Magnus Söderlund

Magnus Söderlund
Stockholm School of Economics · Department of Business Administration

Ph D

About

95
Publications
50,081
Reads
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2,584
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Introduction
Magnus Söderlund is Professor of Marketing and Head of Center for Consumer Marketing at Stockholm School of Economics and Senior Fellow at Hanken School of Economics. Magnus does research in consumer behavior-related areas, often with experimental methods, and with an interest in how consumers are affected by various marketing activities.
Additional affiliations
June 2008 - present
Stockholm School of Economics
Position
  • Professor (Full)

Publications

Publications (95)
Article
In the near future, it is expected that we humans will receive an increasing part of various services from robots. Many observers, and several existing studies, indicate that we react more positively if our robots have humanlike attributes and capabilities, and the present study examines one such capability: theory of mind. It has to do with the ab...
Article
Virtual agents (VAs) are used increasingly as representatives of the firm in retail and service settings – particularly in online environments. Existing studies indicate that the customer’s experience is enhanced if VAs resemble humans, which seems to imply that what has been learned over the years in research about the influence of the human emplo...
Article
Full-text available
Virtual agents (VAs) are used increasingly as representatives of the firm in retail and service settings-particularly in online environments. Existing studies indicate that the customer's experience is enhanced if VAs resemble humans, which seems to imply that what has been learned over the years in research about the influence of the human employe...
Article
Service robots sharing the same environments with humans are typically designed to have various humanlike features, because perceptions of robots as humanlike make them more acceptable to human users. This study examines one human characteristic that has hitherto been unexplored in studies of humans' perceptions of robots: a self-recognition abilit...
Article
Purpose This study aims to examine humans’ reactions to service robots’ display of warmth in robot-to-robot interactions – a setting in which humans’ impressions of a service robot will not only be based on what this robot does in relation to humans, but also on what it does to other robots. Design/methodology/approach Service robot display of war...
Article
Purpose Firms have begun to introduce virtual agents (VAs) in service encounters, both in online and offline environments. Such VAs typically resemble human frontline employees in several ways (e.g. the VAs may have a gender and a name), which indicates the presence of an assumption by VA designers – and by firms that employ them – that VA humannes...
Article
Firms have begun to introduce virtual agents (VAs) in service encounters, both in online and offline environments. Such VAs typically resemble human frontline employees in several ways (e.g. the VAs may have a gender and a name), which indicates the presence of an assumption by VA designers – and by firms that employ them – that VA humanness is a p...
Article
Full-text available
Few existing virtual agents (VAs) that customers interact with in service encounters can experience emotions, but they can be (and often are) designed so that they appear to have this capability. The purpose of this study was to assess VAs' display of happiness in service encounters when the only means they have to express themselves is the text th...
Article
Full-text available
In this study, an experiment was used to examine the effects of employee norm-violations in the service encounter with respect to what was considered appropriate behavior (e.g., social distancing) during the 2020 corona pandemic. The participants were exposed to a grocery store employee whose behavior was manipulated (norm-violating vs. norm-confir...
Article
The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of unsubstantiated claims that a product is “ecological.” A between-subjects experimental design was used in which the absence versus the presence of an (unsubstantiated) ecological claim regarding a product was a manipulated factor. The design comprised four products, representing non-ingestible/...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose This study aims to assess factors influencing customers’ online grocery shopping experiences, and it evaluates the central role of customer service and consumers’ responses to satisfying grocery shopping. Design/methodology/approach A mixed-methods approach was used; linguistic inquiry and the word count (LIWC) method captured qualitative...
Article
In the service encounter, the employee must often encourage customer self-disclosure (i.e., revealing of personal information) to be able to match the customer’s needs with what the firm has to offer. This study uses an experimental approach to manipulate employee encouragement of self-disclosure (low vs. high) to explore its impact on the customer...
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of happiness expressed by service firm employees when they are depicted in marketing communications materials, such as printed ads and videos. Design/methodology/approach Two experiments were conducted in a fitness service setting, in which employee display of happiness was manipulated (lo...
Article
Purpose This paper aims to examine the impact of thinking about an event as an antecedent to subsequent talk about this event with others (i.e. word-of-mouth). Thinking has been a neglected variable in word-of-mouth research, despite the fact that several conceptual arguments indicate that thinking is likely to enhance talking. Here, the thinking–t...
Article
Full-text available
This study examines if labeling customers as ‘member’ versus ‘non-member’ in the context of a firm’s loyalty program can influence the customers’ evaluations of the firm. It was assumed that firms’ membership-related labels, which typically are euphemisms in relation to the mere discounts offered by many loyalty programs, can (a) prime customers so...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Despite the fact that clicks on thumb buttons on Internet sites are used increasingly as performance indicators by practitioners, and as independent and dependent variables by academic researchers, it is unclear which theoretical constructs such clicks capture. Intuitively, however, clicking on a thumb can be seen as the expression of an evaluation...
Article
Purpose This paper aims to examine if the response device (smartphone vs computer) used by participants in online data collections affects their responses. The screens of smartphones and computers differ in size, and the main hypothesis here is that screen size is likely to be influential when stimuli with aesthetic qualities are shown on the scree...
Article
This study examines the impact of thinking about an event as an antecedent to subsequent talk about this event with others (i.e., word-of-mouth). Thinking has been a neglected variable in word-of-mouth research, despite the fact that several conceptual arguments indicate that thinking is likely to enhance talking. Here, the thinking–talking associa...
Article
Different treatment of different customers has traditionally been seen as a typical characteristic of tourism services. This research investigates unearned superior treatment in the tourism industry as taking place in a social setting where customers are able to compare the service they receive to that of other customers. Moreover, we take the disa...
Chapter
In a retail context there are many opportunities to reach consumers with messages while they are engaged in various shopping-related activities. Such activities, however, often involve physical effort – a variable that can influence information-processing outcomes. Yet very little is known about the impact of physical effort on consumers’ reactions...
Article
The present study examines employee proactivity (i.e., the employee initiates face-to-face contact with the customer on the floor of the store) and its impact on customer satisfaction. Two empirical studies (one survey and one field experiment) were conducted in a grocery retailing context. Both studies showed that employee proactivity boosted cust...
Article
Previous research has indicated that employee joke-telling in the service encounter can have a negative impact on customer satisfaction, particularly with respect to perceived overall message relevance as a mediating variable. The present study is an attempt to examine if these results would be replicated in service encounter settings with other ch...
Article
The persuasiveness of stories and their influence on consumers have been acknowledged in marketing, particularly within the advertising field. In marketing practice, brand stories are increasingly also appearing on product packages. However, packages differ from ads in significant ways as communication channels; for example, the space for messages...
Book
Full-text available
This is a book targeting actors in the field of marketing – academic researchers, practitioners, market analysts, teachers and students – with an interest in how customers are influenced by marketing. The main argument is that the experiment constitutes a powerful method for revealing the influence of various marketing activities. Basically, an exp...
Article
Employees are often depicted in service firms’ marketing communications material. This study examines one particular aspect of such depictions: the signaling of happiness in terms of the employees’ facial expressions. It is assumed that depicted faces transmit emotional signals, that receivers are hardwired to react to such signals, and that the em...
Article
Existing research on experiential offers often examines the impact of such offers on consumers' evaluations (e.g., customer satisfaction). Yet existing research has neglected that experiential offers typically involve effort from both the supplier and the consumer – and neglected that effort can influence evaluations. To address this gap, the prese...
Article
The objective of this article is to examine a set of ways to influence consumer behavior toward making more environmentally friendly choices. We conducted three different studies to investigate (1) what consumers think would influence their behavior, (2) how several question-based verbal influence strategies nudge consumer behavior in one direction...
Article
This study assesses the impact of employee use of jokes embedded in face-to-face conversations with customers. Our main finding – derived from experiments in which employee use of jokes was manipulated – was that jokes reduced customer satisfaction. This reduction occurred regardless if jokes were related or unrelated to the employee's overall mess...
Article
This study examines if employee display of burnout symptoms in service encounters has an impact on customer satisfaction. An experimental approach was used in which the employee's display of burnout (absent vs. present) and the service performance level (low vs. high) were the manipulated factors. The results show that employee display of burnout h...
Article
Purpose The purpose of this study is to examine categorization leakage from employees in service encounters in terms of indications that the customer has been categorized as either poor or rich. Given that customers perceive themselves as belonging to one of these two categories, leakage can result in perceptions of the categorization as either cor...
Article
Purpose: The studies presented here assess the impact of perceived effort related to packaging on overall product evaluations. Perceived effort, defined as the consumer's perceptions of how much manufacturer effort that lies behind an offer, is assumed to contribute to evaluations by signaling unobservable characteristics of an offer. Design: Three...
Article
Existing research suggests that humans are hardwired to be sensitive to the presence of other humans, and that the mere presence of someone is likely to affect human behavior. So far, however, this issue has been under-researched in physical environments in which retail and service transactions take place and with respect to the mere presence of em...
Article
Purpose The purpose of the paper is to examine how members at different levels in a multi-level loyalty program react when they are allowed the opportunity to compare the rewards they receive with the rewards received by other members. The authors believe this is crucial, as previous research often ignores the social setting in which exchanges conc...
Article
This study explores humour in recruitment advertising by examining the effects on job seekers of humour in online job advertisements. The results from an experimental study in which the humour content in job ads was manipulated indicate that humour negatively affected job seekers' attitudes towards the job ad, the company, and the job. However, hum...
Chapter
The persuasiveness of stories and their influence on consumers have been acknowledged within the fields of advertising, tourism, and services. Despite these findings, stories have not caught the attention that they deserve in the product and brand literature. Nothing indicates that stories would have less of an effect when applied to brands. It is...
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine consumer response to pictures of smiling models in marketing, focusing on the roles of emotional contagion from the smiling models and the perceived typicality of marketing with smiling models. Design/methodology/approach – This paper reports the findings from three experimental studies, comparing...
Article
Storytelling is frequently discussed in the experience literature, yet this literature rarely deals with consumption of stories per se. Here, we argue that absorption is a central aspect of both experiences and story consumption, and the purpose is to empirically examine (1) a set of theoretical factors likely to have an impact on story absorption...
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to study the responses of young consumers to suspected covert and overt product-brand recommendations in a blog. Design/methodology/approach – Experimental design was applied to investigate the effect of covert and overt marketing on young consumers’ perceptions of blogger credibility and their behavioural in...
Conference Paper
This study examines categorization leakage from a service employee in a service encounter suggesting that the customer has been categorized as either poor or rich. Given that customers perceive themselves as belonging to one of these two categories, leakages in terms of a poor–rich categorization can result in perceptions of the categorization bein...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter explores the potential for the service worker's behavior in service encounters to spill over on the customer's behavior outside service encounters.
Article
This paper explores the notion of transaction-specific satisfaction as a gain/loss situation in relation to cumulative satisfaction prior to the most recent transaction. The empirical results from an experiment in a service setting indicate that loss aversion is at hand (i.e., losses loom larger than gains in the effects on behavioral intentions)....
Article
Full-text available
Purpose - This study examines reactions when customers in service encounters receive preferential treatment (i.e., something extra in relation to other customers). The examination is conducted in a social context that allows the customer to compare what he or she receives with what other customers receive. The main effect variables are perceived ju...
Article
Two lacunae in the relationship marketing literature are examined in this paper: (1) effects of satisfaction stemming from one particular store visit on the customer׳s relation to other stores (the existing literature typically focuses on the customer׳s relation to one satisfaction-creating store), and (2) the extent to which the impact of customer...
Article
Purpose ‐ This study aims to examine customers' reactions in service encounters in which the customer contact person (CCP) initially engages in positive social behaviors and then turns to suggestive selling. Design/methodology/approach ‐ An experimental between-subjects design was employed. The participants interacted in a service encounter with a...
Conference Paper
This study employs an experimental method to examine the effects of providing customers with preferential treatment in service encounters allowing for explicit customer-to-customer comparisons. The results indicate that preferential treatment is perceived as relatively unjust – both by those who receive it and those who do not receive it. These res...
Chapter
Although most online retailers display clothes and apparel in photographs worn by human fashion models, there are some notable variations (Khakimdjanova and Park 2005). A number of important online retailers, ranging from retail giant Wal-Mart to high-end online fashion retailer Net-a-Porter, all crop images on their websites rather drastically by...
Chapter
Categorization of customers, in terms of market segmentation, is a fundamental point of departure for marketing. Many marketers have also been inspired by the idea that marketing messages should be tailored for selected target groups. Typically, with this approach, not only the product per se, but also the ways in which customers are addressed by m...
Article
This article extends homicide adaptation theory by investigating signal effects of a murder. In two experiments (N = 299 and N = 161) participants reported their perceptions of a described person. The first study manipulated the information about the person (including or excluding a single sentence stating that the person has committed a murder) an...
Book
Full-text available
Book
Full-text available
1. Nordic retail research: An introduction Johan Hagberg, Ulrika Holmberg, Malin Sundström, and Lars Walter 2. “You have to eat French fries and béarnaise sauce otherwise life is over!” Consumers’ dilemmas concerning food choices Maria Frostling-Henningsson, Martin Hedbom, and Ludvig Thuresson 3. Grocery shopping behaviour and experiences of elderl...
Article
This paper presents an empirical study of the effects of customer familiarity (the number of purchase-related experiences accumulated by the customer). The main rationale behind a focus on familiarity is that it increases, by definition, if a loyalty/relationship marketing program is successful. The empirical data suggest that high familiarity cust...
Article
This study shows that other customers who are strangers, and who are present within the same retail environment as a focal customer, have an impact on the focal customer’s overall evaluation of the retailer. Three specific factors related to other customers were shown to influence the overall evaluation, in terms of the attitude towards the retaile...
Article
Purpose – This paper seeks to examine whether violence embedded in stories in ads can contribute to advertising effectiveness along the same lines as well‐researched ad elements such as the celebrity endorser and the physically attractive ad model. More specifically, the paper aims to assess whether violent content in an ad story adds to excitement...
Article
This paper assesses the impact of the service worker's display of emotions (i.e., one aspect of functional service quality) on customer satisfaction under the conditions of different levels of technical service quality by means of an experimental approach (N=600), in which display of emotions (unhappiness vs. happiness) and technical service qualit...
Article
This study assesses if the service worker's physical attractiveness has an impact on customer satisfaction in the moment of truth. An experimental approach, involving two different service settings (visiting a bookstore and traveling with an airline), was used to manipulate the level of the service worker's physical attractiveness. The results, for...
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine if the service worker's display of smiles in the service encounter has an effect on customer satisfaction. Design/methodology/approach – An experimental design was used in which participants (N=220) were randomly allocated to one of four service encounters. Two variables were manipulated; the servi...
Article
This study examines how receiving negative and positive word-of-mouth from satisfied and dissatisfied customers influences the potential customer. By explicitly including responses in terms of emotions—which hitherto have been neglected in research on word-of-mouth—it was found that emotional contagion and affect infusion were involved in the respo...
Article
This paper examines the prevalent advertising practice of visually juxtaposing an anonymous, physically attractive ad model and a product in terms of its effects on the attitude toward the product. In this appeal, in which there are no explicit verbal claims about how the two objects are connected, we argue that the physically attractive model sets...
Article
Purpose – The contemporary interest in customer loyalty has resulted in a proliferation of multi-item scales containing an aggregated mix of items that appears to reflect different aspects of loyalty. The most common application of this aggregation approach is to include two specific loyalty facets, repatronage intentions and word-of-mouth intentio...
Article
Purpose This paper aims to assess the impact of perceived effort related to packaging on overall product evaluations. Perceived effort, defined as the consumer’s perceptions of how much manufacturer effort that lies behind an offer, is assumed to contribute to evaluations by signaling unobservable characteristics of an offer. Design/methodology/ap...
Article
Purpose – Intentions are often included in service research, but researchers have paid little attention to a discussion in psychology in which different intention constructs are distinguished. This study is based on the belief that different intention constructs capture different aspects of the customer's assessments of his or her future repatroniz...
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents the results of an experimental study comparing itemized rating scales and continuous rating scales. Three dimensions, and one particular construct (brand attitude) served as the basis of the comparisons of multi-item applications of the two response formats: reliability levels in terms of Cronbach's alpha, variable means, and co...
Article
This study explores the potential for differences and similarities between two ways of conceptualizing customer satisfaction: current customer satisfaction (CCS) and anticipated customer satisfaction (ACS). The analysis shows that these two constructs share a substantial amount of variance, and that there is no significant difference in the level o...
Article
A repeat-purchase customer who patronizes the same service provider over time is likely to experience both good and poor service performance since services are inherently variable. One way for the provider to deal with variability is to target variables that act as "forgivers', i.e. variables that may reduce the negative impact of service variabili...
Article
The positive effect of customer satisfaction on repurchase intentions and attitudinal loyalty has been shown in numerous studies. The effect of switching barriers on these variables, however, has been subject to much less attention from researchers. In this study we propose that switching barriers can be seen as either positive or negative, and we...
Article
Emotion theorists usually stress that the individual's encounter with an object may elicit several emotions (with different consequences). Despite this assumption, many marketers have embraced satisfaction (one of several emotions in some emotion typologies) as the single emotional construct to assess customers' overall response to offers on the ma...
Article
This paper provides a survey on studies that analyze the macroeconomic effects of intellectual property rights (IPR). The first part of this paper introduces different patent policy instruments and reviews their effects on R&D and economic growth. This part also discusses the distortionary effects and distributional consequences of IPR protection a...
Article
When customer familiarity increases, customer expertise is likely to increase. Although expertise is known to affect information processing in several ways, few studies have examined the effects of familiarity on customers' evaluations and behavioral intentions. In this study, it was found that a high level of prepurchase familiarity was associated...
Article
Measures of behavioural intentions are common as dependent variables in satisfaction research. Scholars and practitioners involved in such research, however, seem to be unaware of the existence of different intention constructs. Three constructs are examined in this paper: "intentions-as-expectations", "intentions-as-plans", and "intentions-as-want...
Article
Measures of customers’ repurchase intentions have become common in marketing research, particularly since long-term relations with customers are stressed as an important goal. This study, however, illustrates that repurchase intentions may be a poor predictor of future behavior on industrial markets, and that past behavior may be a far better predi...
Article
This paper examines an empirical case of the way teams in a teaching context change, as they move from a less complex to a more complex task. The paper also examines the extent to which these changes affect performance in three dimensions: learning, organizational commitment and grades allocated to the units by teachers. Basically, it can be conten...
Article
The main finding in this paper is that customer familiarity (i.e. the number of product-related experiences accumulated by the customer) affects customer satisfaction in an asymmetric way. Data from customers in the airline industry suggest that it is more difficult to obtain a high level of satisfaction among high familiarity customers compared to...
Article
This paper examines the effects of customer familiarity (i.e. the number of previous consumption-related experiences) on a) expectations prior to the consumption of a service, b) performance perceptions after the consumption, and c) satisfaction after the consumption. Data collected in a longitudinal study of a tour operator's customers who took pa...
Article
Full-text available
This paper explores links between customer satisfaction, repurchase intentions, purchase behavior, and customer profitability with empirical data on attitudes, behavior, and profitability at the customer level of analysis. Purchase behavior and profitability data, derived from the accounting system of a firm, are matched with the responses of the f...
Article
Explores the extent to which the form of the relationship between customer satisfaction and customer behaviour is different under conditions of "low" satisfaction and "high" satisfaction. Three behavioural variables (word-of-mouth, feedback to the supplier, and loyalty) were examined. The results point to the fact that differences in the form do ex...
Book
Full-text available
Det övergripande syftet studien är att kartlägga beteende och attityder hos de kunder som handlar hos Systembolaget i dag, samt att kartlägga vad som kännetecknar kunder som är lönsamma för Systembolaget. Urvalet i studien består av ett slumpmässigt stickprov av kunder som är bosatta i följande regioner: Stockholm, Göteborg, Malmö, Sollentuna, Täby...
Book
Full-text available
Cannibalisation among products (i.e., competition between products within a producers product line, or, between products within the limited shelf space of a store) may present severe problems for producers, as well as for wholesalers and retailers. The research within this area has been scarce and the purpose of this report is, hence, to make an at...
Article
This paper deals with causal perceptions of the firm and its relations to the environment in the case of Swedish Telecom during a period of turbulent changes in the telecommunications industry. The question to be answered is to what extent decision makers' perceptions have changed over time in terms of three dimensions of the firm's environment der...
Article
In the post-modern era, the business environment of the firm is becoming increasingly turbulent and chaotic. Many firms have responded by using business intelligence, usually in the form of scanning departments and formal information systems. However, these methods have not proved to be successful. This article examines some reasons why they have f...
Article
Intentions are often included in consumer behavior research, but researchers have paid little attention to a discussion in psychol-ogy and philosophy indicating that different intention constructs may exist. The findings in this study suggest that researchers should indeed pay close attention to how intentions are conceptualized and operationalized...
Article
The point of departure in this paper is that the tools described in relationship marketing literature are not likely to provide us with a sufficiently rich understanding of why strong consumer-commercial object relationships emerge. The paper explores the following factors derived from research on commitment: satisfaction of high-level needs, effor...

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Projects (5)
Project
Are you doing research in the consumer behavior area? If so, how about sharing your research at the consumer behavior track at the Nordic Academy of Management conference 2021 (25-27 August 2021)? Submit an abstract with your research (deadline 30 January 2021). More info here: https://journals.oru.se/NFF2021/article/view/596
Project
Come to Vaasa in August 2019 and present your consumer-related research at NFF’s consumer behavior track! The deadline for abstracts (max. 800 words) is 15 February 2019, the deadline for a full paper is 23 June 2019. The conference takes place at University of Vaasa 22-24 August 2019. The Consumer Behavior Track at NFF 2019 is called “Consumer behavior research in the Nordic countries: What’s happening?”. This is the track idea: Consumer behavior research is supposed to deal with consumers’ acquisition, use, and disposition of products. All of these consumer activities, however, have not been studied to the same extent. And we do yet not have good theories for everything covered by these activities. At the same time, consumers are increasingly in focus for many firms. Much more research is thus needed. And much research is indeed carried out – so much that it is impossible for a single individual to keep track of what goes on. So, what exactly is going on? This ambition of this track is to provide an overview of current consumer behavior research in the Nordic countries. Research from both goods and service contexts is welcome; after all, leading researchers are beginning to question the traditional good-service distinction. Track organizers: Magnus Söderlund, Professor, Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden Hanna Berg, Assistant Professor, Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden Karina T. Liljedal, Assistant Professor, Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden More info regarding the conference: https://www.univaasa.fi/en/sites/nff2019/ LAND