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Does Company Size Shape Product Quality Inferences? Larger Companies Make Better High-Tech Products, but Smaller Companies Make Better Low-Tech Products

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Abstract

Companies vary on oft-publicized size metrics (number of employees, revenue). Do consumers prefer otherwise-identical products made by larger or smaller companies? The answer hinges on whether consumers perceive the products as low-tech or high-tech. This prediction stems from a novel framework charting two lay theories regarding key resources companies utilize to provide value to consumers: employees and finances. In the “intrinsic motivation lay theory,” consumers believe that employees of larger (vs. smaller) companies are less intrinsically motivated. In the “financial resources lay theory,” consumers believe that larger (vs. smaller) companies have greater capacity to fund R&D. Critically, product type (low-tech vs. high-tech) differentially affects the accessibility of these two lay theories: For low-tech (vs. high-tech) products, the intrinsic motivation lay theory is more accessible, driving quality evaluations and choice in favor of smaller companies. For high-tech (vs. low-tech) products, the financial resources lay theory is more accessible, driving quality evaluations and choice in favor of larger companies. This research advances theory by reconciling conflicting findings regarding product quality inferences from company size metrics, with guidance for marketers to improve quality evaluations and choice shares by strategically supporting or challenging lay theories and shifting perceptions of company size or product type.

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The authors investigate the conceptualization and measurement of service quality and the relationships between service quality, consumer satisfaction, and purchase intentions. A literature review suggests that the current operationalization of service quality confounds satisfaction and attitude. Hence, the authors test (1) an alternative method of operationalizing perceived service quality and (2) the significance of the relationships between service quality, consumer satisfaction, and purchase intentions. The results suggest that (1) a performance-based measure of service quality may be an improved means of measuring the service quality construct, (2) service quality is an antecedent of consumer satisfaction, (3) consumer satisfaction has a significant effect on purchase intentions, and (4) service quality has less effect on purchase intentions than does consumer satisfaction. Implications for managers and future research are discussed.
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The authors examine the relative importance of extrinsic versus intrinsic cues in determining perceptions of store brand quality in an experiment using a sample of 1564 shoppers for five products. Results of the experiment suggest that consumers’ evaluations of store brand grocery items are driven primarily by the extrinsic cues that these products display rather than intrinsic characteristics. In addition, the authors found that a value for money orientation taken by retailers in the marketing of their private label lines may represent a suboptimal strategy; they recommend a quality orientation.
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The authors argue that what consumers learn from the experience of using products is not a simple matter of discovering objective truth. They frame the problem of learning from experience as a four-stage process (hypothesizing—exposure—encoding—integration) with three moderating factors (familiarity with the domain, motivation to learn, and the ambiguity of the information environment). The framework is used to identify where learning from product consumption experience is most open to managerial influence. The authors discuss strategic tools for managing experiential learning and consider applications to the simulation of learning in concept and pre-test-market product testing.
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Observers infer consumers' values and personality from their consumption behaviors. Recent literature highlights the benefits of minority consumption, typically by comparing several qualitatively different options. In seven studies (total N = 1555; one pre-registered), the current research instead compares inferences derived from the acquisition of the same products, framed as either bought by a numerical minority or a numerical majority, which eliminates any potentially different associations of the majority and minority options. Majority consumers (i.e., who purchase products bought by a large majority) are perceived as more competent - but not warmer - than minority consumers. This positive effect of majority consumption on purchasers' perceived competence is mediated by expected product quality, such that the majority options appear to be of higher quality than minority options, which prompts the more favorable competence inferences about buyers. This effect persists for functional products, but not for hedonic products. The data and materials for all studies are available at osf.io/u6zmn/.
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Online consumer reviews offer an unprecedented amount of information for consumers to evaluate services before purchase. We use the dual process theory to investigate consumer perceptions about information helpfulness (IH) in electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) contexts. Results highlight that popularity signals, two-sided reviews, and expert sources (but not source trustworthiness) are perceived as helpful by consumers to assess service quality and performance. Although two-sided reviews exercise a significant influence on perceived IH, their influence on purchase intention was indirectly mediated by IH. IH predicts purchase intention and partially mediates the relationship between popularity signals, source homophily, source expertise, and purchase intention.
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Within the literature, a respectful number of studies related to the use of assistive technologies for special education, resulting in an enormous agenda that encompasses various types of assistive technology applied across disabilities in different types of curricula. These disabilities include, but are not limited to: learning disabilities, mild, moderate and severe mental retardation, speech and communication disorders, hearing and speaking disabilities, and autism Hence, under the intertwined and overlapping umbrellas of assistive technologies and special education, mobile technology finds its promising, new spot on the surface of emerging assistive technologies in the field of special education. This paper addresses the potentials of using mobile technology in teaching individuals with developmental disorders based on current literature.
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The loss of a sense of humanness that stems from increasing mechanization, automation, and digitization gives firms an impetus to develop effective ways to humanize products. On the basis of knowledge activation theory, this article systematically investigates a novel humanization approach: the use of typefaces that appear to be handwritten. Across several laboratory and field studies, the authors provide evidence of the positive effect of handwritten typefaces, reveal the mechanisms that lead to these outcomes, and outline some boundary conditions. Specifically, the results show that handwritten typefaces create perceptions of human presence, which lead to more favorable product evaluations (and behavior) by enhancing the emotional attachment between the consumer and the product. However, these effects are mitigated for brands to which consumers already feel a sense of attachment. Finally, the effects reverse when the products are functionally positioned or functional in nature. The present article thus extends understanding of humanization processes and provides guidelines for how and when brands should use handwritten typefaces.
Book
Based on two experimental studies Christine Cowen-Elstner explores the possibilities of influencing the sensory product perception and thereby also the perceived product quality. The results of her studies not only show that this influence is happening but also that the expectation and experience of an individual play a crucial role in this context. Based on these findings she then develops recommendations for product design and communication. Contents • Quality perception and possible influences • Sensory marketing and the five senses • Possibilities for unconscious consumer influence • Empirical investigation of the environmental influence • Experimental research of the importance of product packaging Target Groups • Researchers, lectures and students of marketing, product development, communication, and business management • Practitioners and consultants in the field of marketing, product management and marketing communication The Author Dr. Christine Cowen-Elstner received her doctorate at the Institute of Innovation Marketing at the Hamburg University of Technology under Prof. Dr. Christian Lüthje. She presently works as a marketing specialist.
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Reducing firm environmental burden is not easy. Thus, several studies have investigated the antecedents of good firm environmental performance; however, they provide contrasting results, focus on specific categories of antecedents, and often rely on subjective performance measures. This study overcomes these gaps by jointly considering the effects of different firm strategic and organizational orientations on several dimensions of environmental performance, objectively measured. Through the analysis of 269 large global companies included in the Newsweek Green Ranking 2014, we found that: both market and environmental management orientations have a positive effect on carbon, energy, and water productivity; green supply chain management orientation has a positive influence on waste and water productivity; and technology orientation negatively affects carbon and waste productivity. Based on these findings, we advise managers that strategic and organizational orientations do not affect all types of environmental performance in the same way, thus calling for caution when they are designed for environmentally friendly purposes. Copyright © 2018 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment
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Recent shifts toward globalized companies, shared techno-economic power, and time-based competition are affecting the way R&D is performed in American industry. As we search for ways to make R&D investments more productive, the abiding issue arises of whether and how to measure R&D effectiveness objectively. This article argues that such measurements are important and possible, and that appropriate guidelines already exist in the form of the Total Quality Management approach. The fundamental tenets of achieving total quality management are outlined, and their connection with the requirements for effective R&D management is shown. A disciplined approach for measuring R&D effectiveness that is being developed at the Square D Company is then described.
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Significant literature has demonstrated that mistakes are undesirable and often result in negative inferences about the person or company that made the mistake. Consequently, individuals and companies tend to avoid sharing information about their mistakes with others. However, we find that consumers actually prefer products that were made by mistake to otherwise identical products that were made intentionally. This preference arises because consumers perceive that a product made by mistake is more improbable relative to a product made intentionally, and thus, view the product as more unique. We find converging evidence for this preference in a field study, six experiments, and eBay auction sales. Importantly, this preference holds regardless of whether the mistake enhances or detracts from the product. However, in domains where consumers do not value uniqueness (e.g., utilitarian goods), the preference is eliminated.