The Role of Cognition and Affect in the Formation of Customer Satisfaction: a Dynamic Perspective

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Christian Homburg, Nicole Koschate, & Wayne D. Hoyer

The Role of Cognition and Affect in the Formation of Customer Satisfaction: A Dynamic Perspective Despite the strong recognition that customer satisfaction should be viewed from a dynamic perspective, little is known about how the satisfaction judgment develops over time. Therefore, this study provides a dynamic analysis of the simultaneous influence of cognition and affect in the satisfaction formation process. The results of an experimental study based on a real consumption experience indicate that the impact of cognition on the satisfaction evaluation increases and the influence of affect decreases over time. Moreover, these effects are attenuated with inconsistent performance experiences. Finally, the study shows that the variance in customer satisfaction jointly explained by cognition and affect increases as experience accumulates. he topic of customer satisfaction/dissatisfaction has been of great interest to marketing and consumer researchers for many years. This interest is driven in part by the notion that customer satisfaction can have longterm benefits, including customer loyalty and increased profitability (e.g., Anderson, Fornell, and Lehmann 1994; Anderson, Fornell, and Rust 1997; Anderson and Sullivan 1993; Bearden and Teel 1983; Bolton and Drew 1991; Fornell 1992; LaBarbera and Mazursky 1983; Oliver 1980; Oliver and Swan 1989a, b; Rust, Moorman, and Dickson 2002; Rust and Zahorik 1993). Against this background, it is important to understand the mechanism that leads to customer satisfaction from both an academic and an applied perspective. Previous research has recognized that both cognition and affect significantly predict satisfaction judgments. Cognition has been studied mainly in terms of the disconfirmation paradigm, which predicts satisfaction to be a function of a comparison between expectations and performance (e.g., Bearden and Teel 1983; LaBarbera and Mazursky 1983; Oliver 1980; Oliver and DeSarbo 1988). Other studies have recognized that the affect experienced during the acquisition and consumption of the product or service (e.g., joy, happiness, disgust) can also have a significant influence on satisfaction judgments (e.g., Mano and Oliver 1993; Westbrook 1987; Westbrook and Oliver 1991). Oliver


Christian Homburg is Professor of Business Administration and Marketing and Chairman of the Department of Marketing (e-mail:, and Nicole Koschate is Assistant Professor of Marketing (e-mail:, University of Mannheim, Germany. Wayne D. Hoyer is James L. Bayless/William S. Farish Fund Chair for Free Enterprise and Chairman of the Department of Marketing, McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin (e-mail: The authors thank the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, for financial support.

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(1997, p. 319) states that affect “coexists alongside various cognitive judgments in producing satisfaction” and that it is central to understanding customers’ consumption experiences. In addition, a key conclusion of Szymanski and Henard’s (2001) meta-analysis is that disconfirmation and, to a lesser extent, affect are strongly related to satisfaction. However, only a few studies have investigated cognitive and affective antecedents of customer satisfaction simultaneously. For example, in studying affects that are provoked by service failures, Smith and Bolton (2002) find that feelings predict satisfaction levels, after accounting for cognitive factors. Kempf’s (1999) study finds that feelings (e.g., arousal, pleasure) are particularly important antecedents of product evaluations of hedonic products, whereas brand cognitions are not. The opposite is true for functional products. Oliver (1993) examines the role...
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