The Causes and Effects of Consumer Competence Perceptions
MetadataShow full item record
Consumers are constantly making consumption decisions and engaging in marketplace activities that require some level of competence. In other words, consumers possess and require some knowledge, skills, and abilities to engage in the marketplace and obtain what they want. But what causes consumers to infer they are or are not competent? And, what are the consequences of these competence inferences on consumer behaviour? This dissertation examines the role consumption plays in consumers’ inferences of their own competence to enhance our understanding of these issues. By integrating the literature on competence and attributions of blame, this dissertation develops a theory for when and how consumption influences self-perceptions of competence and how these self-perceptions of competence impact future consumer behaviours. Evidence from five studies suggests that consumers infer their own competence from their consumption outcomes, despite who is actually responsible for causing these outcomes. This means consumers potentially see themselves as incompetent for negative outcomes that are entirely firm-caused. This dissertation argues that people infer their own competence from firm-caused outcomes because they conflate their decisions made prior to an outcome with the cause of that outcome. This dissertation also examines how these variations in self-perceptions of competence can influence future consumer behaviours.