Mindful Matching: Ordinal versus Nominal Attributes

Forthcoming at the Journal of Marketing Research: Liu, Peggy J., Brent McFerran, and Kelly L. Haws, 'Mindful Matching: Ordinal versus Nominal Attributes.

74 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2019

See all articles by Peggy Liu

Peggy Liu

University of Pittsburgh

Brent McFerran

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Beedie School of Business

Kelly Haws

Vanderbilt University - Marketing

Date Written: April 30, 2019

Abstract

The authors propose a new conceptual basis for predicting when and why consumers match others’ consumption choices. Specifically, they distinguish between ordinal (“ranked”) versus nominal (“unranked”) attributes and propose that consumers are more likely to match others on ordinal than on nominal attributes. Eleven studies, involving a range of different ways of operationalizing ordinal versus nominal attributes, collectively support this hypothesis. The authors’ conceptualization helps resolve divergent findings in prior literature and provides guidance to managers on how to leverage information about prior customers’ choices and employees’ recommendations to shape and predict future customers’ choices. Further, the authors find process evidence that this effect is driven in part by consumers’ beliefs that a failure to match on ordinal (but not nominal) attributes will lead to social discomfort for one or both parties. Although the primary focus is on food choices, the effects are also demonstrated in other domains, extending the generalizability of the findings and implications for managerial practice and theory. Finally, the conceptual framework offers additional paths for future research.

Keywords: matching, ordinal attributes, nominal attributes, joint consumption, social influence, decision making

Suggested Citation

Liu, Peggy and McFerran, Brent and Haws, Kelly, Mindful Matching: Ordinal versus Nominal Attributes (April 30, 2019). Forthcoming at the Journal of Marketing Research: Liu, Peggy J., Brent McFerran, and Kelly L. Haws, 'Mindful Matching: Ordinal versus Nominal Attributes.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3422917

Peggy Liu

University of Pittsburgh ( email )

3950 Roberto Clemente Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/view/peggyjliu

Brent McFerran

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Beedie School of Business ( email )

8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Colombia V5A 1S6
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://beedie.sfu.ca/profiles/BrentMcFerran

Kelly Haws (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Marketing ( email )

Nashville, TN 37203
United States

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