Alone but together autonomous but related: Self-construal effects on happiness in social experiences
Communal tables and open workspaces have become popular servicescapes that is contemporary spaces for experiencing dining or working alone but together. Previous research demonstrates that experiencing with close others (e.g. with friends or family) increases happiness and satisfaction but experiences shared with strangers in contexts such as communal tables or workshops have not yet been thoroughly analyzed. Addressing this research gap from a social-psychological perspective we suggest that even though individuals are generally happier when they share experiences with loved ones self-construal plays a moderating role in the relationship. Individuals with high autonomy and high relatedness do not anticipate greater happiness from experiences shared with friends than with those shared with strangers. Three experimental studies (two online and one field) demonstrate this effect using different operationalizations of autonomy relatedness. Managerial implications are discussed and suggestions are made for future research.