Consumer Behavior We Just Got Our Term Paper

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Consumer Behavior

" We just got our steps done and that was a big project. The contractor would talk to my husband and would not talk to me." And I said, "Excuse me, I'm here too." (This question is worth

What type of decision making does the above statement represent?

Rather than allow her status as a woman to be patronized, the customer in question decided to exercise her consumer's right to make her voice heard by the individual she was employing. Even though she was a female, she did not rely upon the conventional, passive role of the wife at the side of the husband in the decision-making process regarding construction on the home. It was her home as well as her husband's home. Thus, the contractor's decisions had effects upon her feelings and financial status as a homeowner. The contractor should not have ignored the size of the project regarding the couple's most valuable mutual asset, namely the home.

The contractor exercised poor judgment. He showed his biased assumptions regarding the gender roles of the couple in his way of relating to the male and the female in question. The woman and the man might have mutually agreed to hire the contractor and might even be paying for his work out of both of their pockets and job salaries in equal measure. By behaving according to stereotypes, the contractor made a poor business decision in terms of customer relations. He should only have addressed all of his inquires to the husband if the couple both made it clear that the husband had decided to take control and have sole decision making power over the project regarding the house steps. Now, the contractor has lost business, because the wife will likely not recommend the contractor to her friends, nor seek repeat business for any further projects she wishes to conduct on her home.

Part B

State your opinion on sex roles in decision-making responsibilities

Ultimately, the businessperson should not decide who has the responsibility for making decisions regarding labor -- it is up to the client, and the husband and wife's personal assumptions of their roles within the framework of their marriage. Even from the businessperson or contractor's perspective it is best if decisions are made mutually by a married couple, rather than in isolation. A compliant husband who makes all of the decisions regarding the house steps might later find himself with an angry wife if he did not consult her before the work was done. The wife may later bad mouth the contractor; through no fault of the contractor's own decisions.

Part C

Relate the above statement with a real life experience of you or someone you know

A young, female professional friend of mine, who looks much younger than her actual age, went to a popular investment company to inquire about beginning an IRA for the upcoming tax year. The representative she was sent to asked her if she was married. When she responded she was not, he inquired if her father had recommended the firm. She admitted her father had done so, hesitant but at first merely assuming that the representative was curious as to the firm's advertising reach. However, the financial representative begin to ask her if her father approved of her financial decision making overall, and asked if she would like to bring her father in with her during another session, to discuss other investment opportunities for her future.

When she responded that perhaps she had mislead the advisor regarding the consistent influence her father had on her financial decisions, as she was a grown woman and customarily made financial decisions on her own, the financial advisor did not desist and continued to mention the woman's father. Eventually, the woman decided to open an IRA at another well-known competing investment firm nearby. There a financial advisor treated her she with courtesy and respect.

Question 2

Define the five bases of power described in your textbook. Give examples. (30 points. The five bases of power are 1. Coercive, 2. Expert, 3. Information power,

4. Reward power, 5. Social power)

Coercive power: Coercive power is best defined as the sort of power a dictator has over a subject, a master has over his or her dog, or a father or mother has over a child. 'You do this -- or else,' someone with coercive power says, either limiting the freedom of the individual or actively harming them if they do not comply. However, coercive power is limited -- a child grows up, a dog may bite a cruel master, and an oppressed subject may revolt or flee an oppressive state, rather than react in fear. Even a fearful employee may abscond to another company, where his or her services are better deployed, better rewarded, or simply where he or she need not dwell in fear of losing his or her job. In consumer behavior, coercive power might be exerted by an insurance company that demands a patient use a certain doctor or drug within the plan, else they will not be recompensed -- and some might allege that commercials that use scare tactics, implying that one's house will become afflicted with deadly mold if one does not use a particular cleanser, are using a kind of coercive power, even though no one can force you to buy a product via television.

Expert power: The use of expert power when selling products is seen best in department stores that sell technical equipment. "This DVD player is best because it was rated highly by Consumer Report," states the salesperson. "I have been in this business selling appliances for thirty years and this refrigerator is the best." Or a doctor recommends a regular drug brand over a generic for a patient, even though the name brand is more expensive. The patient trusts the doctor and assumes the doctor is making the recommendation for the sake of the product's quality and the patient's health, not because a drug representative that took the doctor out to a fancy restaurant influenced the doctor. Thus, expert power relies upon a sense of superior, even mysterious authority, of the expert in question and a trust in the expert's credentials, authority, and character. A boss that tells a young employee 'put in the hours now and reap the benefits later on, like I did,' is also using expert power of influence.

Information power: "Buy Video Professor Technology for your computer and become a software whiz!" Unlike expert power, information power suggests that by using a product, a consumer can improve his or her informational capacities or abilities him or herself. Rather than to trust an expert, deploying a sense of information power implies that the consumer knows best or will know best after purchasing the product. Rather than advising a consumer like expert power does that 9 our of 10 dentists prefer Crest, an advertisement for Crest White strips says that the consumer can be like his or her dentist and, with the correct technique, information, and product, improve his or her daily smile with his or her own ingenuity and purchasing power.

Reward power: "Get Visa Gold rewards every time you use the Visa card!" Buy Frosted Sugar Bombs Cereal and get a plastic Mr. Frosted Sugar Bomb at the bottom of the package! These are the crudest examples of rewards-oriented marketing and power over consumer demand and decision-making. However, even within the workplace and ordinary life, rewards of promotions or prizes are often offered to employees in compensation for their excellent performance or for working overtime. Also, someone executives use reward power that is implied. For instance, a boss may have the potential to give or withhold a reward, even if that reward is uncertain -- and sometimes reward power can be more potent and powerful if the final reward of a raise or promotion is uncertain or undefined.

Social power: Social power is the subtlest of all potential pressures and incentives for consumer behavior. Again, a crude example is the commercial bandwagon approach of 'everyone else' is doing it. Coke is it, simply because it is the most popular. But social pressures to put in more time at a company can be exerted upon an employee in an almost invisible fashion -- if everyone else is staying late, one feels guilty leaving early even if one's work is done. Also, buying certain products, such as an SUV seem more vital if one's colleagues do so as well. And weight loss products that imply one should be thinking of losing weight, even if it is not medically necessary create a climate of 'everyone else is doing it/has this strategy' so why don't you?

Question 3

Sears, JC Penney and, to a lesser degree, Kmart have made concerted efforts in recent years to upgrade their images and appeal to higher-class consumers. How successful have these efforts been? Do you believe this strategy is wise?

To distinguish themselves from Wal-Mart, the discount retail firm…[continue]

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