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Paper info: Investigating choice overload in a B2B context


Investigating choice overload in a B2B context


Catherine Sutton-Brady
University of Sydney
Catherine Sutton-Brady , Ulku Yuksel,
Pete Naude
Manchester Business School
United Kingdom
Pete Naude and Nur Amalina Mohamad Zaki

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 35th IMP-conference in Paris, France in 2019.


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While choice or information overload has been extensively studied in a consumer context, no research has looked at whether the number of potential suppliers available will impact relationships and networks in B2B markets. From an economic perspective, too many options may lead to choice overload such as diminishing returns. From a psychological perspective, the downside of choice overload is that many assortments may lead to a decrease in satisfaction, lack of motivation to make decisions which may result in choice withdrawal, regret after decision making, and even pessimism. We investigate whether in a B2B context, organisations and specifically those responsible for the purchasing function, are more inclined toward being loyal to their existing relationships and therefore do not search for further information. It is proposed that in such cases they may not experience any negative information/choice overload effect. In undertaking in-depth interviews within the architecture, engineering and construction industries, we will firstly explore whether or not choice overload exists. Given the relational nature of B2B markets, this study will also look at whether existing relationships impact on reducing the negative consequences of choice overload if it does exist.