This is an outdated version published on 2020-02-02. Read the most recent version.

The Influence of Available Alternatives and Variable Expectations on the Impact of Disconfirmations on Satisfaction


  • Con Korkofingas Macquarie University


This paper examines the impact of the characteristics of available alternatives and variable expectations on customer satisfaction within a choice framework. Typical models for customer satisfaction use a disconfirmations paradigm based on the gap between mean expectations of product performance and actual product performance. This may not adequately explain satisfaction if expectations are distributional for the alternatives available. Given disconfirmations may also impact differentially on satisfaction measurements depending on the alternatives available and specifically the various contexts engendered by variable expectations of the available alternatives. Using a designed choice experiment, this paper examines the impact of a given disconfirmation on satisfaction through various contexts created by manipulation of characteristics including expectation variability and attributes of available alternatives. Results suggest satisfaction measurements depend on expectation variability, attributes of available alternatives and, importantly, interactions between these variables. 


Abendroth, Lisa J. (2001), “Disentangling Regret from Expectancy-Disconfirmation” Advances in Consumer Research, 28, 371-372.

Anderson, Eugene.W. and M.W. Sullivan (1993), “ The Antecedents and Consequences Of Customer Satisfaction for Firms.” Marketing Science, 12, (Spring), 125-143.

Arrow, K.J. (1965), "The Theory of Risk Aversion." in Aspects of the Theory of Risk Bearing, 35, Helsinki, Yrjo Jahnsonin Saatio.

Bell, D., (1982), “Regret in Decision Making Under Uncertainty” Operations Research, 30, 961-981.

Bell, D., (1983), “Risk Premiums for Decision Regret” Management Science 29, 1156-1166.

Bell, D., (1985), “Disappointment in Decision Making Under Uncertainty” Operations Research 33, 1-27.

Boles, T. L., and D. M Messick (1995), “A Reverse Outcome Bias: The Influence of Multiple Reference Points on the Evaluation of Outcomes and Decisions” Organizational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes, 61, 262–275.

Boulding, W., K. Ajay, R. Staelin, and V. A. Zeithmal, (1993), “ A Dynamic Process Model of Service Quality”, Journal of Marketing Research, 24,(August), 7-27.

Boyle, Gerry, and Dennis Coniffe (2008), “Compatability of Expected Utility and ??? Approaches to Risk for a Class of Non-location Scale Distributions’, Economic Theory, 35, 343-366.

Brandt, R. (1997), "Satisfaction studies must measure what a customer wants and expects", Marketing News, 31, 17.
Bui, M., A. S. Krishen and K. Bates (2001), “Modeling Regret Effects on Consumer Post-purchase Decisions” European Journal of Marketing, 45,(7/8), 97-111.

Hogarth, R. (1987), Judgement And Choice. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Inman, J.Jeffrey, James S. Dyer and Jianmin Jia (1997), “A Generalized Utility Model of Disappointment and Regret Effects on Post-Choice Valuation." Marketing Letters, 8, (2), 229-238.
Inman, J.J., and Marcel Zeelenberg (1998), "#Oh Wow, I Could’ve Had a V8!’: The Role of Regret in Consumer Choice," Working Paper, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI.

Jia, J., J. S. Dyer and J. C. Butler (2001), "Generalized disappointment models" Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 22, 59–78.

Kroll, Yoram, Haim Levy and Harry M. Markowitz (1984), “Mean-Variance Versus Direct Utility Maximisation” Journal of Finance, 39, 47-61.
Loomes, G. and R. Sugden, (1982), "Regret Theory: An Alternative Theory of Rational Choice under Uncertainty" The Economic Journal, 92, 805-824.

Loomes, G. and R. Sugden (1983), "Disappointment and Dynamic Consistency in Choice Under Uncertainty" Review of Economic Studies, 53, 271-282.

Loomes, G. and R. Sugden (1987), "Some Implications of a More General Form of Regret Theory"Journal of Economic Theory, 41, 270-287

Louviere, J. J. (2001), "What if Consumer Experiments Impact Variances as well as Means? Response Variability as a Behaviour Phenomenon." Journal of Consumer Research, 28, December, 506-511.

Mandler, G. (1982), "The Structure of Value: Accounting for Taste" in Clarke, M. and Fiske, S. eds "Perception, Cognition and Development", Erlbaum, Hillsdale NJ., 3-36.

Markowitz, H.M. (1952), "Portfolio selection", Journal of Finance,7, 77-91.

Meyer, Jack and Robert H. Rasche (1992) "Sufficient Conditions for Expected Utility to Imply Mean-Standard Deviation Rankings: Empirical Evidence Concerning the Location and Scale Condition" Economic Journal, 102, January, 91-106.

Minniard Paul W., Mary Jane Burns and Kimberley A. Taylor (1999), "The Impact of Choice Sets on Consumer Satisfaction, Dissatisfaction and Regret" Advances In Consumer Research, 26, 342-349.

Myers-Levy, J. and A. Tybout (1989), "Schema Congruity as a Basis for Evaluation" Journal of Consumer Research, 16, June, 39-54.

Oliver, Richard L. (1997), " Satisfaction: A Behavioural Perspective on the Consumer." Irwin McGraw-Hill, NY.

Peracchio, L. and R. Tybout (1996), "The Moderating Role of Prior Knowledge in Schema-based Product Evalution." Journal of Consumer Research, 23, 3, 177-192.

Pratt, J. W. (1964), "Risk Aversion in the Small and in The Large." Econometrica, 32, 122-136.

Reicheld, Frederick R. (1995), "Satisfied Customers Come Back for More." American Banker 160, November, 13-14.

Rust, Roland T. (1997), “What You Don't Know about Customer-Perceived Quality: The Role of Customer Expectation Distributions." Marketing Science, 18, 1, 77-92.

Rust, Roland T., J. Jeffrey Inman, Jianmin Jia and Anthony Zahorik (1999), “What You Don't Know about Customer-Perceived Quality: The Role of Customer Expectation Distributions." Marketing Science, 18, (1), 77-92.

Santos, Jessica and Johnathan Boote (2003) "A Theoretical Exploration and Model of Consumer Expectations, Post-Purchase Affective States and Affective Behaviour" Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 3, 2, 142-156.

Schoemaker, P. J. H. (1993), "The Expected Utility Model: Its variants, Purposes, Evidence and Limitations" Journal of Economic Literature, 20, 529-563.

Taylor, Kimberley A. (1997), "A Regret Theory Approach to Assessing Consumer Satisfaction", Marketing Letters , 8, 2, 229 238.

Tsiros, M. (1998), "Effect of Regret on Post-Choice Evaluation: The Case of More than Two Alternatives" Organisational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes, 76, 48-69.

Tsiros, M. and V. Mitall (2000), "Regret: A Model of its Antecedents and Consequences in Consumer Decision Making" Journal of Consumer Research, 26, 4, 401- 417.

Tversky, Amos and Daniel Kahnemann (1974), "Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases" Science, 185, 1124-1131.

Westbrook, Robert A. (1987), "Product/Consumption-Based Affective Responses and Post-Purchase Processes." Journal of Marketing Research, 24, August, 258-270.

Westbrook, Robert A. (2000), "Towards a Managerial Research Agenda for Customer Satisfaction." Journal of Consumer Satisfaction, Dissatisfaction and Complaining Behaviour, 13, 17-25.

Williams, Roger and Rolf Visser (2002), "Customer Satisfaction: It is Dead but Will Not Lie Down." Managing Service Quality 12, 3, 194-200.

Wilson, A. (2002), "Attitudes towards Customer Satisfaction Measurement in the Retail Sector" International Journal of Market Research, 44, 2, 213-22.

Wirtz, Jochen and John E.G. Bateson (1999), "Introducing Uncertain Performance Expectations in Satisfaction Models for Services." International Journal of Service Industry Management, 10, 1, 82-99.

Wirtz, Jochen and Anna S. Mattila (2001), "The Impact of Expected Variance in Performanceson the Satisfaction Process" International Journal of Service Industry Management, 12, 3/4, 342-357.

Woodruff, Robert B., Ernest R. Cadotte and Roger L. Jenkins (1983), "Modelling Consumer Satisfaction Processes Using Experience-Based Norms," Journal of Marketing Research, 20, August, 296-304.

Zeelenberg, Marcel (1999), "Anticipated Regret, Expected Feedback and Behavioural Decision Making" Journal of Behavioural Decision Making, 12, 2, 93-106.

Zeelenberg, Marcel and Rik Pieters (2004), “Beyond Valence in Customer Satisfaction: a Review and New Findings on Behavioural Responses to Regret and Disappointment in Failed Services” Journal of Business Research, 57, 445-455.

Zeelenberg, M., Wilco W. van Dijk, Antony S.R. Manstead and Joop van der Pligt (2000), "On bad decisions and disconfirmed expectancies: The psychology of regret and disappointment" Cognition and Emotion, 14, 4, 521–541.

Zeithaml, Valerie A., Leonard L. Berry and A. Parasuraman (1993), "The Nature and Determinants of Customer Expectations of Service" Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 21, Winter, 1-12.

Zeithaml, Y.A. and Mary Jo Bitner (2000), "Services Marketing-Integrating Customer Focus Across the Firm” NY, McGraw-Hill