A Phenomenological Look to the Meaning of the Lived Experience of Confusion in Product Selection

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Business Management, Qazvin Branch, Islamic Azad University, Qazvin, Iran

2 Associate Prof., Department of Business Management, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

3 Associate Prof., Department of Business Management, Information Science and Knowledge Studies, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran


The main goals of the research include achieving a deeper understanding of the consumers’ confusion experience as perceived by them while purchasing, presenting, sorting and classifying the causes of consumers’ confusion exience as it occurs in the natural context. To achieve these goals, we have investigated the real consumers’ experience as well as past theoretical studies. This study also provides a model of factors influencing shaping the consumers’ experience of confusion by extracting the components and causes of confusion as a concept that consumers face in their daily retail purchases.
The present applied research is conducted based on qualitative method and phenomenological approach. In this study, due to the complexity of the concept of consumers’ confusion, multiple purposeful sampling including porpuseful, available, snowball and the most variety sampling methods were used. The strategies used to collect the data were a combination of in-depth interviewing, note-taking, and careful study of the related theoretical texts. Based on a detailed study of the theoretical literature, the researchers compared the findings of this study with those of the previous researches.
In general, confusion is an unpleasant experience for most of the consumers; in other words, it indicates a mental state of inability to concentrate on purchasing products and services that includes the emotional, cognitive, and behavioral dimensions of individuals. When the degree of confusion in the consumption situation exceeds the acceptable level, the consumer develops one or more strategies to reduce or eliminate it. The strategies to reduce and eliminate confusion are divided into two general categories: the individual solution and the external solution. Individual solutions refers to the case where the person who is experiencing confusion tries to address things such as adjusting their own information, changing the time of purchase, rethinking about purchasing, needs assessment, purchasing based on their needs, and so on.
The concept or nature of the consumer’s lived confusion experience is not simple and uni-dimensional, but includes multidimensional and multilayered meanings. Some of the field findings obtained from the interviews with participants about their experience of confusion while shopping confirmed the theoretical findings of the previous studies. However, in order to address previous research gaps in the area of ​​consumer confusion in the retail markets (such as HyperMarkets and ...) and in order to provide a basis for future research on discovering, identifying, and phenomenologically explaining this experience, we found the basic influencial concepts of consumer persuasion knowledge, decision making style, and consumers’ costs which are among the innovative aspects of this research.


Main Subjects

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