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Sequential Choice in Group Settings: Taking the Road Less Traveled and Less Enjoyed

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  • Ariely, Dan
  • Levav, Jonathan
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    Abstract

    Many individual decisions take place in a group context wherein group members voice their choices sequentially. In this article we examine the impact of this dynamic decision process on individuals' choices and satisfaction with their outcomes. We propose that choices reflect a balancing of two classes of goals: goals that are strictly individual and goals that are triggered by the existence of the group. The latter sometimes results in choices that undermine personal satisfaction and increase regret. We find support for goal balancing in three studies in which we tracked consumers' orders of dishes and drinks. In the Lunch study we found that real groups (tables) choose more varied dishes than would be expected by random sampling of the population of all individual choices across all tables. The Beer study demonstrates that this group-level variety seeking is attributable to the interaction implicit or explicit among group members, and can be dissipated when the group is forced to "disband" and its members make strictly individual choices. Finally, the Wine study demonstrated that individual choices in a group context are also aimed at satisfying goals of information gathering and self-presentation in the form of uniqueness. Copyright 2000 by the University of Chicago.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Consumer Research.

    Volume (Year): 27 (2000)
    Issue (Month): 3 (December)
    Pages: 279-90

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    Handle: RePEc:ucp:jconrs:v:27:y:2000:i:3:p:279-90

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    Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JCR/

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    Cited by:
    1. Gilbert, Daniel T. & Gill, Michael J. & Wilson, Timothy D., 2002. "The Future Is Now: Temporal Correction in Affective Forecasting," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 430-444, May.
    2. Ellison, Brenna & Lusk, Jayson, 2013. "“I’ll Have What He’s Having”: Group Ordering Behavior in Food Choice Decisions," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150266, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    3. Liu, Peggy J. & Campbell, Troy H. & Fitzsimons, Gavan J. & Fitzsimons, Gráinne M., 2013. "Matching choices to avoid offending stigmatized group members," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 122(2), pages 291-304.
    4. Büchel, Berno & Hellmann, Tim & Klößner, Stefan, 2013. "Opinion Dynamics and Wisdom under Conformity," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79770, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    5. Lee, Julie Anne & Kacen, Jacqueline J., 2008. "Cultural influences on consumer satisfaction with impulse and planned purchase decisions," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 265-272, March.
    6. Pescher, Christian & Spann, Martin, 2014. "Relevance of actors in bridging positions for product-related information diffusion," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 67(8), pages 1630-1637.
    7. Payne, Collin R. & Niculescu, Mihai, 2012. "Social Meaning in Supermarkets as a Direct Route to Improve Parents’ Fruit and Vegetable Purchases," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 41(1), April.
    8. Shukla, Paurav, 2011. "Impact of interpersonal influences, brand origin and brand image on luxury purchase intentions: Measuring interfunctional interactions and a cross-national comparison," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 242-252, April.
    9. Song Yoon & Kwanho Suk & Seon Lee & Eun Park, 2011. "To seek variety or uniformity: The role of culture in consumers’ choice in a group setting," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 49-64, March.
    10. Sasaki, Takao & Becker, D. Vaughn & Janssen, Marco A. & Neel, Rebecca, 2011. "Does greater product information actually inform consumer decisions? The relationship between product information quantity and diversity of consumer decisions," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 391-398, June.
    11. Berno Buechel & Tim Hellmann & Stefan Kloessner, 2012. "Opinion Dynamics under Conformity," Working Papers 469, Bielefeld University, Center for Mathematical Economics.
    12. Carlson, Kurt A. & Tanner, Robin J. & Meloy, Margaret G. & Russo, J. Edward, 2014. "Catching nonconscious goals in the act of decision making," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 123(1), pages 65-76.
    13. Wu, Pei-Hsun & Kao, Danny Tengti, 2011. "Goal orientation and variety seeking behavior: The role of decision task," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 65-72, February.
    14. Sharma, Piyush & Sivakumaran, Bharadhwaj & Marshall, Roger, 2010. "Impulse buying and variety seeking: A trait-correlates perspective," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 276-283, March.
    15. McGinnis, Lee Phillip & Gentry, James W., 2009. "Underdog consumption: An exploration into meanings and motives," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 191-199, February.
    16. Harper Roehm & Michelle Roehm, 2004. "Variety-Seeking and Time of Day: Why Leader Brands Hope Young Adults Shop in the Afternoon, but Follower Brands Hope for Morning," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 213-221, December.
    17. Stijn Osselaer & Suresh Ramanathan & Margaret Campbell & Joel Cohen & Jeannette Dale & Paul Herr & Chris Janiszewski & Arie Kruglanski & Angela Lee & Stephen Read & J. Russo & Nader Tavassoli, 2005. "Choice Based on Goals," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 335-346, December.
    18. Valeria Faralla & Alessandro Innocenti & Eva Venturini, 2013. "Risk Taking and Social Exposure," Labsi Experimental Economics Laboratory University of Siena 046, University of Siena.
    19. Fifić, Mario & Gigerenzer, Gerd, 2014. "Are two interviewers better than one?," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 67(8), pages 1771-1779.
    20. Egebark, Johan & Ekström, Mathias, 2011. "Like What You Like or Like What Others Like? Conformity and Peer Effects on Facebook," Working Paper Series 886, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.

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