The Overwhelmed Consumer: How Information Overload Affects Customer Participation
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- Master of Science 
Advancements of information technology in recent years provides the consumers with endless information on every imaginable subject. As a consequence, information overload experienced by consumers has been acknowledged in research. However, a gap from information overload to the service marketing literature has been identified. Hence, we formulated the research question: How does information overload affect customer participation? Our study has defined information overload in two ways; (1) Life Infostress, which is information overload in the customer’s own sphere, caused by living in an information-rich society. (2) Firm Information Overload, which represents the firms’ sphere, caused by over-communication. Our results are discussed in the light of other terms such as Infobesity and customers’ expectations. Results from 202 American respondents indicate that Firm Information Overload affects the customer’s motivation and self-efficacy, depending on the complexity of the participation required. Moreover, Life Infostress is found to increase the customer’s likelihood of participation, which contradicts our original hypothesis. The overall findings of all three hypotheses support a contribution presented in theoretical implications: The Information Noise Reduction Effect. This effect is found to be highly beneficial for customers with high levels of Life Infostress. Managerial implications recommends encouraging of customer participation and modification of information based on complexity. Finally, the study provides evidence for information overload’s influence on self-efficacy, motivation and customer participation. Life Infostress also affects customer participation, however noise reduction copes with this. KEYWORDS: Service marketing, information overload, customer participation, motivation, self-efficacy, infostress, Infobesity, Information Noise Reduction Effect.
Masteroppgave(MSc) in Master of Science in Strategic Marketing Management - Handelshøyskolen BI, 2019