You Must Have a Preference: The Impact of No Preference Communication on Joint Decision Making

59 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2020

See all articles by Nicole Y. Kim

Nicole Y. Kim

University of Maryland at College Park

Alixandra Barasch

New York University

Yonat Zwebner

Arison School of Business

Rom Y. Schrift

Kelley School of Business, Indiana University

Date Written: July 15, 2020

Abstract

Despite its prevalence, prior work has yet to examine how communicating “no preference” can impact the joint decision process and its downstream consequences. The current research documents a discrepancy in how communication of no preference in joint decisions is perceived, and demonstrates its unexpected consumption and social costs. Across seven studies, we demonstrate that while consumers who express having no preference (‘communicators’) expect it to make the decision easier for the recipient, the latter (‘recipients’) find that this makes their decision more difficult. Communicating no preference creates this unexpected discrepancy because recipients suspect that the communicators are hiding their preferences, which ends up making the decision more difficult for the recipients than communicators anticipate. In two incentive compatible studies, we find that the increase in decision difficulty further decreases the recipients’ consumption utility and leads to reduced liking of the communicator.

Keywords: Joint Decision Making, No Preference, Decision Difficulty, Communication, Consumption Utility, Social Perception

Suggested Citation

Kim, Nicole Y. and Barasch, Alixandra and Zwebner, Yonat and Schrift, Rom, You Must Have a Preference: The Impact of No Preference Communication on Joint Decision Making (July 15, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3650352 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3650352

Nicole Y. Kim (Contact Author)

University of Maryland at College Park ( email )

College Park, MD
United States
3014520129 (Phone)

Alixandra Barasch

New York University ( email )

40 W. 4th St.
New York, NY 10012
United States

Yonat Zwebner

Arison School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 167
Herzliya, 46150
Israel

Rom Schrift

Kelley School of Business, Indiana University ( email )

107 S Indiana Ave
100 South Woodlawn
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States
812-856-1081 (Phone)

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
19
Abstract Views
130
PlumX Metrics