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What is meant by the situational self-image?

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    1. What is meant by the situational self-image? Give an example of this phenomenon.

    Generally, different disciplines define self-concept or self image differently. Self-concept denotes the totality of an individual in regard to one’s thoughts and feelings, referring to himself as an object (Rosenberg, 1979). There are different concepts of self: “actual self” is the person’s perception of himself; “ideal self” is how the person would want to perceive himself; and “social self” is the person’s presentation of himself to others (Sirgy, 1982).

    Several studies in market and consumer research state that consumer can be defined through the products he acquires, the meaning he gives to the product, or the attitude he has towards the product (Sirgy, 1982). This is supported by the claim that products and suppliers are assumed to possess an image dictated not solely by its physical characteristics, but equally through other characteristics as price, packaging, and advertising.

    It is said that purchase decision and product evaluation can be affected by one’s mood or psychological condition at a given time. Consumption situation, in a general view, is defined by the characteristics of both the person and the product that could influence the purchase and use of the product.

    The role the person portrays at a given time is somehow dictated by the so-called, “situational self-image” — the classical, “Who am I right now?” This entails that the stand of the product to answer the person’s current need could lead to the person deciding to purchase the product or not. For instance, the girl will be introduced by his fiancé to his family in a Sunday family dinner. Knowing the guy’s family belongs to the aristocratic group, the girl would likely to choose a classy dress in store that would make her feel she belongs in the people in that dinner. The girl, whether she normally patronizes signature items or not, would be “forced” by the situation to purchase signature items to make an impression. This is to say that at this given point, “this is me,” as dictated by what I need NOW.

    References:

    Rosenberg, M. (1979). Conceiving the self. New York: Basic Books.

    Sirgy, J. M. (1982). Self-Concept in Consumer Behavior: A Critical Review. Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 9.

    2. Name two dimensions that influence whether reference groups have an impact on an individual’s purchase decisions.

    Several studies have been published, discussing the interpersonal determinants of consumer behavior or the influencing factors why people buy new products. There are recommendations of family or friend, TV commercial, free samples, store display, and general advertisements (Boone and Kurtz, 2004).

    There are various forms of influences to an individual’s purchasing decision. Cultural influence (the values, beliefs, and preferences acquired by the person from older generation in his group), and the ethnocentrism or the tendency to see one’s own culture as the norm could be some of the factors influencing the person in his purchase decision. Cultural influence is one of the main reasons why extending successful marketing strategies in one country to another cannot guarantee same level of success.

    Social influence suggests that membership in a certain group influences the purchase decision of an individual in both overt and covert ways. The norms in the group and the role of the person in the group are factors composing the influence of the group in the purchase decision of an individual (Boone and Kurtz, 2004). Individuals tend to exhibit manner that is in line with that of the other members of the social group with which they identify.

    In view of consumer purchase decision, the individual’s decision in regard to selecting products and brands can be influenced by their reference groups (Bearden and Etzel, 1982). Reference groups are groups that can affect the person’s behavior through the group’s value structures and standards. There are two dimensions of reference groups. First, we have the “comparative reference groups,” which are for self-appraisal. This is where the product to be purchased should be conspicuous or something that stands out or something of brand that not everybody can have Second, we have the “normative reference groups,” which are used as source of personal norms, values, and attitudes. This is where the product to be purchased should be something other people can see and recognize (Kelly, 1947). This relates to the result of the study of Bearden and Etzel (1982) that the susceptibility of the consumer or the person’s compliance to the reference group has positive correlation to the conspicuousness of the product to the person.

    References:

    Boone, L. E. & Kurtz, D.L. (2004), Contemporary Marketing, 12th Edition.

    Childers, T.L., & Akshay, R.R. (1992), The Influence of Familial and Peer-Based Reference Groups on Consumer Decisions. The Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 19, No. 2, pp. 198-211.

    Bearden & Etzel (1995). Reference Group Influence on Selection of Services. Journal of Customer Service in Marketing & Management: innovations for the enhancement of quality customer relationship

    3. What are some of the ways organizational decisions differ from individual consumer decisions? How are they similar?

    In the context of market consumption, collective decision-making is the process in which there are several individuals involved in making decision about purchasing a product for the use of many consumers. This approach is also termed as organizational decisions. On the contrary, individual consumer decision, as the name suggests, involves an individual deciding for himself regarding the purchase of a product.  Unlike in the case of individual consumer, organizational consumer buys products following strict technical specifications. The technical specification is something that a core group of the organization decides about. Impulse buying is very rare in the case of organizational consumer as compared to that of individual consumer. Given that the decision to buy the product often goes through extensive brainstorming and product evaluation, it follows that the product the organizational consumer buys often entails high risk. Likewise, since it involves money of not just one individual, unlike in the case of individual consumer, the monetary value is often substantial. For one thing, the product is usually an object of investment of an organization wherein return on investment must be observed. Hence, the buyer must be objective and analytical enough as one wrong move may mean loss to the organization.

                Due to the burden of having great responsibility to others, buying decision becomes very important for organizational buyers. Individual preference has no room for organizational buyer, as it is the whole group that chooses the supplier based on the organizational climate or the need of the company. Unlike in the case individual consumer that it may not be a need at all but merely a luxury based on personal preference. For organizational consumers, various alternatives are present and weighed based on criteria that the whole group agreed upon.

                Despite the number of differences, organizational consumption has some similarities with individual consumption. For one thing, both are guided by emotions, in a way or another. It may be more apparent in the case of individual consumer, though. Loyalty to certain brand prevails. The innate concern to aesthetics can never be taken out of the picture. This is a human nature and given organization is made up of humans, this innate thing will still be present.

                Organizational buyers are driven by several stimuli. First, we have the internal stimuli pertaining to the psychological characteristic of the buyer. Second, the external stimuli, which can be in the form of the nature of organization the buyer belongs and the economic stand of the organization in general. Third, the cultural factors that say the same company situated in different locations in the world would follow different norms, and therefore, world have different cultural consideration in choosing products.

    Reference:

    Solomon, M.R. (2007). Consumer Behavior: Buying, Having, and Being. Sixth Edition.

    4. Define social mobility and what different forms it can take.

    Does social mobility denote poor becoming rich? Or jobless getting the job? Analyzing social mobility deals with the dynamics of social hierarchy. Ranking seems to be innate in every human group. However, the ways in which individuals are ranked in the society vary greatly. The study of social mobility seeks to define the processes that place an individual in higher or lower position in the society.

    The movement of the person from one class boundary to another or from one occupational level to another is what is called, social mobility. Mobility, in this aspect, can be vertical, downward, or upward in nature.

    Horizontal mobility is the movement from one position to another – the latter being the same social class; downward mobility is the movement from one position to another – the latter being lower in terms of social status; and upward mobility is the movement from one position to another – the latter being higher.

    There are scholars who argue that moving from one occupational level to another means change of class. Studying social mobility is important, as it matters to people in getting on with their lives. Some researchers say that the level of mobility in the society suggests how open or fair a society is (Brogan, 1997). Therefore, lack of social mobility connotes unequal distribution of opportunity in the society. Where people believe they can fairly succeed in life, achieving social cohesion and inclusion becomes easier. Social mobility is also important as a tool for economic analysis as it serves as guide in gauging the economic efficiency that is best observed when the talent and capability of each individual is utilized to the fullest.

    In most of the known society, people’s worth is gauged through his means of living. This is the so-called, “occupational prestige.” This relates to the fact that social status is often measured through the quality and level of education the person attains. The higher the educational attainment and the better the school the person went, the higher the tendency of getting good-paying job, and consequently, the higher the chance of living a better and more prosperous life as compared to those who were not able to go to school. There are occupations that hold prestige in the society, not necessarily because of the their high income but because of their worth as the holder of certain position. Some people are being looked up to because of power they hold or the amount of money they earn.

    Factors (either determinant of or barrier to social mobility) involved in discussing social mobility include (1) educational attainment, (2) childhood poverty, (3) psychological and behavioral development associated with the growth of the person, (4) family background and upbringing, and (5) person’s expectations and aspirations. The role of ability (both genetically-inherited ability and ability gained through socialization) in social mobility is argued by some sociologists and it is still being further studied.

    References:

    Brogan, J. (1997). Sociology at Hewett

    Solomon, M.R. (2007). Consumer Behavior: Buying, Having, and Being. Sixth Edition.

    5. What is de-ethnicization? Give an example.

    Ethnic-cultural heritages’ integrity is being protected by people who are members of this culture and is done by building social boundaries. The process of forming the so-called, “social boundaries,” is what we call ethnicization. De-ethnicization is the opposite of this. De-ethnicization deals with breaking or undoing those boundaries. Media can be a very powerful means to support either ethnicization or de-ethnicization (Milikowski, 2000).

    While the love and preservation of one’s own culture is almost innate in an individual, the contemporary world slowly embraces the concept of unity in diversity. De-ethnicization is not about forgetting one’s own culture and opening it to the world as if it is one ungracious thing. De-ethnicization is more of welcoming people of other culture to experience and understand one’s own culture, with the concept of universality in mind – a single world for everyone. One classic example is the presence of multicultural education system in the United States. United States may be one of those whose value given to their culture, heritage, and race exceeds all the others. Discrimination of other races used to reign in this country. Slowly, United States happened to open the door to the bigger world, where people of diverse color are entertained to experience the American culture, the American education. This does not suggest United States is now less vigilant of their culture and heritage. It is more about the mature thinking that United States’ education is too good not to share to brothers around the world.

    Reference:

    Mikikowski, M. (2000). Exploring a Model of De-ethnicization: The Case of Turkish Television in the Netherlands. European Journal of Communication, Vol. 15, No. 4

    6. Use Figure 9.1 and develop two practical examples from your personal experience in a similar chart format.

    Limited Problem Solving
    Extended Problem Solving
    Buying dress for the promenade night
    Buying laptop
    Go to one fashion store and buy the seemingly best dress seen in that store
    -Go to different stores for good canvas

    -Plot the specification of the laptop that is intended to be bought

    -Look for special promo package and credit card deals that offer no interest rate for n number of months to pay
    Go to that store with a friend and ask for opinion if the dress looks gorgeous
    -Search the web for laptop auction

    -Ask friends for referral of “good buy” laptop, even second hand
    Buy the dress without looking into the dresses in the neighboring stores
    -Ask for the details of warranty, customer service and technical support, validated receipt

    -Test the laptop’s functionality before buying it

    Limited problem solving approach usually applies to “individual buying” and in not-so-critical products while extended problem solving typically applies to “group or organizational buying” and in situation where a particular choice could have great effect in the buyer, let’s say monetarily.

    The choice of whether to do limited or extended problem solving does not, however, always depend on the criticality of the product to be bought nor in the number of individuals deciding on whether to buy which item.

    There are people who take keen precautions in buying any item – regardless of price or value. This gets to show that we can say the consumer’s choice of problem solving approach can be affected by other factors such as culture, family upbringing, personal experiences, and the like. If the person is trained to give value to every centavo he has, whether he has lots of money or not, he will take into serious consideration the purchase of a single bar of chocolate. If the person has experienced being fooled by a vendor of CD, the next time he buys one from another vendor, he will be more meticulous in testing the product. Sometimes, urgency of the need for something dictates which way to go. There are people who take extended problem solving approach in buying something because they are obliged to, let’s say by parents. There is just no one hard rule that can tell us this certain type of product need not undergo extended problem solving. Everything depends on various factors affecting people’s decision to buy or not to buy, and as to how to pick one among other choices.

    In the chart above, I have shown you how I have been meticulous in buying laptop and how I have been bit lenient in buying the dress for the promenade. The same person can take on different buying persona, depending on the situation he is in. Again, there is no one strict rule. The fact that remains is that there are various factors affecting people’s decision of buying or not buying something.

    At the end of the day, it is not what one bought but what made the person bought it. Consumer behavior really is one of the most interesting areas of marketing research.

    Reference:

    Solomon, M.R. (2007). Consumer Behavior: Buying, Having, and Being. Sixth Edition.

     

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