With the dynamic environment, undoubtedly, each firm attempts to study and understand the consumer behavior due to businesses stay in business by attracting and retaining customers (Arnold, Price & Zinkhan, 2002). That means only gaining a comprehensive understanding of consumer behavior can meet the firm¡¯s marketing goals. According to Solomon (1999), most marketers now recognize that consumer behavior is an ongoing process; decision making unit plays an important role in this process. As the basic consumer decision-making unit, family are most frequently examined by many markets because decision making by family differs in many ways from decisions made by an individual and an organization. Therefore, many firms tend to study the roles of different members of family regarding the purchase. As same way, I am going to illustrate how these facets affect Chinese consumer behavior and how do Chinese family make automobile purchase decisions. Following, through the progress of decision-making process, the different roles will be evaluated respectively. Besides, the manager benefit from perspective of decision making process also will be discussed 2. The distinct roles in the family decision-making process
As a case, one Chinese family intends to buy a station wagon recently. The purchase activity will experience series decision-making process due to the automobile is valuable equipment for the family. Neal, Quester and Hawkins (1999) define that consumer decision making process consists of five stages: problem recognition, information search, alternative evaluation purchase, postpurchase activities. Different members of the family would play different roles in the process.
2.1 The brief background of the family
Each family must stay in a distinct stage of family life cycle in particular period. In the light of Lancaster and Reynolds (2005), family life cycle involves eight stages that consist of unmarried, newly-married couples-no children, young married couples with youngest child under 6, married couples with youngest child or over, older married couples still with children at home, older married couples with no children living with them, older retired couples and solitary survivor. As for this family in this case of study, it is chosen nuclear family because the nuclear family is the most typical family in China. There are three persons in the family. It is a middle class in a city. One is father, a common clerk, his interesting is travel, one is mother, a housewife without working, her interesting is shopping and outdoor activities, one is seventeen year old son who is a student of high school; his interesting is sport and journey.
2.2 The roles in the different stages
There are many roles for members of family in the decision making process, such as initiator, information gather, gate keeper, decider etc. with this study, different roles in each stage of decision making process will be played by one or more members.
2.2.1 The roles in the stage of problem recognition
Problem recognition is the first stage in the consumer decision-making process. As for Chinese family, father usually seems like a leader. Although mother sometimes dominate the family activities. With the booming of economic situation of the family and growing up of his son, father recognizes that his family lacks a station wagon. Above this situation, father captures the problem and wants to buy a new station wagon for the family. So in the stage of problem recognition, father is initiator for purchasing a new motor.
2.2.2 The roles in the stage of information search
Once the problem has been recognized, an information search is undertaken to isolate an effective solution (Neal, Quester & Hawkins, 1999). Information gather will play a significant role in this stage of decision process. Men usually are interesting and good at the structure and capability of the automobile. Father of this family usually focuses on various...
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