Scratch my back and I'll scratch yours: The impact of user effort and recommendation agent effort on perceived recommendation agent quality

Dimitrios Tsekouras, Ting Li*, Izak Benbasat

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Product recommendation agents (RAs) assist online firms to adapt their suggested offers to users’ preferences, thereby lowering users’ decision effort. The concept of effort is central in decision-making, yet it remains unclear whether it should be regarded as a cost or as a benefit improving the odds of a better decision. Building on Social Exchange theory, we suggest that interactions between users and RAs are driven by the concepts of perceived interdependence and reciprocity. We suggest that perceived user effort decreases the perceived RA quality, whereas RA effort increases the perceived RA quality. We conducted two experimental studies across different contexts. We found that users evaluate RAs based on their own expended effort, in relation to how much effort they perceived the RA has put into the process of generating recommendations. Such an effect is attenuated by users’ familiarity with the product context. Our findings offer important insights into how online firms can improve the use of their RAs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103571
JournalInformation and Management
Volume59
Issue number1
Early online date23 Nov 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors

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