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Type: Thesis
Title: Engagement with Novel Products
Author: Ayi Wong, Diana
Issue Date: 2019
School/Discipline: Business School
Abstract: Organisations are increasingly under pressure to launch novel products and get customers to adopt them in order to remain relevant in competitive markets. Despite prolific research into the motivations and processes for products, and despite recognition that individuals have an innate pre-disposition to try or buy new products, firms still experience high failure rates when launching novel products. Hence, to better understand the process of product adoption and improve adoption success, this thesis introduces the concept of actor (customer) engagement to the literature on novel foods. While scholars have investigated customer engagement with brands and within online communities, little is known about engagement with novel products. This research comprises three papers that investigate the engagement with novel products. The first paper proposes a conceptual framework to understand the process by which actor engagement with novel products occur. This framework explains how actor engagement is facilitated through vicarious learning that occurs in a non-physical interaction, which is engendered through actor-to-actor interactions. Further, it explains the role of legitimacy in both building and embedding engagement with novel products. This conceptual paper not only introduces the lens of actor engagement to help organisations successfully launch the product into competitive markets, it also extends knowledge on actor engagement. Building on the conceptual paper, the second paper empirically tests the role of customer engagement for novel food adoption. The research uses the context of novel food as it provides an example of novel products that have the tendency to fail in the market due to consumer resistance. Specifically, this research investigates the mediating effect of the engagement dimensions, including emotional, cognitive, behavioural and social facets, on the relationship between product adoption barriers (subjective knowledge and perceived risk) and the intention to try and buy. The findings reveal that engagement plays an important mediating role. Specifically, while cognitive engagement is not critical for food adoption, emotional engagement and social engagement facilitate novel food adoption. This study contributes to both food and marketing literatures by introducing customer engagement as an important construct to the context of novel food adoption. Finally, the third paper empirically examines the role of legitimacy as a perception for engagement with a novel product. Specifically, it investigates the mediating effect of different dimensions of legitimacy (instrumental, moral and relational) between the relationship of subjective knowledge and customer engagement in the context of novel food. Instrumental legitimacy relates to the judgement of whether the novel product achieves practical outcomes. Moral legitimacy reflects moral and ethical values (Scott, 1995) and relational legitimacy represents the degree by which the value proposition of the novel product affirms social identities and reinforces the sense of self-worth within a group (Tost, 2011). This research examines two kinds of legitimacy judgments: propriety and validity legitimacy. The propriety judgment reflects an individual’s belief of whether the value proposition is legitimate or illegitimate for the specific content. The validity judgment, on the other hand, captures the individual’s judgement of the collective evaluation of the value proposition, and thus of other relevant actors (Bitektine and Haack, 2015).While the propriety legitimacy emerges as an important mediator, the validity legitimacy did not show to be critical except for the instrumental legitimacy on the relationship between subjective knowledge and cognitive engagement. This paper contributes to the marketing literature by introducing legitimacy as an explanatory factor that drives engagement when consumers have low or high subjective knowledge. In summary, this research offers unique and meaningful theoretical and practical implications to facilitate the adoption of novel products through engagement. Organisations that are seeking to launch new products into the market can benefit from this research by facilitating different engagement facets and focusing on legitimacy to engage consumers to the novel product.
Advisor: Plewa, Carolin
Conduit, Jodie
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, Business School, 2019
Keywords: Engagemenet
novel products
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