Managerial Empathy Facilitates Egocentric Predictions of Consumer Preferences

Item Type Journal paper

Common wisdom suggests that managerial empathy (i.e., the mental process of taking a consumer perspective) helps executives separate their personal consumption preferences from those of consumers, thereby preventing egocentric preference predictions. The results of the present investigation, however, show exactly the opposite. First, the authors find that managerial empathy ironically accelerates self-reference in predictions of consumer preferences. Second, managers' self-referential tendencies increase with empathy because taking a consumer perspective activates managers' private consumer identity and, thus, their personal consumption preferences. Third, empathic managers' self-referential preference predictions make them less likely to use market research results. Fourth, the findings imply that when explicitly instructed to do so, managers are capable of suppressing their private consumer identity in the process of perspective taking, which helps them reduce self-referential preference predictions. To support their conclusions, the authors present four empirical studies with 480 experienced marketing managers and show that incautiously taking the perspective of consumers causes self-referential decisions in four contexts: product development, communication management, pricing, and celebrity endorsement

Authors Hattula, Johannes; Herzog, Walter; Dahl, Darren W. & Reinecke, Sven
Journal or Publication Title Journal of Marketing Research
Language English
Subjects business studies
HSG Classification contribution to scientific community
Refereed Yes
Date 1 April 2015
Publisher American Marketing Association
Place of Publication Chicago, Ill.
Volume 52
Number 2
Page Range 235-252
Number of Pages 18
ISSN 0022-2437
ISSN-Digital 1547-7193
Publisher DOI 10.1509/jmr.13.0296
Depositing User Carmen Maier
Date Deposited 26 Sep 2015 11:25
Last Modified 23 Aug 2016 11:22


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Hattula, Johannes; Herzog, Walter; Dahl, Darren W. & Reinecke, Sven (2015) Managerial Empathy Facilitates Egocentric Predictions of Consumer Preferences. Journal of Marketing Research, 52 (2). 235-252. ISSN 0022-2437

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