Real-World Education for Modern Marketers

Join Over 600,000 Marketing Professionals

Start here!
N E X T
Text:  A A

Do Consumers Care More About Businesses' Competence or Morality?

by   |    |  955 views

Consumers generally value competence more than morality when choosing among service providers, but that effect is weakened if the less-competent provider is seen as an underdog, according to recent research published in the AMA's Journal of Marketing.

The report was based on research conducted by Amna Kirmani, Rebecca Hamilton, Debora Thompson, and Shannon Lantzy of Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business and the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business. The researchers conducted five studies to compare the impact of competence, morality, and warmth on consumers' choices.

The first study analyzed Yelp.com reviews of businesses to see how different attributes correlate to positive evaluations.

Some 88% of the positive online reviews examined mentioned competency attributes (reliable, knowledgeable, etc.).

In contrast, only 56% of the positive online reviews mentioned warmth attributes (friendly, etc.), and just 18% mentioned morality attributes (honest, trustworthy, etc.).


In a separate study, the researchers asked 382 participants to choose between a highly competent but morally deficient personal trainer and a highly moral but less competent personal trainer.

Most participants said they would choose the more competent but less moral trainer over the less competent but more moral one.

When the researchers added information that framed the less competent trainer as an underdog (that he had come from a disadvantaged background and was successful because of passion/hard work), the proportion of study participants who chose him jumped.

However, when the more competent trainer was framed as an underdog, there was no increase in the percentage of study participants who chose him.

About the research: The report was based on research conducted by Amna Kirmani, Rebecca Hamilton, Debora Thompson, and Shannon Lantzy of Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business and the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business. The researchers conducted five studies to compare the impact of competence, morality, and warmth on consumers' choices.


Join over 600,000 marketing professionals, and gain access to thousands of marketing resources! Don't worry ... it's FREE!

WANT TO READ MORE?
SIGN UP TODAY ...
IT'S FREE!

We will never sell or rent your email address to anyone. We value your privacy. (We hate spam as much as you do.) See our privacy policy.

Sign in with one of your preferred accounts below:

Loading...

Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Content, a marketing agency specializing in content creation for brands and businesses. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

Rate this  

Overall rating

  • Not rated yet.

Add a Comment

MarketingProfs uses single
sign-on with Facebook, Twitter, Google and others to make subscribing and signing in easier for you. That's it, and nothing more! Rest assured that MarketingProfs: Your data is secure with MarketingProfs SocialSafe!