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EMAC 2021 Annual Conference

Love It or Leave It – The Role of Positive and Negative Emotions for Product Design Success

Published: May 25, 2021


Heike Hebborn, University of Innsbruck / Department of Strategic Management, Marketing and Tourism; Janina Kuhnle, University of Innsbruck / Department of Strategic Management, Marketing and Tourism; Nicola E. Stokburger-Sauer, Innsbruck, School of Management; Verena Hofmann, University of Innsbruck, Department of Strategic Management, Marketing and Tourism


Product design has been shown to influence customer emotions and subsequent behavior. While research and practice have mainly focused on positive emotions elicited by product design, negative emotions, and the coexistence of positive and negative emotions and their effects on customer behavior are often neglected. In two empirical studies, this paper finds significant effects of the three product design dimensions aesthetics, functionality, and symbolism on customer purchase intention and word-of-mouth, mediated by positive and negative customer emotions with positive emotions having a stronger impact than negative emotions, while negative emotions also being strongly correlated with purchase intention. Customer positive mood impacts on the relationship of product design and customer emotions. While it strengthens the effect of symbolism, it weakens the impact of functionality on negative emotions. Suggestions for theory, management, and future research are discussed.


This project is supported by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF): P 33268-GBL