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Title: The influence of informal social networks on the choice of consumer durables
Author: Hamilton, R. A.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3528 5307
Awarding Body: Manchester Business School
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 1976
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The research reported in this thesis applies the Theory of Reference Groups to the activity of purchasing a consumer durable. The interpretation and development of Reference Group Theory by T. Shibutani and E. Bott, is adopted, and the example of a consumer durable that is used is a washing machine. Reference Group Theory has many interpretations and has been used in different ways in research. Some of the more outstanding interpretations and uses are analysed an d compared in order to counter the criticisms that are made of this theory as a whole, to present an explanation of the interpretations used here and to justify its use to study the phenomenon of purchasing a consumer durable. This interpretation puts a strong emphasis on the need to maintain a somewhat precarious theoretical position between social determinism on the one hand and psychological determinism on the other. Several traditions of research and specific research studies in the field of buyer behaviour are discussed and a critique made of the ways in which they maintain or fail to maintain, this balanced, though elusive, theoretical position. In a number of ways the traditions can be seen to support each other's results, and when one tradition has taken up too deterministic a position, social or psychological, it can be counterbalanced by another tradition, which has taken up a similar deterministic,but opposite, position. Four, empirically testable propositions deduced for the premises of the Theory of Reference Groups are formally tested by the data collected from recent purchasers of washing machines living in the Manchester conurbation. Three of the propositions are supported by the data, and part of the fourth. In general, the patterns in the data offer a remarkable support for the theoretical perspectives used in the research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available