Coursework Assignment

Title: Consumer behavior

Contents

Abstract 2

Research question and hypothesis. 2

Justification of qualitative and quantitative method. 2

Reflections. 3

PAD Scale. 3

Conclusion. 4

References. 5

 

Abstract

The consumer decision making process plays a crucial role in determining consumer behavior. Of the stages of the decision making process that have been discussed in literature, the search for information is the most important. Its importance is evident considering the tremendous influence it exerts on all the entire decision making process as well as its role as a major determinant of emotional confidence. It follows from need recognition, which is the first stage, and it is normally followed by an evaluation of alternatives. The thoroughness of information search determines the number of alternatives that a consumer evaluates.

This study uses the PAD scale to study emotions during the consumer decision making process. It focuses on a shopping center as well as traditional retailing areas in Turkey. The use of PAD as the research method is significant because it was used against the backdrop of the realization that no qualitative or quantitative research has so far been undertaken to measure emotional confidence; all existing models measure emotions and not emotional confidence (Koo & Ju, 2010). The PAD model fits into the qualitative and quantitative elements of this study because it is founded on three major emotional dimensions describing consumer behavior, namely pleasure, arousal, and dominance.

Research question and hypothesis

The research question for the study is: How does the emotional state of the shopper effect they are likelihood influence his purchase decision? In essence, one may expect the purchase decision of a consumer to be predicated on the emotions that he displays. An overly anxious consumer may shy away from purchasing items due to the fear that an embarrassing encounter with shop attendants may arise. In contrast, another anxious consumer may engage in impulse buying due to sheer fear or inability to commit sufficient cognitive resources to each purchase decision. The study will measure those emotions and check them against the purchase decisions of study participants, for example, whether or not consumers who portray anxiety end up buying any items in the areas under study. Thus, the research sets out to identify the relationship between the independent variable (emotions) and dependent variable (purchase behavior). The hypothesis for this study is that the kind of environment within which consumers search for information about a shopping center and traditional retailing areas in Turkey influences their emotions. By extension, these emotions determine the purchase decisions that the customer ultimately make.

Justification of qualitative and quantitative method

To justify the qualitative and quantitative methods, one needs to put into consideration the purpose of the study. Its objective is to determine how emotions influence consumer behavior. To identify emotional stimulation among consumers, the research must measure emotions quantitatively. The quantitative approach is also ideal for the determination of emotional arousal among consumers when faced with different situations. Quantitative analysis was conducted using the PAD scale. This scale measures emotional stimulation in diverse settings. This choice of a quantitative approach is appropriate considering that consumer emotions tend to change based on the degree of novelty and complexity in the shopping environment.

On the other hand, some aspects of the purchase environment are too novel to be defined in quantitative terms, hence the use of the qualitative approach. For example, the researcher is often faced with the need to explain environmental attributes in terms of newness of different sights the consumer encounters, familiarity, and unexpectedness. Describing these situations vividly requires the researcher to invoke aspects of subjectivity, which are best accounted for through qualitative research. Qualitative approach also creates room for the researcher to examine subjective experiences of consumers’ emotions as well as appraisal of the shopping environment. Moreover, it provides the researcher with an opportunity to put into consideration subjective information while assessing the phenomena under study. Like in other studies, the present inquiry poses complex questions that may not be addressed comprehensively addressed using the quantitative approach. The best way of addressing such questions is to use the qualitative approach, and this explains why it has been selected for this study.

Reflections

A number of practical and empirical obstacles will have an impact on the study. For example, there is dearth of literature on the use of the PAD scale, particularly in regards to the use of the Dominance dimension. Moreover, the task of measuring emotions is empirically complex. Researchers may not agree on what constitutes a valid research approach for measuring them. This is understandable considering that the models that have been proposed thus far are still being developed and modified to eliminate fundamental shortcomings.

Moreover, the response rate may be rather low considering that some of the participants may not understand fully what the study entails. The assumption is that failure to understand the meaning of the study and its implications may trigger a low response rate among participants. To counteract this, the researcher will be compelled to go out of his way to explain how ethical considerations will be addressed throughout the study.

In terms of theoretical problems, focus shifts to the qualitative approach, whereby the researcher must be on the lookout to avoid using the notion that facts will speak for themselves, and that only collected data is needed. This means a major challenge will be to acknowledge the importance of examining data and background knowledge without necessarily retreating to relativism. This means that the researcher will have to not only make observations but also negotiate their conceptualization in order to provide a reflection of a specific social reality that may exist independently of any inquiry (Massara, Liu & Melara, 2010).

Similarly, some challenges relating to the use of the quantities method are likely to act as major barriers to the research process. For example, the researcher will have to address the question of validity, which entails a determination of whether the measures used in the study are actually being used to measure what they are supposed to measure. To maintain validity, the researcher will be under pressure to maintain internal consistency in the way empirical research data is applied to the theoretical interpretation of the phenomena under study.

PAD Scale

The 12 items that will be used in the PAD scale include Melancholic–Contented, Happy-Unhappy, Satisfied-Unsatisfied, and Annoyed-Pleased (for the Pleasure-Displeasure continuum); Stimulated-Relaxed, Frenzied-Sluggish, Calm-Excited, and Sleepy-Wide awake (for the Arousal-Non-arousal continuum); and Controlling-Controlled, Influential-Influenced, Cared for-In control, and Guided-Autonomous (for the Dominance-Submissiveness continuum). The PAD fits well into this study because it provides a model within which to undertake a quantitative measure of emotions in a shopping center environment as well as within traditional retailing areas. This measurement scale is justifiable because it has been successfully employed in a recent study (Foxal & Yani-de-Soriano, 2011).

Conclusion

This study provides the researcher with an opportunity to contribute to the study of the consumer decision making process by examining the role of emotions at the information-search stage. Having defined the research design, the immediate next step is to identify participants, seek informed consent from then, and then embark on the data collection process. This data will then be analyzed using the PAD scale, specifically the 12-item measurement tool. The objective will be to identify changes in emotions as a result of different aspects of the environment within the shopping center and traditional retailing areas in Turkey and how those changes influence the effectiveness of information search. In other words, the immediate tasks are two-fold: to use the quantitative approach (PAD scale) to measure emotions that are hypothesized to have influenced that information search and to use the qualitative approach to assess the effectiveness of the participants’ information search process.

 

References

Foxal, G. & Yani-de-Soriano, M. (2011). Influence of Reinforcement Contingencies and Cognitive Styles on Affective Responses: An Examination of Rolls’ Theory of Emotion in the Context of Consumer Choice. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 41(10), 2508–2537.

Koo, D. & Ju, S. (2010). The interactional effects of atmospherics and perceptual curiosity on emotions and online shopping intention. Computers in Human Behavior, 26, 377–388.

Massara, F., Liu, S. & Melara, R. (2010). Adapting to a retail environment: Modeling consumer–environment interactions. Journal of Business Research, 63(7), 673–681.

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