UCL School of Management is delighted to welcome Tami Kim, HBS, to host a research seminar on ‘Procedural justice and the risk and rewards of consumer voting.’
Firms are increasingly giving consumers the vote. Across six studies, we show that the capacity for voting to improve consumer-firm relationships is driven by perceptions of procedural justice. Stemming from this account, we show that relative to other forms of consumer empowerment, voting can damage consumer-firm relationships when implemented in a way that violates principles of procedural justice, namely by: suppressing the popular vote outcome (Experiment 1), revoking the ability to vote (Experiments 2A-B), and granting insufficient weight to consumer ballots (Experiments 3A-C). Finally, whereas Experiments 1-3 test whether violating principles of procedural justice damages customer-firm relationships, Experiment 4 tests whether adherence improves them. Specifically, Experiment 4 shows that procedurally just voting processes can mitigate the disappointment that arises from getting an undesired outcome. Taken together, these studies offer insight into how firms can realize the benefits of consumer voting initiatives, while mitigating their risks.