Academic journal article International Journal of Marketing Studies

The Effect of CSII on Armenian-Americans' Pre-Purchase Information-Search Tendencies

Academic journal article International Journal of Marketing Studies

The Effect of CSII on Armenian-Americans' Pre-Purchase Information-Search Tendencies

Article excerpt

Abstract

Key psychometric properties of the Consumer Susceptibility to Interpersonal Influence (CSII) scale (Bearden, Netemeyer and Teel 1989) are re-assessed in a sample chosen from the Armenian-American micro-culture in the U.S.. The scale is modified in light of differences found between this group and that of the original study (Bearden, Netemeyer and Teel 1989). Differences found between these two groups are also highlighted. The effect of CSII on an Armenian-American consumer's pre-purchase external information-search tendencies are assessed in a business suit purchasing scenario. For those who are more susceptible to informational influence, family is the most important information source. For those who are more susceptible to normative influence, we find that they learn macro-cultural norms mostly from outside the family. "Neutral" and "impersonal" sources of information are found to be quite important. The theoretical and practical implications of the findings from this retailing scenario are discussed.

Keywords: CSII, Armenian-Americans, men's fashion retailing, informational influence, normative influence, impersonal influence, pre-purchase external information-search tendencies, micro-culture vs. macro-culture

1. Introduction

The size of micro-culture markets in the U.S. is enormous. Several are about to exceed the trillion dollar mark in purchasing power (Nielsen, 2013). The African-American market for example is estimated at over $1 trillion annually (Nielsen, 2013). However, these markets have long been overlooked by both practitioners and academics, though that is now changing. Practitioners are beginning to devote more attention to them, given that by some projections, micro-cultures may comprise more than one-half of the U.S. population by 2050 (Passel & Cohn, 2008). Thus for example, marketers are developing separate product lines and catalogs among others, for specific micro-culture markets. Attention from academics, however, is in need of redress.

Most of the academic marketing literature on micro-cultures has dealt with Hispanic- and African-Americans (e.g., Wallendorf & Reilly, 1983; Wilkes & Valencia, 1985), and while much progress has been made in understanding these two groups, not much is known about some of the smaller, but no less affluent groups (Kotkin, 1987), such as Armenian-Americans. As a result, our objectives for this study are as follows. First, we will re-calibrate the 'Consumer Susceptibility to Interpersonal Influence' (CSII) scale, originally developed using Anglo-Americans (Bearden, Netemeyer, & Teel, 1989), in an Armenian-American sample. Second, we will examine how an Armenian-American's CSII affects his/her pre-purchase information-search tendencies across nine different information sources in a business suit purchasing scenario. Finally, theoretical and practical implications and limitations of the study will be discussed.

2. Theoretical Background

Susceptibility to interpersonal influence has long been recognized as a relatively stable trait that varies across individuals. Based on the early work of Deutsch and Gerard (1955) and later that of Kelman (1958), three broad subtypes of this trait have been widely recognized. The first is utilitarian influence, which operates when an individual complies with the expectations of another to gain a reward or avoid a punishment. The individual adopts a certain attitude or behavior through the process of compliance. The second is value-expressive influence, which operates when an individual accepts influence from another with whom s/he identifies. The individual adopts a certain attitude or behavior through the process of identification. The third and final type is informational influence, which operates when an individual accepts influence from another who is perceived as being a credible expert in some subject area. This process may take place actively, whereby the individual solicits information from this knowledgeable other, or passively, whereby s/he obtains it by the mere observation of this other. …

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