Academic journal article Contemporary Management Research

SEM Approach to Teen Influence in Family Decision Making

Academic journal article Contemporary Management Research

SEM Approach to Teen Influence in Family Decision Making

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The primary purpose of this paper is to provide an empirical design on teen influence and its predictors in the context of family decision making Structure equation modeling (SEM) is employed to test the proposed conceptual model on teen influence and its predictors. The SEM approach also provides for the construct validity of the key measures. Results indicate that teenage children in urban Indian households significantly influence purchase-related decisions in the family The findings from the empirical data suggest that peers, shopping and the Internet are significant predictors of teen influence in family purchases, although the media's role is marginalized (as a predictor) to the influence that teenagers have in family decision making. This study is significant, as great scholastic interest is placed on such contemporary research, which aims to discern the role of a variety of factors that impact teen influence in the family. This study also addresses the problem of construct validity of key measures, which has been somewhat overlooked in the past research.

Keywords: Indian Teenagers, Family Decision Making, Teen Influence, Consumer Socialization, SEM, Internet, Peers, Media and Shopping

INTRODUCTION

Wordsworth's immortal line "the child is the father of man" assumes new meaning in today's consumption-driven society, where the younger family members seem to influence, if not dominate, their elders. Children's influence in family decision making (FDM) is increasingly recognized and acknowledged by marketers, academicians and researchers alike to such an extent that, over the years, marketers - especially those dealing with children - added another P to the list of the traditional 4 P's: "pester power", the ability of children to influence parents into buying decisions (Sethi, 2011). In the last two decades, a lot of headway has been made on exploring and understanding the factors surrounding the child's role in family purchase decisions. However, the existing body of research suffers from some limitations, which lay the grounds for the present research work. Primarily, much of the past research is dated and is less inclusive i.e. concentrated on Western nations. For example, virtually no such research has included Indian families and children. Additionally, past theoretical frameworks in this area, such as consumer socialization, need to be updated amidst a contemporary lifestyle and changes in society at large. But, the most basic problem plaguing this area is the weak construct validity of a key measure - child influence. Without doubt, the onus lies on contemporary research to address this problem. This research takes a step toward resolving the problem. The objectives of this paper are threefold: (1) to provide a conceptual framework on teen influence and its association with traditional and contemporary socialization agents; (2) to provide the design, measurement and validation of the key constructs; and (3) to test empirically the conceptual model via SEM analysis. Teenage children were specifically included, because, first, they are expected to have gained cognitive abilities and some competence as consumers (Ekstrom, 1995). Further, due to the spending power controlled by the teenage demographic, this group is usually a trendsetter in terms of consumption patterns (Martin and Bush, 2000). In the sections that follow, first, the background for the study and research settings are described. This is followed by a discussion of teen influence and its association with socialization agents. Next, the empirical research design is presented. We conclude with a discussion of the findings and the implications of the study's results.

BACKGROUND FOR THE STUDY AND RESEARCH SETTINGS

According to the American Marketing Association, the youthfulness of many other countries - especially in Asia - far outstrips that of the US, where only 21% of the total population is aged 14 or younger, in contrast to India where 35% of the population is 14 or under (Stock and Tupot, 2006). …

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