Child Influence on Family Purchasing Behaviour

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Family Communication Patterns and Children’s influence on Family Decision Making

Wut, Tai Ming,* University of South Australia, Chou, Ting-Jui, Renmin University of China,

Abstract World economy has changed significantly in past decades. Parents usually come out to work and family communication pattern expecting to be changed. The aim of this paper is to investigate the relationship between family communication patterns and children’s influence on family decision making. It has been shown that children have more influence for pluralistic families on the choice stage than protective families and there is no significant difference between pluralistic and protective communication types for children’s influence in the decision stage.

Keywords: Family communication patterns, family decision making, children’s influence


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Family Communication Patterns and Children’s influence on Family Decision Making


Chaffee et al. (1971, p331) develop a framework on family communications. Socio-orientated is a type of parental style that a child has to accept his or her parent values and instruction without disagreement. The second type of parental style is concept orientated, which is more open and encourages child to develop his or her own idea. Four different types of communications: “Laissez-faire,” “Protective,” “Pluralistic,” and “Consensual” are classified according to levels of two above-mentioned orientations. When both levels of socio- and concept- orientation are low, it is classified as “Laissez-faire” families. There is lack of parent-child communication in those families. When Socio-orientation is high and conceptorientation is low, it is a protective family. Obedience and family harmony are stressed. Pluralistic families encourage open communication and child’s independent thinking. High concept-orientation and low socio-orientation is expected. Consensual families focus on both types of parental styles. There is little research specifically targeting the impact of communication pattern styles on children’s influence on family consumption. Thus, a new model is proposed for the issue. Conceptual Framework Consumer Socialization is the process children get knowledge and skills in order to become an independent consumer in a family context. It is under a larger socio-cultural environment examining parent-child interactions within (Moschis and Churchill, 1978, p599; Rose et al., 1998, p73). According to Moschis and Moore (1979, p106), parents are the main source of rational influence on children. Thus, parental style is one of important factor affecting family members buying behaviour. According to Caruana and Vassallo (2003), socio- and concept- orientations are two important parental styles that are likely to affect the perceived influence that children believe they hold. Chan and McNeal (2003, p324) report that Chinese parents are mostly consensual with both high scores on socio- and concept- orientations. They conclude that Chinese parents have strict control over their children on purchasing but give them some freedom in choice of brands of specific products. The study is conducted in China’s cities Beijing, Nanjing and Chengdu. A modified theoretical framework after Chan and McNeal (2003, p318) is developed to predict family communication pattern and consumption decision: Figure One: A theoretical framework predicting family communications and buying choice and decision

Family communication pattern

Choice and buying decision

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It is expected that children in pluralist families would have more influence than protective families on family decision making. Two hypotheses have been set up in order to test the effect of parental communication pattern on family decision making: Hypothesis One: Children influence’s on family decision making is greater on...
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