Great Expectations?! Assortment Size, Expectations and Satisfaction
University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business
Cait Poynor Lamberton
University of Pittsburgh - Katz Graduate School of Business
December 15, 2008
Journal of Marketing Research, 2008
Marshall School of Business Working Paper No. MKT 24-09
Recent research challenges the idea that greater choice is always desirable, showing that larger assortments can increase choice deferral and switching. The present research demonstrates that even when consumers do make a purchase, the same item may generate lower satisfaction when chosen from a larger as opposed to a smaller assortment. The authors explain this effect in terms of an expectation-disconfirmation mechanism. When assortments are small, consumers have low expectations about their ability to match their preferences. As assortment sizes increase, so do consumers' expectations of the degree of preference match they can achieve. Subsequently, consumers may experience greater negative expectation-disconfirmation or less positive expectation-disconfirmation when a chosen item came from a larger as opposed to a smaller set. Either less positive or more negative disconfirmation leads to lower choice satisfaction. Results from three studies support this expectation-based process and establish this mechanism in addition alternative explanations such as choice overload.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 43
Keywords: Assortment Size, Expectation Disconfirmation, Satisfaction, Choice Overload, Information Overload
JEL Classification: M31, L81, D84, I31
Date posted: March 5, 2009 ; Last revised: April 19, 2009
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