Social Influence and Purchasing Decisions: When We Comply and When We Reject?

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Yiwan Ye
Social Network 034:170
Instructor: Freda Lynn
9 December 2013
Social Influence and Purchasing Decisions: When We Comply and When We Reject? Introduction:
The decision making and the process of social influence and conformity have been rigorously studied by social scientists in the last century (Asch, 1956; Coleman et al. 1966; Deutsch & Gerard, 1955; Kelley & Thibaut, 1978). In different societal and cultural contexts, social influence can possibly induce different reactions (Kerckhove et al. 2011; Bond and Smith 1996; Blanton and Christie 2003). Even though most of the social influence studies provided evidences suggesting buyers’ tendency to accept social influence, a little is known about reactions of product avoidance due to rejection of social influence and/or any other factors. As a result, this literature review will investigate the strength and limitation of previous networking and marketing articles, which discuss about how social influence effects individual’s purchasing decisions. Particularly, this review will discuss buyers’ reactions to social influence (comply vs. reject) regarding to different social networks, cultural environments, and product information. Theoretical Background:

Consumer behavior model has become an important tool in understanding consumer purchasing decision making process (Yoon et al. 2012). A comprehensive buying decision-making process usually consists of five stages: need recognition, information search, products evaluation,

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purchase, and post-purchase evaluation (Kotler 2012; Sheth 1969). The need recognition is a psychological process when buyers are triggered by internal and external stimuli to purchase products. Then, buyers gather information of desired products. During the evaluation process, buyers consider and compare attributes of products based on preferences. Subsequently, the prospective buyers make the purchasing decisions: buy or not to buy (Kotler 2012:98-102). However, even...
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