Assessment 1: Journal Article Critique
By Shaun Bearcock Student Number 9057561
Article: Michaelidou, N., & Dibb, S. (2006). Product involvement: an application in clothing. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 5 (5), 442-453.
This is a critique of the journal article “Product involvement: an application in clothing” written by Nina Michaelidou and Sally Dibb.
The text reviews the extant literature to show the origins, application and classification of involvement. An experiment is then performed to find the common dimensions of enduring involvement associated with clothing. A discussion then focuses on the different dimensionality of clothing and what this means for the consumer, for retailers and clothing manufacturers. ‘The findings suggest that involvement with clothing stems from: (1) pleasure and enjoyment derived from shopping and (2) the importance consumers attach to the product, which relates to the symbolic nature of clothing as a means of self expression.” (Michaelidou, 2006)
Involvement is a term used to describe a level of a person’s attachment to products, ideas or situations alike (Bloch, 1986). Researchers try to understand this concept of involvement to understand how and why consumers form particular attachments with product classes such as cars music and books (Bloch, 1986). Researchers agree that involvement is a product category specific phenomenon with different products arising different levels of involvement (Bloch, 1981).
Ideas developed by Rothschild suggested there are three types of involvement; enduring, situational and response. The author compares and contrasts differing opinions with regards to the definitions of each type of involvement. Enduring involvement is an intrinsic motivation based on underlying psychological beliefs of an object. In this paper the author is particularly interested in the dimensions, which motivate the individual to develop an enduring attachment with their clothes. Therefore the topic of enduring involvement is mainly discussed and investigated.
The literature shows most researchers see involvement as multi-directional (e.g Kapferer and Laurent, 1985a). The six dimensions commonly reported include; importance, pleasure, interest, sign value, perceived risk and self- expression.
Once the literature had been evaluated the researcher designed an experiment to examine enduring involvement with clothing. To examine the level of involvement with clothes the author developed multi-dimensional scale of 15 Likert-type items to be measured on a 5-point scale of ‘strongly agree’ to ‘strongly disagree’. An online questionnaire was sent to 3000 individuals with a 20% completion rate.
Factor analysis of the results identified 2 dimensions of involvement that capture 60% of the explained variance. The first one is described by five variables measuring interest, self-expression, and pleasure, which relates to respondents interest in clothing. The second factor highlights the importance of clothes in terms of four variables describing the relationship between clothing and the individual’s values and opinions about clothing’s role in self-image.
The author makes suggestions based on the 2 common dimensionalities found.; Factor 1 suggests that consumer interest in clothing stems from the fact that it gives them pleasure and enjoyment. Factor 2 helps shape their image.
In order to be in-line with current thought on the matter the author performs a wide literature review on the topic and displays contrasting ideas and opinions with regards to accepted methods of evaluating the issue. It should be noted that some of the sources used within the article date back as far as 1970 and a majority of the sources were published 20 years before the date of this article.
For the purpose of this article the author has decided to focus on enduring involvement. Situational involvement and response involvement are not evaluated. This is possibly an area for further research with regards to how these other types of involvement play a role and what dimensionalities they may have.
The dimensionality of involvement in consumer behavior has been widely debated. This article adds to the body of knowledge that involvement is measured on multi dimensional scales for different product classes.
The research used is a qualitative research method. Information gained from many previous studies was used to develop a valid testing instrument in the form of a questionnaire. When interpreting the data a method of ‘oblique rotation’ was used, as it was consistent with other research into the dimensionality of involvement.
When performing the questionnaire the sample set was derived from an online database of people who were listed with NEXT PLc, one of the largest and best-known UK clothing retailers. The results from this sample group could be subject to sample error as this group may not be representative of the average population. There is also sample bias due to the majority of respondents, greater than eighty-five percent being female.
Clothing is a high profile and economically important sector. Also fashion and clothing draws attention from opinion leaders and innovators. Consumer involvement plays a large role in maintaining interest and spending therefore this research has added valuable recommendations for researchers and practitioners working in this area.
The results from this study can be used as a guide as to how to foster the factors of clothing involvement however it does not suggest or test any methods used to do this. In the future work will be needed to validate these findings.
There are many other factors which contribute to consumer behavior which are also at play that were not considered in this study. The knowledge of external factors in our changing society such as materialism and self-image and their effects on involvement is something that needs to be taken into consideration.
This article displays a thorough review of the literature and presents a valid discussion regarding current thoughts on “involvement”. The article describes a valid method for investigating involvement when applied to clothing. The validity of the research could be improved by changing sampling techniques. The findings suggest that consumers think of their clothes in terms of two dimensions; interest and importance. The findings confirm the experiential aspect of involvement as theorised. More information and work needs to be done to describe other external forces effecting a consumer’s involvement with clothing especially the trends of materialism and changing self-image.
Bloch PH.1981. An exploration into the scaling of consumers’ involvement with product classes. In Advances in Consumer Research. Monroe KB (ed.). Vol. 8. Ann Arbor, MI: Association for Consumer Research 13 (June): 119-126
Bloch PH, Sherrell DL, Ridgway NM. 1986. Consumer Search: An extended Framework. Journal of Consumer Research 13(June):119-126
Kapferer J-N, Laurent G. 1985a. Consumers’ involvement profiles: New empirical results. In Advances in Consumer Research. Hirschman EC,Holbrook MB (eds) Vol. 12 Provo, Utah: Association for Consumer Research; 290-295
Rothschild ML. 1984 Perspectives on involvement: Current Problems and future definitions. In Advances in Consumer Research, Kinnear TC (ed.). Vol. Provo, Utah: Association for Consumer Research; 216-217