Consumer reactions to professionals who use decision aids

Mauricio Palmeira, Guergana Spassova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - The purpose of this study is to investigate consumer reactions to professionals who use decision aids to make recommendations. The authors propose that people react negatively to decision aids only when they are used in place of human expert judgment. When used in combination with expert judgment, decision aids are not perceived negatively and may even enhance service evaluations. Design/methodology/approach - Three online experiments are presented. Participants indicated their perceptions regarding the recommendation strategy of professionals and their impressions of these professionals using one of three strategies: one based on expertise only, one based on decision aids only and a combination of the two (hybrid approach). Both within and between-subjects designs were used. Findings - Contrary to previous research that has found a negative reaction to professionals who use decision aids, the authors find that consumers actually appreciate these professionals, as long as the use of decision aids does not replace expert judgment. The authors also fnd that when people are given the opportunity to compare a pure expert judgment approach with a hybrid approach (decision aid in combination with expert judgment), they prefer the latter. Research limitations/implications - Although findings should extend to various contexts, this research is limited to the three contexts examined and to the type of use of decision aid described. Practical implications - It has significant practical implication,as decision aids have been shown to improve decision accuracy, but previous research had indicated that consumers view these professionals in a negative way. The current research more clearly delineates the situations under which negative reactions are likely to occur and makes recommendations regarding circumstances in which reactions are actually quite positive. Originality/value - Reactions to professionals using decision aids have been investigated outside the marketing literature. However, this is the first work to show that consumers actually have positive reactions to professionals using decision aids, as long as they do not replace expert judgment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302 - 326
Number of pages25
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Cite this