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Characteristics of Consumer Behavior Information Search
The search for information is a common characteristic of consumer behaviour. Consumers cannot purchase goods and services if they are unaware that a good or service exists. When a consumer decides to buy a certain item, his decision must be based on the information he has gathered about what products or services are available to fulfill his needs. There might be a product available that would be better suited to the consumer's needs, but if he is unaware of the product, he will not buy it. Consumers gather information in many ways. Advertisements and word-of-mouth are common ways consumers find information. A consumer with Internet access can search for reviews of products and product alternatives, which may make him more informed and better able to make decisions.
Brand loyalty is another characteristic of consumer behavior. Brand loyalty is the tendency of a consumer to buy products or services from a certain company that she likes or equates with having high quality goods and services. For instance, if her first car was a Honda as a teenager and the car lasted 200,000 miles, she might have a tendency to buy Hondas in the future due to her previously positive experience. This brand loyalty may be so strong that she forgoes the information search all together when considering her next vehicle. An information search takes time and effort; brand loyalty is a way consumers avoid the time and effort involved in an information search.
Price Elasticity of Demand
Price elasticity of demand is an economic concept and an important characteristic of consumer behaviour. The price elasticity of demand is the change in consumption that an individual makes due to a change in the price of a certain product. The consumption of products with high elasticity of demand will fall sharply with an increase in pr ice. For instance, if the price of a luxury, such as baseball tickets, rose 30 percent, consumers might stop buying baseball tickets and buy more movie or basketball tickets as a substitute. If consumer demand shifted in this way, baseball tickets could be said to have high elasticity of demand, since consumers will shift their preferences great ly as price changes. Items with low elasticity of demand, or inelastic goods, are those that consumers tend to buy regardless of price. Goods such as gasoline, milk and other essentials tend to be inelastic. Gas might go up in price by 30 percent, but co nsumers may still buy it in the same quantity since many people rely on gas for commuting and other essential transportation.
Industrial buying behavior is the pattern of actions by a company involved in manufacturing, processing and other heavy industry. Many of these companies are required to make regular purchases as a means of supplying their businesses. Although each company -- and each industry -will have buying behavior affected by its own set of factors, there are several main variables that can affect industrial buying as a whole Demand o
Perhaps the main driver of industrial buying is demand. The amount of buying that an industrial concern will do is directly depended on the amount of business that the company can expect in the near future. Generally, if a company expects higher demand, then it will
stock up on raw materials as a means of ensuring that it will be able to meet consumer demand and maximize revenue. Price o
Buying patterns are also affected by the price of the materials the companies are purchasing. When prices are higher or the company expects a decrease in the near future, the company may choose to hold off making purchases, so as to save money. This can involve some difficult decision making. For example, a company that uses fuel in the production of its products may attempt to guess the direction of oil prices.
In addition to current demand and the current prices for a product, industrial companies may look to the economy as an indication of the future availability of materials relative to the consumer demand for them. If the economy is trending upward, the company may purchase more based on the expectation of a future rise in sales, while a downward trending economy may push it to the opposite course of action.
Technological Changes o
In addition, industrial companies are heavily influenced by changes in technology that affect both the provision of goods and their own requirements. For example, if purchasing a piece of technology means that a raw material becomes cheaper to use, then the company may choose to invest in the new technology. Similarly, the acquisition of new technology will often change the company's buying habits, as the technology will have different raw material requirements to run.
McClelland’s APA Theory David McClelland and his associates proposed McC lelland’s theory of Needs / Achievement Motivation Theory. This theory states that human behaviour is affected by three needs - Need for Power, Achievement and Affiliation. Need for achievement is the urge to excel, to accomplish in relation to a set of standards, to struggle to achieve success. Need for power is the desire to influence other individual’s behaviour as per your wish. In other words, it is the desire to have control o ver others and to be influential. Need for affiliation is a need for open and sociable interpersonal relationships. In other words, it is a desire for relationship based on co operation and mutual understanding. The individuals with high achievement needs are highly motivated by competing and challenging work. They look for promotional opportunities in job. They have a strong urge for feedback on their achievement. Such individuals try to get satisfaction in performing things better. High achievement is directly related to high performance. Individuals who are better and above average performers are highly motivated. They assume responsibility for solving the problems at work. McClelland called such individuals as gamblers as they set challenging targets for themselves and they take deliberate risk to achieve those set targets. Such individuals lo ok for innovative ways of performing job. They perceive achievement of goals as a reward, and value it more than a financial reward. The individuals who are motivated by power have a strong urge to be influential and controlling. They want that their views and ideas should dominate and thus, they want to lead. Such individuals are motivated by the need for reputation and self-esteem. Individuals with greater power and authority will perfor m better than those possessing less power. Generally, managers with high need for power turn out to be more efficient and successful managers. They are more determined and loyal to the organization they work for. Need for power should not always be taken negatively. It can be viewed as the need to have a positive effect on the organization and to support the organization in achieving it’s goals.
The individuals who are motivated by affiliation have an urge for a friendly and supportiv e environment. Such individuals are effective performers in a team. These people want to be liked by others. T he manager’s ability to make decisions is hampered if they have a high affiliation need as they prefer to be accepted and liked by others, and this weakens their objectivity. Individuals having high affiliation needs prefer working in an environment providing greater personal interaction. Such people have a need to be on the good books of all. They generally cannot be good leaders
Types of Involvement 1. Situational involvement: This is a state of arousal directed towards attaching relevance to a person/object/situation for a short term. As an affective state, it creates a level of involvement when a person thinks about a particular person/object/situation. It is specific to a situation and is thus temporary in nature. It could vary from low to high, depending upon the situational factors. For example, a middle aged lady suddenly decides to gift a laptop to her son on his birthday. She is not techno savvy and has little interest with the product category. She goes to the electronics mall and visits the various stores that sell computers and laptops. She collects information on the product features, prices, etc and finally takes the help of her middle aged neighbor to reach a final decision. Her involvement with the purchase activity would be regarded as a situational involvement. 2. Enduring involvement: When the level of involvement towards the product/service category extends over a period of time across situations, it is referred to as enduring involvement. The person shows a high-level of interest in the product category and spends time collecting and processing information and integrating it within his memory. For example, a person desires to buy a laptop for his son to be gifted to him when he goes to college, which would be three years later. The father plans well in advance, tries to collect information through advertisements, brochures, trade journals, visits to dealers, and word of mouth from peers and colleagues. Within this period he gets involved with the product category and after three years is in a position to take a decision based on the facts that he has collected. This is referred to as enduring involvement.
Jungian Theory In 1907, Carl Jung met Sigmund Freud in Vienna. Jung had been interested in Freud’s ideas regarding the interpretation of dreams. Likewise, Freud took an interest t o Jung’s word association task that he used to understand the unconscious processes of patients. In fact, Freud invited Jung along for his now-famous appearance at the Clark conference in 1909, Freud’s first trip to America. After some argument over the validity of psychoanalysis, Jung and Freud went their separate ways, and Jung went on to develop the analytical psychology, which differentiated the personal unconscious from the collective unconscious, which reflects the shared unconscious thoughts among humans. Another notable contribution to psychology involves Jung's personality theory, which was particularly notable due to its definitions of introversion and extroversion. Jung’s Introversion and Extroversion Attitudes The first of Jung’s general psychological types was the general attitude type. An attitude, according to Jung, is a person’s predisposition to behave in a particular way. There are two opposing attitudes: introversion and extroversion. The t wo attitudes work as opposing, yet complementary forces and are often depicted as the classing yin and yang symbol. The introvert is most aware of his or her inner world. While the external world is still perceived, it is not pondered as seriously as inward movement of psychic energy. The
introverted attitude is more concerned with subjective appraisal and often gives more consideration to fantasies and dreams. The extrovert, by contrast, is characterized by the outward movement of psychic energy. This attitude places more importance on objectivity and gains more i nfluence from the surrounding environment than by inner cognitive processes. Clearly, it is not a case of one versus the other. Many people carry qualities of both attitudes, considering both subjective and objective information. Jung’s Four Functions of Personality For Carl Jung, there were four functions that, when combined with one of his two attit udes, formed the eight different personality types. The first function — feeling — is the method by which a person understands the value of conscious activity. Another function — thinking — allows a person to understand the meanings of things. This process reli es on logic and careful mental activity. The final two functions — sensation and intuition — may seem very similar, but there is an important distinction. Sensation refers to the means by which a person knows something exists and intuition is knowing about something without conscious understanding of where that knowledge comes from. The Eight Personality Types Defined by Carl Jung Jung developed a theory of eight different personality types. Jung's personality types are as follows:
Extroverted Thinking – Jung theorized that people understand the world through a mix of concrete ideas and abstract ones, but the abstract concepts are ones passed down from other people. Extroverted thinkers are often found working in the research sciences and mathematics.
Introverted Thinking – These individuals interpret stimuli in the environment through a subjective and creative way. The interpretations are informed by internal knowledge and understanding. Philosophers and theoretical scientists are often introverted thinkingoriented people.
Extroverted Feeling – These people judge the value of things based on objective fact. Comfortable in social situations, they form their opinions based on socially accepted values and majority beliefs. They are often found working in business and politics.
Introverted Feeling – These people make judgments based on subjective ideas and on internally established beliefs. Oftentimes they ignore prevailing attitudes and defy social norms of thinking. Introverted feeling people thrive in careers as art critics.
Extroverted Sensing – These people perceive the world as it really exists. Their perceptions are not colored by any pre-existing beliefs. Jobs that require objective review, like wine tasters and proofreaders, are best filled by extroverted sensing people.
Introverted Sensing – These individuals interpret the world through the lens of subjective attitudes and rarely see something for only what i t is. They make sense of the environment by giving it meaning based on i nternal reflection. Introverted sensing people often turn to various arts, including portrait painting and classical music.
Extroverted Intuitive – These people prefer to understand the meanings of things through subliminally perceived objective fact rather than incoming sensory information. They rely on hunches and often disregard what they perceive directly from their senses. Inventors that come upon their invention via a stroke of insight and some religious reformers are characterized by the extraverted intuitive type.
Introverted Intuitive – These individuals, Jung thought, are profoundly influenced by their internal motivations even though they do not completely understand them. They find meaning through unconscious, subjective ideas about the world. Introverted intuitive people comprise a significant portion of mystics, surrealistic artists, and religious fanatics.
Applying Jung’s Orientations to a Complete Personality
A person is not usually defined by only one of the eight personality types. Instead, the different functions exist in a hierarchy. One function will take have a superior effect and another will have a secondary effect. Usually, according to Jung, a person only makes significant use of two functions. The other two take inferior positions. In his 1921 work, Psychological Types, Jung compared his four functions of personality to the four points on a compass. While a person faces one direction, he or she still uses the other points as a guide. Most people keep one function as the dominant one although some people may develop two over a lifetime. It is only the person who achieves self-realization that has completely developed all four functions.