Pancer, Ethan; Lindsay McShane and Maxwell Poole (2017), “Schadenfreude and product failures: The role of product deservingness and product status” Journal of Marketing Management.

Journal Article

This paper examines the influence of product considerations on the experience of schadenfreude – taking pleasure in the suffering of another consumer. We examine how schadenfreude is affected by the extent to which the person suffering a product failure deserves to own the product and the status of the failed product. This work also explicitly considers how these factors interact with those of the person observing the misfortune. These ideas are tested across three experiments. The results show that high product status increases schadenfreude via its exacerbating effects on envy and that a lack of perceived product deservingness increases schadenfreude via both envy and deservingness. These effects differ based on the corresponding factors of the observer where the observer’s own deservingness and lack of product status are found to exacerbate schadenfreude via envy.