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Categorization by Groups

  • Hamilton, R.W.
  • Puntoni, S.
  • Tavassoli, N.T.
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    Categorization is a core psychological process central to consumer and managerial decision-making. While a substantial amount of research has been conducted to examine individual categorization behaviors, relatively little is known about the group categorization process. In two experiments, we demonstrate that group categorization differs systematically from that of individuals: groups created a larger number of categories with fewer items in each category. This effect is mediated by groups’ larger knowledge base and moderated by groups’ ease in achieving consensus. While neither broader nor narrower categories are normatively superior, more integration or distinction among concepts may be desirable for a given objective. Thus, it is important for those relying on the outputs of categorization tasks, such as web site designers, store managers, product development teams, and product marketing managers, to understand and consider the systematic differences between group and individual categorization.

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    Paper provided by Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam in its series ERIM Report Series Research in Management with number ERS-2006-044-MKT.

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    Date of creation: 22 Aug 2006
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ems:eureri:7900
    Contact details of provider: Postal: RSM Erasmus University & Erasmus School of Economics, PoBox 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam
    Phone: 31-10-408 1182
    Fax: 31-10-408 9020
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    1. Moreau, C Page & Markman, Arthur B & Lehmann, Donald R, 2001. " "What Is It?" Categorization Flexibility and Consumers' Responses to Really New Products," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(4), pages 489-98, March.
    2. Cowley, Elizabeth & Mitchell, Andrew A, 2003. " The Moderating Effect of Product Knowledge on the Learning and Organization of Product Information," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(3), pages 443-54, December.
    3. Peracchio, Laura A & Tybout, Alice M, 1996. " The Moderating Role of Prior Knowledge in Schema-Based Product Evaluation," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(3), pages 177-92, December.
    4. Sujan, Mita, 1985. " Consumer Knowledge: Effects on Evaluation Strategies Mediating Consumer Judgments," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(1), pages 31-46, June.
    5. Ratneshwar, S & Pechmann, Cornelia & Shocker, Allan D, 1996. " Goal-Derived Categories and the Antecedents of Across-Category Consideration," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(3), pages 240-50, December.
    6. Meyers-Levy, Joan & Tybout, Alice M, 1989. " Schema Congruity as a Basis for Product Evaluation," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 39-54, June.
    7. Cohen, Joel B & Basu, Kunal, 1987. " Alternative Models of Categorization: Toward a Contingent Processing Framework," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(4), pages 455-72, March.
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