Title page for ETD etd-11022010-155406

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Isaac, Beauty
URN etd-11022010-155406
Document Title An investigation of the interplay of consumers’ appraisals, emotions and complaint behaviour concerning dissatisfactory major household appliances in Botswana
Degree MSc
Department Consumer Science
Advisor Name Title
Dr S Donoghue Supervisor
  • performance failures
  • household appliances
  • Botswana
Date 2010-09-02
Availability unrestricted

To gain empirical evidence of the nature of major household appliances’ performance failures, and of how dissatisfied consumers cognitively appraise product failure and their subsequent experiences in handling the negative event, the study explored by means of a survey the experiences of 200 female consumers in Gaborone, who had experienced dissatisfaction with any major household appliance within a prior four-year recall period. A convenience sampling technique was employed where pre-screened respondents completed a self-administered questionnaire.

The results of the study show that respondents clearly differentiated their expectations concerning the functional and symbolic performance dimensions of their specific appliances. When linking the theory on perceived quality and expectancy disconfirmation, it was discovered that respondents’ expectations were disconfirmed due to the performance failure of their specific appliances. The performance failure was perceived in three distinct ways: functional performance failure, symbolic performance failure, and the combined functional and symbolic performance failure, rather than the usual, formal functional performance failure only. Very to extreme dissatisfaction were experienced and the product failure was appraised as stressful, leading to respondents feeling very to extremely stressed. The female respondents attributed blame for the poor performance of their major household appliance more to external sources like retailers/manufacturers than they internalised blame to themselves, the appliance or other people. They also believed that the party they held responsible for the poor performance could have prevented the problem. Due to the performance failure of their specific appliances, the respondents experienced various emotional responses (e.g. anger, shame, guilt, surprise, sadness and frustration) and of varying intensities. Significantly, more respondents felt very to extremely angry, sad, surprised or frustrated. Respondents did not experience high levels of shame and guilt. These emotions necessitated some coping strategies in the form of complaint actions. Respondents who felt very to extremely angry took formal complaint action (i.e. contacted the retailer to obtain redress). Respondents who experienced frustration significantly engaged more in problem-focused coping. Predominantly, female respondents engaged in problem-focused coping strategies that were confrontational and were aimed at external sources like retailers/manufacturers. Blame for the performance failure of appliances was directed more to retailers/manufacturers than to any other party like the self, other people or the appliance. Hence, a significant difference existed between the various coping strategies and attributing blame to the retailer/manufacturer, where respondents engaged more in problem-focused coping, than in any other coping strategies like emotion-focused or avoidance coping.

These findings have both salient and practical implications especially in Botswana contenxt, which were pointed out to the retailers/manufacturers, educators, consumer protection organisations, policy makers and consumer scientists, to help consumers to function well in the marketplace.

© 2010, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Isaac, B 2010, An investigation of the interplay of consumers’ appraisals, emotions and complaint behaviour concerning dissatisfactory major household appliances in Botswana, MSc dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-11022010-155406/ >


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