Influence of children in family purchase decisions: the development and use of an observational scale as a method of measuring influence
Although the influence of children in the family decision making process has been accepted as a force which neither academics nor practitioners can ignore, the degree and nature of this influence has not been satisfactorily established. This hiatus in the body of marketing knowledge provides the topic for this thesis.
A conceptual model linking the variables that affect household purchase decisions was formulated by surveying the relevant literature. This model serves both as a pedagogical framework within which to discuss the literature, and as a guide to the formulation of a set of research hypotheses for the work reported here.
Eighty-nine observations of family interactions during a simulated decision situation were recorded in the families' homes, using a video camera. The videotapes were later content-analyzed by three independent judges. Self-report data about perceived influence structures were collected at the same time.
The development of the Observed Influence Scale (OIS) takes primacy here. The scale was tested for reliability and validity and the results using the scale were compared to those generated by the self-report scales. The OIS was then applied to provide data, over three stages of the decision process, to test the series of hypotheses about family decision-making mentioned above.
Multivariate analysis of variance was performed for each family role player, using the three stages of the influence process as the dependent variables and Social class, Sex-role orientation (SRO), Wife's occupation, Involvement, Decision styles and Gender composition of the children as the independent variables.
Several patterns of behaviour emerged. Significant effects were found for all the variables tested, although not all the research hypotheses were supported in the expected manner. The effects upon influence of Social class, SRO and Wife's occupation are interactive, the other three variables stand alone. It was found, inter alia, that mothers and elder sons, and fathers and elder daughters work together to gain influence in the family decision. The implications of the research for consumer behaviour theory and practice are discussed.