Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Program Name/Specialization



Lazaridis School of Business and Economics

First Advisor

Dr. Tripat Gill

Advisor Role


Second Advisor

Dr. Chatura Ranaweera

Advisor Role


Third Advisor

Dr. Zenfeng Ma

Advisor Role



An under-explored dimension of consumer decision-making is the motivation for seeking professional advice. While extant research in marketing describes some antecedents to seeking advice (e.g. complexity, risk), it is not known how these factors combine to influence consumer intentions to seek advice. Given the general consumer reluctance to obtain professional advice, the current research examines the factors that influence the motivations to seek advice. Professional financial advice is selected as the empirical context to investigate this issue.

The first of two studies involved exploratory qualitative research and revealed the factors affecting the motivation to seek advice. It was observed that this decision is an instance of approach-avoidance conflict. Also, ambivalence was often apparent in simultaneously strong and opposing attitudes towards advice. Based on this, an approach-avoidance-ambivalence (AAA) model of advice seeking was developed. The second study tested this AAA model using a survey among consumers who were active financial investors. Overall, it was found that a distinct set of factors drove the approach (positive) versus avoidance (negative) attitudes towards professional advice, and the effect of these attitudes on intentions to seek advice was moderated by perceived ambivalence. Specifically, the effects of both approach and avoidance attitudes on intentions were attenuated for consumers who were ambivalent towards professional advice.

The AAA model can be extended to examine advice-seeking motivations in other consumer domains (e.g., legal, medical, etc.). Insights will also be valuable for marketing strategies (e.g. focus directly on reducing ambivalence rather than merely increasing approach or reducing avoidance factors). This would in-turn improve the quality of consumer decisions in complex, risky, and consequential contexts.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Included in

Marketing Commons