Monash University
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Investigating the effects of consumption-associated cues on disappointment, regret and post-consumption behaviours

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posted on 2017-02-27, 02:15 authored by Hossain, Muhammad Ismail
Consumers invariably encounter both positive and negative consumption experiences in their lives. Prior research finds that negative consumption experiences result in particular affective and behavioural reactions. This research focuses on how consumers respond to consumption-associated cues, in particular, causal attributions, expectations, and perceived information search, in terms of feelings of disappointment and regret, and how these emotions subsequently influence consumers’ post consumption behaviours. The uniqueness of this research lies in its attempts to ascertain the role of the multidimensionality of disappointment and regret in determining consumers’ responses to negative consumption experiences. The thesis presents three scenario-based experiments. Findings in general show that causal attributions, expectations, and information search efforts indeed induce disappointment and regret in different ways across different dimensions. Findings also support the notion, proposed but untested in the literature, of a sequential relationship between disappointment and regret as they result in different behavioural actions. This research not only advances theories of attributions, expectations, and disappointment and regret, but also gives practitioners new insights into ways by which they can strategically choose to influence emotions to reduce their negative effects on post-consumption behaviours. This thesis has six chapters. Chapter 1 presents an overview of the background of this research. It identifies the research gaps, defines the research objectives and develops the research questions. It then points out the theoretical and managerial contributions of this research and provides the outline of the thesis. Chapter 2 examines the relevant literature with a focus on negative consumption experience, the resultant feeling of disappointment and regret including their dimensions and these emotions’ effects on consumer behaviour, specifically repurchase and coping intentions. The chapter first presents an overview of cognitive appraisal theory that shows the causal chain of cognitions-emotions-behaviours. This is followed by a review of the consumption-associated cues that produce negative emotions, in particular disappointment and regret. This thesis then presents the literature relating to the effects of negative emotions on the behavioural responses with a focus on consumers’ repurchase and coping intentions. The review presented in this chapter offers an impetus in discovering the suitable research design and measurement instruments to answer the flagged research questions (Chapter 3) as well as in developing the conceptual models and research hypotheses (Chapter 4, Chapter 5 and Chapter 6). Chapter 3 details the research design including an outline of the research methods used to test the research hypotheses. More importantly, this chapter explains briefly the type and stages of the scenario-based experiments as well as the methods used to analyse the data. The details of the experimental studies including the hypotheses, the independent variables, type of study specific experimental design, study subjects and sampling procedure, details of research questionnaire, specific data analysis techniques and the findings relevant to each study are provided later in specific chapters that deal with specific studies (i.e. Chapter 4, Chapter 5 and Chapter 6). The next chapter details Study 1. Chapter 4 presents study 1. It states the research hypotheses manifesting the effects of causal attributions and expectations in producing disappointment and the dimensions of regret which in turn sequentially influence consumers’ repurchase and coping intention behaviours after a negative consumption experience. The chapter then presents a scenario-based experiment that follows a 2 x 2 x 2 between subjects’ full-factorial design and the methods used to analyse the data. ANOVA is used to test the main, interaction effects and Hayes’ Process Macro (2013), in particular model 6, is used to run the sequential mediation analysis. Study 1 finds that causal attributions and expectations differently trigger consumers’ feeling of disappointment and dimensions of regret in negative consumption experiences. Causal attributions and expectations are also found to interact while affecting the dimensions of regret in such consumption experiences. In addition, it finds that disappointment and regret sequentially drive consumers’ repurchase and coping intention behaviours. Chapter 5 presents study 2, which tests the hypotheses relating to the effects of responsibility attributions, expectations and information search. It consists of a scenario-based experiment using a 2 x 2 x 2 between-subjects full-factorial design. To analyse the data, this research uses ANOVA and the results show that disappointment and dimensions of regret are differentially triggered through causal attributions, expectations and information search. Study 2 also reveals an interaction of expectation and information search and its impact on the feeling of regret. Furthermore, the sequential mediation analyses show that disappointment and regret sequentially influence repurchase and coping intentions of consumers. Chapter 6 presents study 3. It first presents the hypotheses about the effects of external responsibility attributions and stated vs. unstated expectations in triggering disappointment and regret including these emotions’ dimensions. This is followed by the hypothesis that these emotions sequentially direct consumers’ repurchase and coping intentions. A scenario-based experiment using a 2 x 2 between subjects full factorial design is presented as well as the method used to analyse the data. In particular, ANOVA is used to test the main effect hypotheses and the results show that consumer perceptions of different external responsibility attributions differently trigger disappointment and regret dimensions. The results also show that stating vs. not stating expectations prior to a consumption experience contributes differently to overall disappointment and regret but not to the dimensions of disappointment and regret. In regards to the sequential mediations, the analysis run through Hayes Process Macro (2013) shows that disappointment and regret, including the dimensions, sequentially drive consumers’ repurchase and coping intentions. Chapter 7 presents the findings of the thesis in relation to the conceptual framework as drawn in Chapter 1. In particular, this research through the three experiments establishes that disappointment and regret are triggered differently by causal attributions, expectations and information search if their dimensions are taken into account. Furthermore, disappointment and regret, including their dimensions, sequentially affect consumers’ repurchase and coping intention behaviours. By comparing the findings of Study 1 and Study 2 this research also reveals that when there is a change in consumer roles: observer vs. active decision-maker, the explored effects change. These findings are followed by a critical discussion on the findings and the theoretical and managerial implications of this research. In terms of theoretical implications, this research contributes to the extant literature pertaining to disappointment and regret by accommodating the multiple dimensions of disappointment and regret and shows the antecedent role of the consumption-associated cues on these. This helps to resolve the current controversies about the deterministic role of these cues in disappointment and regret. Furthermore, this research explores the sequential operationalization of disappointment and regret including their multiple dimensions. For managers, this research suggests that when a bad outcome occurs and marketers are not responsible for it, they need to reinforce external factors for such an outcome through explanation. Furthermore, they need to manage consumers’ expectations even after the consumption experience to reduce their perception of a mismatch and thus the feeling of disappointment and regret. The chapter ends with identifying several limitations and directions for future research.


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Principal supervisor

Harmen Oppewal

Additional supervisor 1

Dewi Tojib

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre



Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type



Faculty of Business and Economics

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