Academic journal article Academy of Marketing Studies Journal

The Consumer Satisfaction/dissatisfaction Process: The Context of Joint or Syncratic Decision-Making

Academic journal article Academy of Marketing Studies Journal

The Consumer Satisfaction/dissatisfaction Process: The Context of Joint or Syncratic Decision-Making

Article excerpt


This paper was undertaken to provide insight into the consumer satisfaction/ dissatisfaction process in the context of joint or syncratic decision-making. Another objective was to investigate the applicability of the symbolic interaction framework to the consumer satisfaction process and to test the reliability and validity of the scales using three separate data sets: husbands, wives, and joint. A third purpose was to use the confirmation/disconfirmation model to investigate the relationship between syncratic decision-making and the individual and joint satisfaction of husbands and wives. The results indicate that, despite significant differences in norms, expectations, and perceptions of performance, husbands and wives showed no significant difference in disconfirmation and satisfaction. There was also no significant difference between the joint and the individual satisfaction of either husbands or wives. Implications are that individual differences in norms, expectations, and perceptions of product performance could result in similar levels of satisfaction.


The concept of consumer satisfaction/dissatisfaction (CS/D) has received considerable attention in the marketing and consumer behavior literature. Part of this concern for the welfare, and hence the satisfaction, of the consumer stems from the realization that, over the long run, satisfied consumers are critical to the successful practice of marketing and to the long-run profitability of the firm. Customer satisfaction with a product often leads to repeat purchase, acceptance of other products of the same product line, and favorable word-of-mouth communications. Marketers are also deeply concerned with consumer satisfaction because of the many adverse effects which can result from consumer dissatisfaction (Richins, 1983; Engel & Blackwell, 1982).

The apparent marketing maxim that directs the marketer towards providing consumer satisfaction, or the absence of dissatisfaction, is stated in the "marketing concept." Dickerson, Herbst and O'Shaughnessy (1986) state that

... the marketing concept remains the most enduring tenet in the teaching of marketing. Its foundation stone is consumer orientation, the belief that a business, if it is to be successful, should be oriented towards satisfying the needs of its customers (p. 18).

Since its introduction in the 1950s, the marketing concept has become the cornerstone of the principle and practice of marketing (McKitterick, 1957). While the profit aspect of the marketing concept has always been given a relatively great amount of research attention, the notion of satisfaction has only recently begun to receive the attention of researchers (Hunt, 1977a). The number of articles published in the area attest to the fact that CS/D is of great interest to marketers. Much of this work, however, has tended to focus firstly on conceptual and theoretical developments and secondly on adaptations to the basic CS/D process model to account for consumer and market differences (Tse & Wilton, 1988; Woodruff, Cadotte & Jenkins, 1983; Westbrook, 1980).

This study focused on the replication and extension of the disconfirmation model by including the concepts of consensus and cohesion. Survey research procedures were employed to gather both individual and joint data from 137 couples who had purchased single-family dwellings between January 1986 and December 1989. The main statistical techniques used were T-tests, analysis of variance, and regression analysis.


The purchasing of most consumer products takes place within the context of the family. Further, a large number of these decisions are either jointly made or else are influenced by someone within the family. However, despite the apparent pervasiveness of joint or syncratic decision-making, inquiry into the area of consumer satisfaction has focused on the individual as the unit of analysis, largely ignoring dyads and larger groups. …

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