Die Beurteilung von Energieinformationen durch Konsumenten: Kontexteffekte und ihre Moderatoren
- Consumers’ Evaluation of Energy Information: Context Effects and Their Moderators
Reiss, Juliet; Steffenhagen, Hartwig (Thesis advisor); Siems, Florian Ulrich (Thesis advisor)
Dissertation / PhD Thesis
Dissertation, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, 2017
Aiming at a reduction of private consumers energy usage, government policy guidelines require energy providers to improve the quality and frequency of the information that householder customers receive about their energy usage (so called feedback). Worldwide considerable investment flows into providing such information. However, practical experiences and empirical research results indicate that the simple formula “more feedback = less consumption” does not necessarily hold. One reason for this could be related to the way in which consumers process this kind of information. So far, only little is known about how consumers perceive and judge energy feedback, how this may be influenced by the way in which the information is presented (the so called context), and what role individual personality characteristics may have in this potential causal relationship. Answering the core questions of how the information context influences judgments of energy quantities and to what extent the effect of the information’s context depends on consumers’ personality traits, could contribute significantly to the future design of effective information measures. To address the outlined questions the thesis builds upon insight gained from Marketing Research as well as Judgment and Decision Making Research (so called Behavioral Economics). Three largely controlled, completely randomized online-experiments investigate context effects on the judgment of energy quantities, by systematically varying the way in which the information is framed without changing its content. Several context factors are analysed: (1) the relative size of the energy quantity (reference point effect), (2) the positive framing of the energy quantity, e.g. as the amount of energy saved, as opposed to the negative framing of the energy quantity, e.g. as wastage, (attribute framing and goal framing effect), and (3) the measurement unit of the energy quantity (unit effect). All experiments examine to what extent these context effects depend on certain personality traits. Since the inclusion of personality traits in rigorous empirical hypotheses tests requires a valid and reliable measurement of such variables, a large part of this work is dedicated to conceptualizing and operationalizing the theoretically relevant traits. Here–next to standard methods such as Factor Analyses or Structural Equation Modelling–Item Response Modelling is applied. This method is not very prominent in Marketing, although it allows the usage of in this case often-available categorical or even dichotomous response data. An easy accessible, with open source software (R) realizable proposal of how to operationalize reflective constructs with Item Response Modelling is a further methodical contribution of this thesis that is supposed to stimulate the broader dissemination of Item Response Modelling in Marketing.