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MASTER THESIS
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"Dark Patterns" - Impact of brands'manipulative intentions on online consumer behaviour.

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Huberty, Amin ULiège
Promotor(s) : Steils, Nadia ULiège
Date of defense : 4-Sep-2023/8-Sep-2023 • Permalink : http://hdl.handle.net/2268.2/18721
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Title : "Dark Patterns" - Impact of brands'manipulative intentions on online consumer behaviour.
Author : Huberty, Amin ULiège
Date of defense  : 4-Sep-2023/8-Sep-2023
Advisor(s) : Steils, Nadia ULiège
Committee's member(s) : Baiwir, Lisa ULiège
Language : English
Number of pages : 81
Keywords : [en] Dark Patterns
[en] Consumer behaviour
[en] Ethics
[en] Consumer Engagement
[en] Consumer Attitude
[en] Manipulation
Discipline(s) : Business & economic sciences > Marketing
Name of the research project : “DARK PATTERNS” – IMPACT OF BRANDS’ MANIPULATIVE INTENTIONS ON ONLINE CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR
Target public : Researchers
Professionals of domain
Student
General public
Institution(s) : Université de Liège, Liège, Belgique
Degree: Master en sciences de gestion, à finalité spécialisée en international strategic marketing
Faculty: Master thesis of the HEC-Ecole de gestion de l'Université de Liège

Abstract

[en] The digital era's proliferation of technologies has reshaped the customer journey, emphasising a technology-driven experience characterised by digitalisation and the adoption of digital platforms. This shift introduces a novel aspect: the utilisation of Dark Patterns, manipulative design interfaces strategically integrated into websites and applications. These patterns aim to control user behaviour, posing ethical concerns. This research explores the influence of Dark Pattern familiarity on consumer behaviour, particularly Consumer Engagement and Consumer Attitudes, by conducting a comprehensive survey encompassing quantitative and qualitative data.
The study unveils that Dark Pattern familiarity itself does not significantly impact consumer behaviour. Contrary to expectations, Consumer Attitude and Engagement are more influenced by ethical considerations and convenience. These findings suggest that other factors, such as transparent user experiences and enhancing user interactions, carry more weight in fostering brand trust and loyalty.
Further analysis of qualitative data uncovers consumer frustration due to perceived brand manipulation, highlighting potential negative consequences of Dark Pattern use. Additionally, the research negates a substantial impact of age on Dark Pattern familiarity, challenging prior assumptions about generational differences in technological exposure.
These insights present critical managerial implications for businesses. Managers should prioritise ethical user experiences and transparency to fortify brand perceptions and avoid long-term damage to brand reputation. A focus on convenience-oriented user experiences enhances consumer engagement and the decision-making process. Furthermore, acknowledging the growing awareness of marketing tactics among consumers is crucial for retaining customer trust and avoiding manipulative practices.
In conclusion, while Dark Patterns indeed influence consumer behaviour, this study asserts that the primary determinants are ethical considerations and convenience, shedding light on critical aspects of consumer engagement and attitudes. Ethical and user-friendly design principles are pivotal in shaping a positive digital environment, safeguarding both user interests and brand reputation.


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  • Huberty, Amin ULiège Université de Liège > Master sc. gest., à fin.

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