0
Research Papers: Design Automation

The Impact of Sustainability on Consumer Preference Judgments of Product Attributes

[+] Author and Article Information
Kosa Goucher-Lambert

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Carnegie Mellon University,
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
e-mail: kgoucher@andrew.cmu.edu

Jonathan Cagan

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Carnegie Mellon University,
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
e-mail: cagan@cmu.edu

Contributed by the Design Automation Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received June 5, 2014; final manuscript received March 26, 2015; published online June 8, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Harrison M. Kim.

J. Mech. Des 137(8), 081401 (Aug 01, 2015) (11 pages) Paper No: MD-14-1331; doi: 10.1115/1.4030271 History: Received June 05, 2014; Revised March 26, 2015; Online June 08, 2015

Despite significant interest from consumers, sustainable products often struggle to find success in the marketplace. This failure is frequently attributed to the perception that consumers remain unwilling to sacrifice product attributes such as form, function, or price in order to adopt a product whose environmental impact is less than that of a competing product. This work aims to better understand how knowing a product's environmental impact affects preference for that product's disparate attributes. Three products of various monetary investments and numbers of relevant features were explored through a conjoint analysis experiment that uncovers consumer preference for discrete form, function, and price attributes. In this work, single use spoons, reusable water bottles, and home washing machines were used for analysis. These three products were decomposed into form, function, and price attributes that were varied in discrete levels. After a form-only ratings-based conjoint analysis study was conducted to find high, medium, and low preference form designs for each participant, two separate form–function–price discrete choice studies were conducted for each of the three products. These two discrete choice trials were identical in all aspects except in the second trial participants were provided with calculated environmental impact values for all design configurations; the presented environmental impact information was a dependent variable based on a life cycle analysis calculation using the current product configuration being shown to the participant. Further, adding this information raises the decision to one of a social or moral choice. Results show that when participants are provided with this additional piece of information, their preference for form, function, and price attributes of a product is greatly impacted. In particular, we find that for the products chosen here, the importance of functional attributes increases in the context of environmental impact metrics, while the importance of form decreases and the importance of price decreases modestly. In other words, placing the preference judgment within a social or moral choice context changes decisions about product preferences.

FIGURES IN THIS ARTICLE
<>
Copyright © 2015 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.

References

Perry, W., Broers, A., El-Baz, F., and Harris, W., 2008, Grand Challenges for Engineering, National Academy of Engineering, Washington, DC.
Bennett, J., and Blamey, R., 2001, “Yea-Saying and Validation of a Choice Model of Green Product Choice,” The Choice Modeling Approach to Environmental Valuation, J.Bennett, and R.Blamey, eds., Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK, pp. 178–201.
MacDonald, E., Allison, J. T., and Whitefoot, K., 2010, “An Investigation of Sustainability, Preference, and Profitability in Design Optimization,” ASME Paper No. DETC2010-29055. [CrossRef]
Olson, E., 2012, “It's Not Easy Being Green: The Effects of Attribute Tradeoffs on Green Product Preference and Choice,” J. Acad. Mark. Sci., 41(2), pp. 171–184. [CrossRef]
Cagan, J., and Vogel, C., 2013, Creating Breakthrough Products, Financial Times Press, Upper Saddle River.
She, J., and MacDonald, E. F., 2013, “Trigger Features on Prototypes Increase Preference for Sustainability,” ASME Paper No. DETC2013-12973. [CrossRef]
Orsborn, S., Cagan, J., and Boatwright, P., 2009, “Quantifying Aesthetic Form Preference in a Utility Function,” ASME J. Mech. Des., 131(6), p. 061001. [CrossRef]
Luce, R., and Tukey, J., 1964, “Simultaneous Conjoint Measurement: A New Type of Fundamental Measurement,” J. Math. Psychol., 1(1), pp. 1–27. [CrossRef]
Louviere, J., Hensher, D., and Swait, J., 2000, Stated Choice Methods, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. [CrossRef]
Green, P. E., and Wind, Y., 1975, “New Way to Measure Consumers' Judgments,” Harv. Bus. Rev., 53(4), pp. 107–117.
Green, P., 1974, “On the Design of Choice Experiments Involving Multifactor Alternatives,” J. Consum. Res., 1(2), pp. 61–68. [CrossRef]
Luce, R. D., 1977, “The Choice Axiom After Twenty Years,” J. Math. Psychol., 15(3), pp. 215–233. [CrossRef]
Kelly, J. C., Maheut, P., Petiot, J.-F., and Papalambros, P. Y., 2011, “Incorporating User Shape Preference in Engineering Design Optimisation,” J. Eng. Des., 22(9), pp. 627–650. [CrossRef]
Sylcott, B., Cagan, J., and Tabibnia, G., 2011, “Understanding Consumer Tradeoffs Between Form and Function Through Metaconjoint and Cognitive Neuroscience Analyses,” ASME J. Mech. Des., 135(10), p. 101002. [CrossRef]
Reid, T. N., Gonzalez, R. D., and Papalambros, P. Y., 2010, “Quantification of Perceived Environmental Friendliness for Vehicle Silhouette Design,” ASME J. Mech. Des., 132(10), p. 101010. [CrossRef]
Ewing, G., and Sarigiii, E., 2000, “Assessing Consumer Preference for Clean-Fuel Vehicles: A Discrete Choice Experiment,” J. Public Policy Mark., 19(1), pp. 106–118. [CrossRef]
Skerlos, S. J., Morrow, W. R., and Michalek, J. J., 2006, “Sustainable Design Engineering and Science: Selected Challenges and Case Studies,” Sustainability Science and Engineering, Vol. 1, M. A.Abraham, ed. Elsevier, New York, pp. 477–525.
Alriksson, S., and Oberg, T., 2008, “Conjoint Analysis for Environmental Evaluation—A Review of Methods and Applications,” Environ. Sci. Pollut. Res. Int., 15(3), pp. 244–257. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Guagnano, G. A., 2001, “Altruism and Market-Like Behavior: An Analysis of Willingness to Pay for Recycled Paper Products,” Popul. Environ., 22(4), pp. 425–438. [CrossRef]
MacDonald, E. F., Gonzalez, R., and Papalambros, P. Y., 2009, “Preference Inconsistency in Multidisciplinary Design Decision Making,” ASME J. Mech. Des., 131(3), p. 031009. [CrossRef]
PreConsultants, 2000, “Eco-Indicator 99 Manual for Designers,” Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment, Amersfoort.
Sylcott, B., Michalek, J. J., and Cagan, J., 2013, “Towards Understanding the Role of Interaction Effects in Visual Conjoint Analysis,” ASME Paper No. DETC2013-12622. [CrossRef]
Kuhfeld, W. F., 2010, “Marketing Research Methods in SAS: Experimental Design, Choice, Conjoint, and Graphical Techniques,” SAS Technical Papers No. MR-2010.
Tovares, N., Cagan, J., and Boatwright, P., 2014, “Experiential Conjoint Analysis: An Experience-Based Method for Eliciting, Capturing, and Modeling Consumer Preference,” ASME J. Mech. Des., 36(10), p. 101404. [CrossRef]
Train, K., 2003, Discrete Choice Methods With Simulation, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, Chap. 6. [CrossRef]
Kahneman, D., and Tversky, A., 1979, “Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk,” Econometrica, 47(2), pp. 263–291. [CrossRef]
Greene, J., Sommerville, B., Nystrom, L., Darley, J., and Cohen, J., 2001, “An fMRI Investigation of Emotional Engagement in Moral Judgment,” Science, 293(5537), pp. 2105–2108. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Bras, B., 2013, “Recurring and Unresolved Problems in Sustainable Design,” ASME Paper No. DETC2013-13459. [CrossRef]

Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Product form variation with marked attributes: (top) spoon, (bottom left) water bottle, and (bottom right) washing machine

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Attribute contributions to environmental impact scores

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Ability of Eco-Indicator 99 to capture small design variations. Water bottle design 17 (left). Water bottle design 9 (right).

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Experimental design section flow

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Survey interface example from Part 1 for the spoon

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Survey interface from Part 3 for the water bottle

Tables

Errata

Discussions

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In