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Understanding and Responding to Negative Emotions in Consumer Resistance to Innovations


Hietschold, Nadine; Gurtner, Sebastian; Spanjol, Jelena (2017). Understanding and Responding to Negative Emotions in Consumer Resistance to Innovations. Academy of Management. Proceedings, 2017(1):16405 -16405.

Abstract

Innovations are incongruent with consumers’ expectations and therefore, are often accompanied by negative affect. However, consumers differ in the negative emotions experienced. Consumers will therefore react to company communications differently and can render such communications ineffective or even contribute to escalating negative stances. Companies remain unsure which communication strategy is the most effective to reach consumers with specific negative emotions. By using appraisal theory and emotion regulation, we hypothesize how specific negative emotions emerge, in which consequences they result and which communication strategies are most effective to reduce them. In a set of experimental studies in the context of a functional food innovation, we demonstrate that consumer fear and anger are closely interwoven, but are elicited by different appraisals (e.g., uncertainty vs. blame) and result in distinct behavioral responses (e.g., avoidance vs. hostility). Whether participants experience a single emotion or anger and fear together, is shown to depend on individual differences. Reappraisal of the consumer’s innovation perception using information provision as communication strategy reduces fear most effective. Reappraisal using perspective taking reduces anger. Inducing the positive emotion happiness reduces fear, but not anger. When applying the right reappraisal strategy for the primary emotion, secondary negative emotions are reduced as well.

Abstract

Innovations are incongruent with consumers’ expectations and therefore, are often accompanied by negative affect. However, consumers differ in the negative emotions experienced. Consumers will therefore react to company communications differently and can render such communications ineffective or even contribute to escalating negative stances. Companies remain unsure which communication strategy is the most effective to reach consumers with specific negative emotions. By using appraisal theory and emotion regulation, we hypothesize how specific negative emotions emerge, in which consequences they result and which communication strategies are most effective to reduce them. In a set of experimental studies in the context of a functional food innovation, we demonstrate that consumer fear and anger are closely interwoven, but are elicited by different appraisals (e.g., uncertainty vs. blame) and result in distinct behavioral responses (e.g., avoidance vs. hostility). Whether participants experience a single emotion or anger and fear together, is shown to depend on individual differences. Reappraisal of the consumer’s innovation perception using information provision as communication strategy reduces fear most effective. Reappraisal using perspective taking reduces anger. Inducing the positive emotion happiness reduces fear, but not anger. When applying the right reappraisal strategy for the primary emotion, secondary negative emotions are reduced as well.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Business Administration
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:30 October 2017
Deposited On:23 Aug 2019 10:55
Last Modified:25 Sep 2019 00:42
Publisher:Academy of Management
ISSN:2151-6561
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.5465/AMBPP.2017.197
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:15476

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