Strategy and consumer behaviour in the financial services industry : the role and significance of transaction relationships
This PhD develops a theoretical framework of consumer behaviour, drawing on existing literature in economics, psychology and consumer behaviour. That framework allows the articulation of the forms of buying behaviour used by individuals to structure their purchase decisions. Four common forms of buying behaviour are identified and the thesis focuses on two; rational/ discrete and relational/ dependent. A theorised linkage is established between the forms of consumer behaviour and financial instruments, through an examination of the characteristics of financial instruments. Those linkages are tested empirically using qualitative and quantitative techniques, the results of which are then tested using bivariate, statistical significance test and multivariate analysis. From these results the theorised linkages developed in the thesis are then accepted or rejected. The outcome of empirical research and testing is a deeper understanding of consumer behaviour and the development of ideal-types to describe patterns of consumer behaviour. It also results in the development of a dynamic model of consumer behaviour which synthesises the empirical results and the creation of a contingency view of strategy. This view of strategy integrates the organisational challenges facing firms with the understanding of consumer buying behaviour developed in the dissertation. It argues that the strategic and organisational challenges facing financial services firms are contingent on the form of buying behaviour adopted by individual consumers.