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A Lot of Work or a Work of Art: How the Structure of a Customized Assembly Task Determines the Utility Derived from Assembly Effort

Eva C. Buechel and Chris Janiszewski
Journal of Consumer Research
Vol. 40, No. 5 (February 2014), pp. 960-972
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.1086/673846
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/673846
Page Count: 13
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A Lot of Work or a Work of Art: How the Structure of a Customized Assembly Task Determines the Utility Derived from Assembly Effort
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Abstract

Customized assembly occurs when a consumer makes customization decisions and participates in the construction or modification of a product. While customization increases satisfaction with the end-product, less is known about the utility derived from the assembly effort. Three studies show that the structure of the customized assembly task determines whether consumers derive negative or positive utility from the assembly effort. When customization decisions and assembly processes are segregated, consumers find the assembly process disagreeable. Consequently, more assembly effort leads to a lesser appreciation for the assembly experience. When customization decisions and assembly processes are integrated, consumers become creatively engaged in the assembly process. Consequently, more assembly effort leads to a greater appreciation for the assembly experience. In each case, the assembly experience influences the value of the materials that afforded the experience (i.e., the to-be-assembled product). The results have implications for repeat purchasing in product categories that allow for coproduction.

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