The purposes of this dissertation are threefold: to define and operationalize different types of authenticity, to test the interactive network of different types of authenticity, and to test the relationships between authenticity and tourist outcome variables including transformation, place attachment, and loyalty. In psychology, authenticity is typically conceptualized to be subject-based in nature, referring to a person's state of being true to oneself across contexts and against external influences. This type of authenticity has been termed "dispositional authenticity" and operationalized in this study in dimensions of authentic living, accepting external influence, and self-alienation. In tourism, authenticity is usually considered to be object-based in nature, place authenticity, referring to the strength of the traditional/original cues in destinations. The level of tradition or originality is either expert-defined or laymen-perceived, constituting two distinct types of authenticity. This dissertation focused on the latter for its relevance to tourists. This type of authenticity was named "subjective object-based authenticity" and was operationalized in dimensions of the built and non-built environment. In sociology and tourism, a fourth type of authenticity emerged with a hybrid nature. This type of authenticity is subject-based in nature, referring to one's feeling true to their own thoughts and feelings; however, the sense of trueness is not context-stable but temporary and subject to one's exposure to the traditional/original cues they perceive at a destination. This type of authenticity was termed "imaginary authenticity" and measured in newly developed dimensions of a sense of nostalgia and a sense of ideal life. Twelve hypotheses were created to postulate the relationships among dispositional, place, and imaginary authenticity and three tourist outcome variables: place attachment, transformation, and loyalty. This dissertation chose the positivist paradigm and quantitative methodology for the purpose of theory-testing. The study design was a web-based survey collecting data from Amazon's Mechanical Turk (MTurk). Respondents answered the survey based on their travel experience to one of the three destinations that they had visited: Mexico, Italy, and China. A total of 588 surveys were collected, 566 cases remained after data cleaning. The measurement model and structural model were assessed using Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and Partial Least Squares- Structural Equation Modeling (PLS-SEM) using Smart-PLS. The results supported the main claims regarding the role of dispositional authenticity, and the influence of the authenticity network on subsequent tourist outcomes. A multigroup analysis was also conducted to detect destination-based deviations on the hypotheses. Theoretical and managerial implications as well as limitations and future suggestions were also discussed.


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Graduation Date





Tasci, Asli


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Rosen College of Hospitality Management

Degree Program

Hospitality Management




CFE0007932; DP0023067





Release Date

May 2020

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Rosen College of Hospitality Management