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Expectation Disconfirmation Theory

Describe about the Consumer Behavior for Disconfirmation of Expectations.

Oliver conceptualized the theory of disconfirmation of expectations in 1980. The background of the study was made on the experience of satisfaction where the standard measure of study has been that satisfaction engages relationship of previous expectations with the pragmatic performance (Wang & Fu, 2013). This theory states that a consumer’s total satisfaction results from an evaluation of the expectation with the performance outcome. Thus, the two important variables of this theory are expectation and the performance outcome which persuades the verdict of the satisfaction measure. The satisfaction level of consumers is taken in as one of the major factors to foresee the purchase propensity of customer. Expectation disconfirmation theory can assist a firm in increasing satisfaction through increased apparent performance of product or the decrease in expectation.

First Expectation Disconfirmation Theory

Fig.1: First Expectation Disconfirmation Theory

Expectations can be defined as the anticipations of consumers about the products and services performance. The EDT model has the capability of defining multiple manners of the consumers in the process of purchase. New customers who do not have any first-hand experience about the quality of products and performance rely on the feedbacks they obtain from the mass media and other customers.

Perceived performance analyzes the experience of consumers after using certain products or services that can be superior or inferior to the expectation of the consumers. Consumers who have the relevant experience along with the ones, who do not, will purchase and experience a product for a certain period of time to recognize the definite quality of the services or products presented by the business (Selnes, 2013).

Disconfirmation can be positive disconfirmation, negative disconfirmation and simple disconfirmation. Positive disconfirmation occurs when a perceived performance of a particular product or service exceeds the satisfaction level of consumers whereas when it does not match the expectation it leads to customer’s dissatisfaction. Lastly, when there is no difference between expectation of consumers and the real performance of a particular product or service, simple confirmation takes place.

Three attributes of the consumer who is looking to purchase a running shoe are comfort, durability and style.

Comfort: A comfortable running shoe is not always easy to find, but the demand for it has gone up over the years. Running shoes which are traditional in nature offers extra cushioning where landing can produce a force of 1.5 to 3 times the body weight. Running shoes needs to present easy flexing at the ball of the foot with sufficient stability.

Three determinants of consumer of running shoes

Certain things that consumers will take into consideration about comfortability:

-Intended Use: An important factor is in which surface the consumer of the running shoe would make his regular run, a forest trail or a purpose-built track. Each and every surface calls for a different kind of running shoes.

-Length of the Shoe: The consumer needs to keep an open mind on the size of the shoe and one thing which he should remember is that his foot needs more space while running. It so happens that the further one runs the foot will develop naturally. A little bit of extra room is advisable.

-Width of the Shoe: Width of the shoe is equally important as the length of the same. A perfect proportion of human body is difficult to find where one can often have narrower or wider feet than normal.

-Weight: It takes into account two things;

The weight of the runner- If the consumer is a big built person then he probably requires a shoe that has a lot of support

The weight of the shoe: A lighter shoe is again a suggestion as generally the consumer will be wearing it for many kilometers.

Durability: Durable soles are a necessary factor to look for in running shoes. A good quality and durable sole will help the runner use that particular running shoe for at least 300 to 500 miles before they start changing their performance. However, a slightly heavier runner will notice the changes sooner. The shoes which are lighter in nature are often less durable than their heavier equivalent. Moreover the running shoes should only be used for running and not for any other purpose.

Style: One should always look good while running and the first that people notices in anyone is the shoe he wears. There are a lot of running shoe brands in the market ranging from Nike to Adidas. It is more like what suits the consumers and what soothes his eye in the name of the fashion and style. Design of a running shoe matters in bringing in the equation of comfort for the consumer.

Different consumers would weigh differently for the three attributes mentioned above. Consumer’s perception of that particular product and his main purpose or idea behind using such a product determines the weighted of the attributes related to the product. This particular consumer is serious about his running shoes which he feels would play a big part in making him run for longer hours to keep him fit and on track for a healthy body.

Determining the consumer’s importance weights for each attribute

For him, Comfort will be equal to 55% as if he is not comfortable with his running shoes he might not feel motivated to continue with his running on a regular basis. He always has the option of changing it or replacing it with a new pair but then running shoes of good quality are costly. Comfortability with his running shoes will keep his feet intact and in shape without causing any damage. Moreover, running shoes are generally made to provide maximum shock assimilation which may help preventing tendinitis, heel pain and stress fractures.

The consumer has opt for a weighted of 35% on the durability factor. As stated earlier these shoes come at a costly price and no consumer would want to change it after a few span months. Durability is a factor that is directly associated with this products. The first question that generally a consumer would ask to a retailer about a shoe is that whether a particular shoe is durable or not. Worn out shoes are never good to easy and they would not serve any purpose of the runner.

He was not to keen on the style factor, but agreed to give it a 10% weight. For him style does not play a part as important as the other two determinants. Serving the purpose is more important factor for him than the product being classy and stylish.

On asking the consumer about what his prior expectations have been regarding the purchase of a Nike running shoe, the consumer agreed to the fact that he had certain prior conceptions and expectations about the brand.

Comfort is a factor that the consumer has expected the brand to offer through its shoes like Nike Zoom Structure and Nike LunarGlide which has a soft cushioning with a good stability factor along with its elegant looks. Going by the product review, the consumer expected the brand to play good, thus giving it a high rate of 6.

Price is a factor, but not more than its durability which needs to be considered. Branded products always come with a tag of durability, to have a good and loyal customer base. Longevity of a product determines the customer base of that organization. A certain slip in quality can be devastating for a brand. The consumer uses other normal Nike shoes and he has been quite happy with the use of those shoes. He believes in the brand and in its durability factor. The consumer from his prior experience has given 5 out of 7 to the brand.

On a scale of 1 to 7, consumer’s expectation on how the brand would perform on each attributes

Nike is a brand that is famous for comfort and style. As style is the last thing that the consumer would focus on while buying a running shoe he only provided 2 out of 7 on that factor. Style is required for those who are style conscious but this man does not seem to be one.

The consumer is satisfied with the way the shoe is performing for him. He states that the comfort factor has been at the highest level. He bought the Nike LunarGlide and states its cushioning part is well placed to stop any kind of injury to the feet if the feet does not land properly at times. His feet do not feel any kind of stress even after running for a longer period of time. He says his prior expectation has matched with the performance outcome of the shoe. He rates it 6 out of 7.

On the durability front too the consumer is quite satisfied. It has hold up well on a few occasions when the consumer decided to try it out on trekking. A few torn out here and there but he is ready to give it a 4.

Style never mattered for him, but few people have been quite impressive with look of the LunarGlide shoe. He likes the style now more than he thought of before buying it. He gave it a 2 before buying it, after hearing people’s views and opinions about the style factor he was ready to increase it by one and give it a 3.

Comfort; Perceived = 6, Expected = 6

S= .55(6-6) = 0; as it is 0, it signifies that the customer was satisfied with the comfort factor

Durability; Perceived = 4, Expected = 5

S= .35(4-5) = (.35) which is below 0 signifying that the consumer was not overly satisfied with the durability factor.

Style; Perceived = 3, Expected = 2

S= .10 (3-2) = .10 which is more than 0 signifying that he was impressed with its style factor.

Sum of all Perceptions: (Comfort+ Durability+ Style) = (6+4+3) = 13

Sum of all expectations: (Comfort+ Durability+ Style) = (6+5+2) = 13

Here, overall, it can be seen that the sum of all perceptions minus expectations is (13-13) 0 which indicate that the consumer is absolutely satisfied with the product. It can thus be stated the consumer was satisfied with the purchase of that particular brand and it is serving the purpose for which it was bought by the consumer.


Selnes, F. (2013). An examination of the effect of product performance on brand reputation, satisfaction and loyalty. Journal of Product & Brand Management.

Wang, S. Y., & Fu, T. W. (2013, May). Exploring the Effective of Unexpectedness: An Extension of Expectation-Disconfirmation Theory. In 2013 Fifth International Conference on Service Science and Innovation.

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