Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Past research in the consumer satisfaction/dissatisfaction (CS/D) area focussed mainly on goods and services, ignoring the distribution system of products. This omission provides an incomplete understanding of the reality facing consumers since the consumption of goods and services is a process which comprises the evaluation not only of the products consumed but also of the different enterprises producing, distributing and servicing these products. This study focusses on this previously unexplored area of CS/D with the objective of filling some of the theoretical gaps and providing a guide to managerial and public policy action. After reviewing past CS/D studies, a process model based on the Expectancy Disconfirmation paradigm is developed. Using a survey methodology and the analytical techniques of Multiple Regression and Analysis of Covariance, this study then empirically tests part of this model by investigating consumer satisfaction/dissatisfaction with the distribution system for new automobiles in one province of Canada.;The results support the Expectancy Disconfirmation theory of CS/D. At each stage of the buying process, satisfaction is a direct function of both the level of expectations held by the consumer prior to engaging in the particular stage and the extent to which those expectations are positively or negatively disconfirmed. The results also provide evidence of the existence of consumer tolerance regions at least with respect to negative disconfirmation. Expectations are positively related to disconfirmation levels, a finding which can be explained by the fact that consumers evaluated a service rather than a product. Finally, overall satisfaction with the distribution system is a function of search, servicing and product performance satisfaction.;The implications of this study are that automobile dealers should focus on improving buyers' expectations, providing superior after-sales service, maintaining well trained salespeople, rectifying service lapses and providing feedback to manufacturers. Public policymakers can help consumers by developing educational programs aimed at developing consumer skills and knowledge of what dealers can and should provide them.



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