Pradeep Rau, M.B.A. and Saeed Samiee, Ph.D.
Kent State University
The field of consumer behavior has increasingly become a subject of intense inquiry among marketing theorists since the early sixties. During the last fifteen years, several models have been advanced for explaining the behavior of consumers in general decision-making situations. Many of these models are impressive in scope but their true strength in explaining the behavior of consumers has been significantly obscured by the fact that most research efforts so far have only been directed toward specific segments of the models rather than at the models as a whole. In a major study which attempted the testing of the complete Howard-Sheth model, the authors recognized that many variables involved substantial definitional and measurement problems (Farley and Ring 1970). Later Farley and Ring's work was criticized for deficiencies in the operational definitions of various variables employed in their study (Dominguez 1974; Lutz and Resek 1972). A major reason for this self-imposed restriction on the part of researchers is that the models in their present forms have inherent problems in the way variables are identified and defined, and the 9 Academyof MarketingScience,Journalof the Academyof Marketing Science Summer, 1981,Vol. 9, No. 3, 300-316 0092-0703/81/0903-0300 $2.00 300
w a y in which relationships between variables have been specified. In this regard, Schultz and Parsons (1976) state: " . . . T h e validity of the general [consumer behavior] models is a serious question and one deserving a good deal more research. When tested [for validity], the general models can provide good descriptions of consumer behavior, although the larger problem of marketing system behavior would still be open. Consumer behavior research is an important part of marketing system research although for certain purposes they can... [continues]
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