When product attitudes go to waste

Wasting products with remaining utility decreases consumers' product attitudes

Erica van Herpen*, Ilona E. de Hooge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Consumers regularly waste products with unused utility (e.g., edible food, functioning appliances), but also have an aversion to such wastefulness. The present paper demonstrates that this wasting conflict has relevant managerial implications. Drawing upon cognitive dissonance theory, the authors predict and reveal in three experiments that brand attitudes for everyday mundane products can suffer when the unused utility of such products is wasted. Two scenario studies show that wasting a product with unused utility leads to feelings of discomfort (Experiment 1), and to lower product attitudes (Experiment 2). A final study (Experiment 3) replicates the effect on brand attitudes in an actual consumption situation. Moreover, it shows that brand visibility is a moderator in this process: wasting tends to lead to lower brand attitudes when the brand is visible at the moment of wasting, but not when the brand is not visible. Collectively, these experiments provide novel insights into how and when the generation of waste can have detrimental effects on brand attitudes, demonstrating the importance of consumer waste acts for industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-418
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume210
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2019

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Consumer products
experiment
Experiments
Moderators
Visibility
visibility
consumer product
product
Experiment
Wasting
food
Brand attitude
industry
Industry

Keywords

  • Attitude
  • Cognitive dissonance
  • Discomfort
  • Waste

Cite this

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title = "When product attitudes go to waste: Wasting products with remaining utility decreases consumers' product attitudes",
abstract = "Consumers regularly waste products with unused utility (e.g., edible food, functioning appliances), but also have an aversion to such wastefulness. The present paper demonstrates that this wasting conflict has relevant managerial implications. Drawing upon cognitive dissonance theory, the authors predict and reveal in three experiments that brand attitudes for everyday mundane products can suffer when the unused utility of such products is wasted. Two scenario studies show that wasting a product with unused utility leads to feelings of discomfort (Experiment 1), and to lower product attitudes (Experiment 2). A final study (Experiment 3) replicates the effect on brand attitudes in an actual consumption situation. Moreover, it shows that brand visibility is a moderator in this process: wasting tends to lead to lower brand attitudes when the brand is visible at the moment of wasting, but not when the brand is not visible. Collectively, these experiments provide novel insights into how and when the generation of waste can have detrimental effects on brand attitudes, demonstrating the importance of consumer waste acts for industry.",
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When product attitudes go to waste : Wasting products with remaining utility decreases consumers' product attitudes. / van Herpen, Erica; de Hooge, Ilona E.

In: Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 210, 10.02.2019, p. 410-418.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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AU - de Hooge, Ilona E.

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