Cognitive dissonance: a review of causes and marketing implications

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Purpose - The aim of this study was to review the literature in the field of Cognitive Dissonance in the marketing context. This study explored how marketers used the theory of Cognitive Dissonance to explain the consumer behavior. The study tried to identify the underlying factors, which led to Cognitive Dissonance. The study also tried to understand how Cognitive Dissonance impacted individuals and businesses and what measures marketers adopted to reduce Cognitive Dissonance. Design/ Methodology - The study carried out a thorough review of factors which the researchers in past studied to measure Cognitive Dissonance and its effects on individuals and organizations in the marketing context. The literature reviewed during research has been categorized in four different sections – causes of Cognitive Dissonance, effects of Cognitive Dissonance, measures to reduce the Cognitive Dissonance and scale development efforts by researchers. Findings - The study found that there had been enough research done in past exploring about individual and socio-environmental factors leading to Cognitive Dissonance, however, limited studies were found which studied the organizational factors leading to Cognitive Dissonance. The past studies indicated substantial losses to organizations due to negative effects of Cognitive Dissonance in terms of loss of loyal consumers, negative word of mouth, and loss of trust and subsequent erosion of the brand. Limitations- This study tried to focus on the past research in the marketing context, hence other aspects of management and psychology may have been not addressed. The categorization of the past studies done clearly brings out the areas which remains under explored and gives way for future research in the organizational contexts as well as industrial purchases. Organizational Culture and its effect on Cognitive Dissonance among its consumers may also be studied for the benefit of marketers.

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