Means-End Relations

65 Pages Posted: 26 Aug 2006

See all articles by Johan van Rekom

Johan van Rekom

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

Berend Wierenga

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM); Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

Date Written: August 2002 4,

Abstract

Means-end relations are generally assumed to be hierarchical, and, by implication, asymmetrical. That is, if A is a means to achieve B, B is not at the same time also a means to achieve A. Literature casting doubt on this directedness of means-end relations is reviewed, and the hypothesis of means-end relations having direction is tested in two empirical studies. In these studies the means-end relations turn out to be symmetrical rather than asymmetrical. Means-end structures may therefore better be conceptualized as semantic networks rather than as straight hierarchies. Consequently, for the presentation and interpretation of the results from means-end studies, the emphasis should be on elements that derive from the network nature of the cognitive structure and not from the (possibly misleading) notions of hierarchy.

Keywords: laddering, means-end relations, consumer behavior, semantic relations, hierarchy

JEL Classification: M, M31, C44, D21

Suggested Citation

van Rekom, Johan and Wierenga, Berend, Means-End Relations (August 2002 4,). ERIM Report Series Reference No. ERS-2002-36-MKT. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=370983

Johan Van Rekom (Contact Author)

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands
31/10/408/.1967 (Phone)
31/10/4089011 (Fax)

Berend Wierenga

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Room T08-21
3000 DR Rotterdam, 3000 DR
Netherlands

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

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