An Examination of Maximization: A Context of Innovation

  • Jamal Alsaady

Student thesis: Phd


Maximization is an indispensable construct to choice theorists. In the last two decades, an extensive body of maximization research has developed. However, fundamental questions surrounding the operational validity and conceptual clarity of the construct are evident. Research has begun to present profoundly and troublingly conflicting results. One cause of this is a lack contextual considerations. Therefore, this research, adopting a context of innovation, sets out to tackle these fundamental operational and conceptual questions surrounding the construct. RQ1, a two-week, two-time-point longitudinal survey (n=197) assessed maximization’s operational validity in terms of temporal stability and discriminant validity from similar constructs. Measures of maximizing goal and maximizing strategy, components of maximization, were stable, as well as maintaining discriminant validity against other constructs, with maximizing goal and perfectionism the only exception to this. RQ2, a cross sectional survey (n=196) compared maximization with consumer innovativeness measures and demonstrated that maximization only correlated with cognitively associated constructs, and not the sensorial ones. RQ3, a protocol analysis, asked participants to talk aloud as they performed an innovation adoption decision task. The findings suggested maximization was stimulated by goals and was not a driving force in the decision process, rather it was a supporting function of other decision processes. The findings of this thesis contribute to the maximization literature in 3 principle ways. Firstly, maximization’s trait status (with some noted limitations) is strengthened in ways not previously done so (through temporal stability and discrimination from similar constructs). Secondly, by broadening maximization’s nomological net, more can be understood about maximization, conceptually. Finally, the conceptualisation of maximization can now be developed with an understanding of the limited yet supporting influence of maximization on decision making process; one that relies on goals as paramount in allowing maximization manifestation. Contributions to the innovation literature are, too, available when reminded of the positive relationship between maximizing and consumer innovativeness. Additional research is needed to further address the extent of maximization’s existing operational integrity. In particular, assessing the stability of maximization across lengthier time frames and with larger samples will support the theory of a distinct maximizing trait; these efforts should be extended across domains to strengthen these claims further. Also, researchers should look to investigate the behavioural manifestation of maximization so as to understand the maximization process less ambiguously than is currently available.
Date of Award6 Jan 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorNadia Papamichail (Supervisor)


  • maximizing
  • judgement
  • satisficing
  • decision making

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