Exploiting Dreams: Understanding the Motivation Mechanisms of MLMs
This thesis examines the motivation methods of multi-level marketing organizations (MLMs) through the lens of the fantasy realization theory of Gabriele Oettingen. The data analyzed for this thesis comprises of seven interviews, an observation, social media posts, and twelve videos. This study analyzes the motivational practices of MLMs, which are dream building and positive programming. The first motivation method of dream building encourages distributors to focus on their positive fantasies. Furthermore, positive programming promotes that distributors should surround themselves with people who are positive about their efforts for the MLM. According to Oettingen’s fantasy realization theory, individuals should contrast their positive thinking about their fantasies with factual information about barriers. This causes individuals to take the appropriate actions toward achieving their fantasies. The findings of this thesis reveal that dream building allows distributors to focus on their fantasies, while positive programming keeps them from contrasting these fantasies with factual information. Therefore, MLMs are found to use motivational methods unethically to prevent distributors from thinking about the problems that MLMs cause in their lives. These motivation methods thus enable MLMs to profit at the expense of distributors.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen