Exploring the Concept of Retrieved Expectations


  • Diane Halstead University of Kentucky


The expectations construct as conceptualized in consumer satisfaction research refers primarily to consumers' prepurchase beliefs about the overall performance or attribute levels of a product (Churchill and Surprenant 1982; Bearden and Teel 1983; LaTour and Peat 1979; Oliver 1980, 1987; Oliver and DeSarbo 1988; Tse and Wilton 1988). As such, the measurement of expectations should be performed prior to purchase and usage. In reality, however, many satisfaction studies defined expectations as a prepurchase construct but, due to research design limitations, measured them in a postpurchase context. That is, expectations were measured retrospectively (e.g., "Thinking back to the time before you purchased this product, how durable did you think it would be?"). This approach has some obvious limitations, particularly in terms of its impact on the nature of the expectations-satisfaction relationship. This paper explores the concept of consumers' postpurchase memories of their prepurchase expectations-referred to here as retrieved expectations-- and tests several hypotheses involving satisfaction and retrieved expectations.




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