some people have destiny beliefs whereas others have growth beliefs. People with destiny beliefs believe that potential partners are meant either for each other or not, whereas people with growth beliefs believe that successful relationships are cultivated and developed. This research shows that different implicit theories of relationship influence consumers’ gift choice to their significant others. We demonstrate, through two studies, that consumers with destiny beliefs prefer giving gifts that are more feasible in nature, whereas consumers with growth beliefs prefer giving gifts that are more desirable in nature. We show that this effect is mediated by desirability-feasibility considerations. Specifically, consumers with destiny beliefs focus on feasibility considerations, which leads them to choose a highly feasible gift. Conversely, consumers with growth beliefs focus on desirability considerations, which leads them to choose a highly desirable gift. We also discuss the theoretical and managerial implications of our research.


Published by DeGruyter Open, 10.1515/mmcks-2017-0040.



Date of publication

Winter 2017



Persistent identifier


Document Type


Publisher Citation

Rai, D., Lin, C.W., Hong, J. and Kulick, G. (2017), “The influence of relationship beliefs on gift giving”, Management & Marketing. Challenges for the Knowledge Society, Vol. 12, No. 4, pp. 697-709. DOI: 10.1515/mmcks-2017-0040.

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