Emotional attachment to products

PhD Defense

5 January 2017 17:45

(updated: 5 January 2017 17:57)

Emotional attachment to products

On January 19 2017 Natalie Truong will hold a trial lecture on a prescribed topic and defend her thesis for the PhD degree at NHH.

Prescribed topic for the trial lecture:

Antecedents and consequences of emotional attachment and relationship norms in marketing

Natalie Truong defends her thesis January 19 at NHH.
Natalie Truong defends her thesis January 19 at NHH.

Trial lecture:

10:15 in Jebsen Centre, NHH

Title of the thesis:

"When my relationship partner fails me...". The role of consumer-product relationship in responses to functional failures

This research examines consumers' responses to a functional failure with an ambiguous cause. Empirical evidence shows that following a functional failure which involves a product service bundle (PSB), the consumer's relationship with the product component tends to bias evaluations of the two PSB components.

While evaluations of the product and service component are both adversely affected by the functional failure, the consumer-product relationship determines which component was more negatively affected by the event.

The present research decomposes relationship into two related but independent facets, one of which is the affective component of relationship, namely emotional attachment, and another that is the cognitive element, which is relationship norms.

Truong shows that a high level of emotional attachment to the product component (versus service component) in fact leads to higher degree of 'decay' in product evaluations (versus service evaluations) following a functional failure. Moreover, the higher the emotional attachment to the product component, the more negative the responses towards the product component were.

The thesis examines three types of relationships with ensuing norms, including exchange, certain communal, and uncertain communal relationship. Truong finds that among the three relationship types, regarding the product component as a partner in an uncertain communal relationship (e.g. a friendship) leads the consumer to reduce their evaluations of the product the most. She further shows that the emotion of disappointment causes people with high product attachment to evaluate it worse. Study 1 and 2 examine the role of emotional attachment, an affective facet of relationship in responses to product failure. Study 3 investigates the role of relationship norms, the cognitive component, and consumers' downstream behaviors including coping.


12:15 in Jebsen Centre, NHH

Members of the evaluation committee:

Professor Herbjørn Nysveen, Department of Strategy and Management, NHH
Professor Tiffany B. White, University of Illinois
Professor Torvald Øgaard, Universitetet i Stavanger


Professor Sigurd Troye, Department of Strategy and Management, NHH

The trial lecture and thesis defence will be open to the public. Copies of the thesis will be available from presse@nhh.no.

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