Rejectable Choice Sets: How Seemingly Irrelevant No-Choice Options Affect Consumer Decision Processes

Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. 48, pp. 840-854, October 2011

15 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2012 Last revised: 1 Feb 2014

See all articles by Jeffrey Parker

Jeffrey Parker

University of Illinois at Chicago - College of Business Administration

Rom Y. Schrift

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School

Date Written: October 1, 2011

Abstract

To date, research on no-choice options has primarily examined the conditions that foster choice deferral, thus focusing on the frequency with which consumers select the no-choice option. in this article, the authors argue that even if the no-choice option is not selected, its mere presence in the choice set may alter consumers’ choices. more specifically, they investigate how decision processes and preferences change when consumers have a no-choice option versus when they are forced to choose from a given choice set. they propose that the inclusion of a no- choice option in a choice set affects preferences by leading consumers to determine not only which alternative is best, but which, if any, are acceptable (i.e., meet the consumer’s minimum needs). accordingly, the authors demonstrate that the inclusion of a no-choice option in the choice set (1) leads to more alternative- (rather than attribute-) based information processing, (2) increases the importance of attributes that are more meaningful when alternatives are evaluated one by one (i.e., enriched attributes), and (3) increases the importance of attributes with levels that are closer to the consumer’s minimum needs (thresholds). they demonstrate that such changes influence consumers’ preference structures and ultimate choices. they conclude with a discussion of the theoretical, methodological, and managerial implications of these findings.

Keywords: no-choice options, decision criteria, rejectable choice sets, information processing, conjoint analysis

Suggested Citation

Parker, Jeffrey and Schrift, Rom Y., Rejectable Choice Sets: How Seemingly Irrelevant No-Choice Options Affect Consumer Decision Processes (October 1, 2011). Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. 48, pp. 840-854, October 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2135778

Jeffrey Parker

University of Illinois at Chicago - College of Business Administration ( email )

601 South Morgan Street
11th Floor
Chicago, IL 60607
United States

Rom Y. Schrift (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School ( email )

700 Jon M. Huntsman Hall
3730 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6340
United States

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