Donald Lehmann

Reactions to Recommendations: When Unsolicited Advice Yields Contrary Responses

Coauthor(s): Gavan Fitzsimons.

Recommendations often play a positive role in the decision process by reducing the difficulty associated with choosing between options. However, in certain circumstances recommendations play a less positive and more undesirable role from the perspectives of both the recommending agent or agency and the person receiving the recommendation. Across a series of four studies, we explore consumer response when recommendations by experts and intelligent agents contradict the consumer's initial impressions of choice options. We find that unsolicited advice that contradicts initial impressions leads to the activation of a reactant state on the part of the decision maker. This reactance, in turn, leads to a behavioral backlash that results not only in consumers ignoring the agents' recommendations but in intentionally contradicting them.

Source: Marketing Science
Exact Citation:
Fitzsimons, Gavan, and Donald Lehmann. "Reactions to Recommendations: When Unsolicited Advice Yields Contrary Responses." Marketing Science 23, no. 1 (Winter 2004): 82-94.
Volume: 23
Number: 1
Pages: 82-94
Date: Winter 2004