Abstract: Choice is introduced into attitudinal models, which traditionally have focused on nonchoice contexts. Four alternative models integrating the information-processing and attitudinal literatures are developed to represent different possible mental comparison processes leading to choice. It is proposed that consumers may compare beliefs about alternatives, or they may compare expectancy-value components, attitudes, or intentions, in order to choose between alternatives. The conditions under which each of these choice models is likely to be employed are discussed. For example, when facing few alternatives where one or more alternatives are somewhat unfamiliar and where beliefs about alternatives can be naturally grouped into a small number of salient dimensions, consumers are most likely to compare expectancy-value components across alternatives in order to make a choice. In a preliminary test of the proposed framework, the four alternative choice models are tested for a technology-based self-service context. A comparative analysis indicates that the Expectancy Comparison Model, which is conceptually appropriate for the specific conditions of this context, also has the best fit with the data.
Source: Journal of Consumer Research, 1994, Volume 21, June Issue, 100-118.
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