Choice deferral (making no choice at all) is a common phenomenon, especially when individuals face a difficult decision. This is further exacerbated in the presence of negative incidental emotions which can have a wide-ranging influence on various aspects of decision-making. Previous research suggests that process (vs outcome) accountability might be more effective at mitigating the effect of irrelevant factors. This paper aims to examine whether accountability attenuates emotion effects on choice and examines the differences in the efficacy of the two accountability types.
The paper uses the appraisal tendency framework to propose differences between same valenced emotions on choice deferral and predicts the moderating role of process versus outcome accountability. Two experiments are conducted to test the predictions and the results analyzed using logistic regression.
The authors find that outcome and process accountability have different moderating effects on emotion and choice deferral relationship: under outcome accountability, angry individuals are more likely to defer choice while under process accountability, differences in choice across emotion conditions are attenuated. As predicted, differences between anger and fear on the certainty appraisal and thereby information processing, mediate the effects of emotion on choice deferral in the outcome (but not process) condition.
This research studies the intersection of two developing research streams, affect and accountability, by focusing on specific affective states (anger and fear) and specific accountability types (outcome and process) in the important context of decision avoidance in consumer behavior. Thus, theoretical understanding in both domains is advanced and the benefits of specific accountability types clarified. Key implications for consumers and future research directions are also discussed.
Garg, N., Inman, J. and Mittal, V. (2017), "Emotion effects on choice deferral: The moderating role of outcome and process accountability", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 51 No. 9/10, pp. 1631-1649. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-12-2015-0861Download as .RIS
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