Expectations Versus Desires: a Direct Test of Two Comparison Standards Assessing Consumer Satisfaction

Richard A. Spreng, Michigan State University
Scott B. MacKenzie, Indiana University
Richard W. Olshavsky, Indiana University
[ to cite ]:
Richard A. Spreng, Scott B. MacKenzie, and Richard W. Olshavsky (1993) ,"Expectations Versus Desires: a Direct Test of Two Comparison Standards Assessing Consumer Satisfaction", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 20, eds. Leigh McAlister and Michael L. Rothschild, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 507.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 20, 1993      Page 507

EXPECTATIONS VERSUS DESIRES: A DIRECT TEST OF TWO COMPARISON STANDARDS ASSESSING CONSUMER SATISFACTION

Richard A. Spreng, Michigan State University

Scott B. MacKenzie, Indiana University

Richard W. Olshavsky, Indiana University

While the disconfirmation of expectations model has dominated research on consumer satisfaction, recently this model has been challenged on both conceptual and empirical grounds. A number of comparison standards other than expectations have been suggested. This paper suggests that the consumer's desires should be utilized as the appropriate standard, and defines desires within means-end theory (Gutman 1982). The study reports the preliminary results of a study that allows a direct comparison between the disconfirmation of expectations and desires congruency (how closely performance matches desires). Results indicated that the effect of desires congruency on satisfaction is very strong, while disconfirmation has little or no effect. The results of the relative effect of desires congruency and disconfirmation should induce businesses to adopt desires rather than expectations as the standard for both measuring satisfaction as well as the goal toward which the organization strives. Other implications are discussed.

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