Heterogeneous development of cognitive dissonance over time and its effect on satisfaction and loyalty

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The repeated measurement study confirms the presumption that cognitive dissonance is detrimental to satisfaction also in a low-priced context. However, the development of dissonance over time is complex and does not seem to follow a uniform pattern. While higher levels of dissonance decrease over time, smaller levels persist or even increase. One possible explanation for the observed heterogeneous development assumes that stronger dissonance motivates the consumer more intensely to undertake efforts to reduce dissonance, while smaller levels of dissonance are not as effective and, consequently, dissonance may grow over time. Alternatively, a small level of dissonance at the time of purchase may reflect severe uncertainty even before the purchase. Companies are advised, after as well as prior to the purchase, to assist the customer in abating feelings of dissonance and uncertainty, even if they appear to be minor. The fact that satisfaction and loyalty are highest when dissonance can be avoided altogether, further demonstrates the importance of the concept of dissonance as an explanatory construct in consumer behaviour.


Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1362/147539212X13469450373119

Publication date: September 1, 2012

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