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


市場上並沒有關於表情符號在商業關係中所扮演角色的研究,而在市場學範疇以外的相關研究分析則參差不齊。本研究旨在透過分析親切度和能力這兩大基本要素,以及顧客受其個人及環境因素影響所產生對關係規範的看法(共有規範 vs. 交換規範),來闡釋過往的研究結果。透過實驗室及實地的試驗,現時的研究顯示顧客認為使用表情符號的服務人員,相比沒有使用的人,其親切度較高,但能力較低 (研究一)。我們進一步發現,當服務人員使用表情符號,具共有取向的顧客會傾向認為服務人員親切度較高,因而對服務較滿意;同樣情況,具交換取向的顧客則會傾向認為服務人員能力較低,因而對服務滿意度較低(研究二)。此外,我們亦研究了顧客不滿意的服務 (研究三) 及員工的額外角色服務 (研究四) 這兩個更能凸顯某種關係規範的重要服務情況。我們推測哪些機制有可能導致這些影響,並在進行討論理論及實際用途時,發掘更多研究機會。

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.