Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Marketing (Business Administration)

Document Type



This dissertation proposes to examine regret arising from action versus inaction in consumer decision-making contexts. Although there has been extensive research in the area of regret, no extant literature in marketing has been found that has investigated the nature of regret arising from inaction, specifically in stockout conditions. The first study defines the concept of decisional action and inaction as the key sources of the regret emotion. Specifically, regret arising from inaction (and action) is investigated under sub-optimal and optimal conditions. Subsequently, circumstances are identified when inaction-driven levels of regret are likely to be higher than levels of action-driven regret and vice versa. It is posited that greater regret from action (than inaction) is likely to be experienced when there is a confirmation of the sub-optimal condition. Whereas, greater regret from inaction (than action) is likely to be experienced when there is a positive disconfirmation of sub-optimal condition. In the optimal conditions, greater regret is likely to be experienced from inaction when there is a confirmation of prior information. While negative disconfirmation of optimal conditions will probably lead to greater regret from action, and positive disconfirmation is likely to lead to greater regret from inaction. The intensity of regret due to inaction (versus action) is therefore proposed to be a function of the nature of confirmation/disconfirmation of prior information. The second study proposes that regret experienced due to action versus inaction is function of the type of decision, the perceived expertise of the source of information, and responsibility attributed for the decision. The subsequent behavioral intentions of switching and complaining are also examined. It is posited that when the responsibility for the decision is based on one's own volition and a negative outcome ensues, one is likely to experience regret regardless of the perceived expertise of the source of information. However, when the decision is made based on the recommendation of the salesperson the differential in regret experienced is likely to be a function of the perceived expertise of the source of information and type of decision. Furthermore, contrary to findings from previous research on regret, it is hypothesized that regret has an effect on complaint intention.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Abhijit Biswas



Included in

Marketing Commons