Frustration Theory: toward an understanding of keyword search effectiveness and consumer responses

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The purpose of this paper is to investigate keyword search goals and the barriers to attainment of those momentary goals using precepts from frustration theory. To accomplish this objective, a critical incident survey was conducted. The findings indicate that: (1) there are two broad categories of keyword search goals, relevancy and time savings; (2) when the primary goal is relevancy, the blame for block to goal pursuit is placed on oneself, while the blame is placed on the search engine when the primary goal is time savings; (3) when the goal of obtaining relevant search results is blocked, frustration resolution is handled through cognitive restructuring or behavioural modifications; and (4) when the goal of time savings is thwarted, frustration resolution is dealt with through aggressive external blaming or resignation and subsequent goal desertion. The present research contributes to the substantive and conceptual domains of online consumer search behaviour, Internet search advertisements and e-commerce.
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