Sara KIM
Prof. Sara KIM
Area Head of Marketing

3917 2266

KK 703

Academic & Professional Qualification
  • Ph.D., Booth School of Business, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • MBA, Booth School of Business, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • M.S., KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) Business School, Korea
  • B.S., KAIST, Korea

Sara Kim’s research focus is on consumer and managerial decision making and its implications for marketing management. She is particularly interested in antecedents of consumers’ sense of self including self-affirmation, identity threats, mortality salience, and implicit theories of personality, and the impact of consumers’ sense of self on various consumer judgments and behaviors such as consumer emotions, word-of-mouth, prosocial behavior, and anthropomorphism. Her work has appeared in such publications as Journal of Consumer Research and Psychological Science. Her research has received media coverage by outlets such as New York Times, Time, Science Daily, and Medical News Today.

Sara Kim received her BBA and MS from KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology), as well as her MBA and PhD from Chicago Booth. She joined the University of Hong Kong in 2012.

  • Introduction to Marketing
  • Marketing Research
  • Applied Marketing Research Metrics
  • Marketing Management
Research Interest
  • Humanization (Anthropomorphism)
  • Emoticons/emojis in online service encounters
  • Dehumanization of service employees or consumers
  • Implicit theories and attribution theory
Selected Publications
  • Xueni (Shirley) Li, Sara Kim, Kimmy Wa Chan, and Ann L. McGill (2023), “Detrimental Effects of Anthropomorphism on the Perceived Physical Safety of Artificial Agents in Dangerous Situations,” International Journal of Research in Marketing, 40(4), 841-864.
  • Phyllis Xue Wang, Sara Kim, and Minki Kim (2023), “Robot Anthropomorphism and Job Insecurity: The Role of Social Comparison,” Journal of Business Research, 164, 114003.
  • Jungmin Choi, So-Hyeon Shim, and Sara Kim (2023), “The Power of Emojis: The Impact of a Leader’s Use of Positive Emojis on Members’ Creativity during Computer-Mediated Communications,” Plos One, 18(5): e0285368.
  • Lili Wang, Sara Kim, and Xinyue Zhou (2023), “Money in a “Safe” Place: Money Anthropomorphism Increases Saving Behavior,” International Journal of Research in Marketing, 40(1), 88-108.
  • Yongju Kwon, Youjae Yi, and Sara Kim (2022), “Perceived Economic Mobility Increases Subjective Well-Being When Perceived Social Support Opens the Door for Others,” International Journal of Consumer Studies, 46(6), 2429-2444.
  • Jacob C. Lee, Sara Kim, and Phyllis Xue Wang (2022), “Anthropomorphizing Makes Material Goods as Happiness-inducing as Experiences,” Marketing Letters, 33 (1), 61-73.
  • Fine F. Leung, Sara Kim, and Caleb H. Tse (2020), “Highlighting Effort Versus Talent in Service Employee Performance: Customer Attributions and Responses,” Journal of Marketing, 84 (3), 106–121.
  • Li, Xueni (Shirley), Kimmy Wa Chan, and Sara Kim (2019), “Service with Emotions: How Customers Interpret Employee Use of Emoticons in Online Service Encounters,” Journal of Consumer Research, 45 (5), 973–987.
  • Zhou, Xinyue, Sara Kim, and Lili Wang (2019), “Money Helps When Money Feels: Money Anthropomorphism Increases Charitable Giving,” Journal of Consumer Research, 45 (5), 953–972.
  • Kim, Sara and Ann L. McGill (2018), “Helping Others by First Affirming the Self: When Self-Affirmation Reduces Ego-Defensive Downplaying of Others’ Misfortunes,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 44 (3), 345–358.
  • Kim, Sara, Ke Zhang, and Daeun Park (2018), “Don’t Want to Look Dumb? The Role of Theories of Intelligence and Humanlike Features in Online Help-Seeking,” Psychological Science, 29 (2), 171-180. *Leading article
  • Kim, Sara, Rocky Peng Chen, and Ke Zhang (2016), “Anthropomorphized Helpers Undermine Autonomy and Enjoyment in Computer Games,” Journal of Consumer Research, 43 (2), 282-302.
  • Daeun Park and Sara Kim (2015), “Time to Move On? When Entity Theorists Perform Better than Incremental Theorists,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41 (5), 736-748.
  • Kim, Sara and Ann L. McGill (2011), “Gaming with Mr. Slot or Gaming the Slot Machine? Power, Anthropomorphism, and Risk Perception,” Journal of Consumer Research, 38 (1), 94-107.
  • Kim, Sara and Aparna A. Labroo (2011), “From ‘Inherent Value’ to ‘Incentive Value’: When and Why Pointless Effort Enhances Consumer Preference,” Journal of Consumer Research, 38 (4), 712-742.
  • Labroo, Aparna A. and Sara Kim (2009), “The ‘Instrumentality’ Heuristic: Why Metacognitive Difficulty Is Desirable During Goal Pursuit,” Psychological Science, 20 (1), 127-134.
  • Park, Do-Hyung and Sara Kim (2009), “The Effects of Consumer Knowledge on Message Processing of Electronic Word-Of-Mouth via Online Consumer Reviews,” Electronic Commerce Research and Applications, 7 (4), 399-410.
Awards and Honours
  • 2021 Faculty Research Postgraduate Supervision Award
  • 2018-19 University Research Excellence Award (Outstanding Young Researcher Award)
  • 2016 University Teaching Excellence Award (Early Career Teaching Award)
  • 2016 ACR Best Working Paper Award
  • 2014-15 Faculty Outstanding Teacher Award (Undergraduate Teaching)
  • 2015 RGC GRF Grant, Principal Investigator
  • 2013 RGC Early Career Scheme, Principal Investigator
Recent Publications


What Happens When Companies Emphasize Employee Effort Versus Talent

Opinion piece by Dr. Sara Kim, Associate Professor in Marketing


市场上并没有关于表情符号在商业关系中所扮演角色的研究,而在市场学范畴以外的相关研究分析则参差不齐。本研究旨在透过分析亲切度和能力这两大基本要素,以及顾客受其个人及环境因素影响所产生对关系规范的看法(共有规范 vs. 交换规范),来阐释过往的研究结果。透过实验室及实地的试验,现时的研究显示顾客认为使用表情符号的服务人员,相比没有使用的人,其亲切度较高,但能力较低 (研究一)。我们进一步发现,当服务人员使用表情符号,具共有取向的顾客会倾向认为服务人员亲切度较高,因而对服务较满意;同样情况,具交换取向的顾客则会倾向认为服务人员能力较低,因而对服务满意度较低(研究二)。此外,我们亦研究了顾客不满意的服务 (研究三) 及员工的额外角色服务 (研究四) 这两个更能凸显某种关系规范的重要服务情况。我们推测哪些机制有可能导致这些影响,并在进行讨论理论及实际用途时,发掘更多研究机会。

Money Helps When Money Feels: Money Anthropomorphism Increases Charitable Giving

Across five studies, the current research demonstrates that imbuing money with humanlike characteristics can enhance charitable giving. Based on mind perception theory, we propose that anthropomorphizing money can induce people to attribute to money the capacity to feel and sense (i.e., warmth) and the capacity to do things (i.e., competence). Further, we argue that enhanced warmth perception increases charitable giving. Studies 1a and 1b provided initial evidence that money anthropomorphism increased charitable giving by measuring real monetary donation behavior (study 1a) and by adopting a practical method to anthropomorphize money in charitable appeals (study 1b). Study 2 showed that money anthropomorphism enhanced both warmth and competence perceptions of money, but that only enhanced warmth perception increased donation intention. Study 3 showed that money anthropomorphism did not enhance other types of charitable giving, such as signature provision. Study 4 showed that the money anthropomorphism effect was unique to money and that anthropomorphizing other financial instruments, such as a credit card, did not induce the same effect.