A study using this concept measures the relative influence of Belgian husbands and wives in purchase decisions for twenty-five representative products. Similar research on decision making by US husbands and wives was recently conducted for businesses selling a wide variety of products. Figure positions these decisions according to the four marital decision making categories of autonomic husband dominant, and joint. Each decision is positioned in this figure according to two axes. The vertical axis is a scale of the relative influence between husband and wife. Decisions can range along a continuum from 1 (if respondents report husband specialization) to 5 (if respondents report wife specialization). The horizontal axis is a scale of the extent of role specialization as measured by the percentage of families reporting that a decision is made jointly. Syncratic decisions, therefore, are those in which more than half he respondents reported that the decision was joint, while in the autonomic case, les than half the respondents indicated the decision was joint but there was no consensus among respondents as to whether the decisions was dominated by husband or wife. Thus, autonomic decisions, as well as husband and wife dominant decisions, represent role specialization. In reading the figure, it may be seen that the relative influence score for women’s clothing is approximately 4.5 with only 5 percent of the families deciding jointly on this item’s purchase. Thus, the wife dominates this purchase decision. Similarly, the relative influence score for vacations is approximately 3.1 with 65 percent of families deciding jointly (a syncratic role structure). Other research of US couples perceptions of marital roles in consumer decision processes also found that the Belgian results were generally supported.
These order studies have found that marital role specialization in the consumer decision making process varies significantly across product categories. Results of these studies lead to the conclusions that joint decision making is most likely to occur for purchases that represent significant economic outlays; whereas routine expenditures or items viewed as necessities will probably be delegated to one of the spouses.
Table presents data from an analysis of husband, wife, and teenage child relative purchase influence for several products and services. The study shows that each family member may have a different level of influence for each product type and at different sages in the decision process. Table adds to this idea by showing how the influence of husband, wife and teenager may differ according to specific components of the decision to buy various products.
Alternative Family Decision making role Structures:
An extension of the role structures cited above structure above is one based on the distributed processing concept that is central to network design. This view holds that family decision making can fit one of four basic structures parallel, hierarchical, ring and star. A variety of hybrid configurations could be formed by combining these basic structures.
Strategies to resolved conflict: Family purchase decisions are often characterized by conflict over differences between the parties on several factors concerning the decision. For example, family members often have different views of who should make the purchase decision, how that decision should be made (such as how much information should be gathered) and who should implement the decision. Thus, the family purchasing decision process is not always characterized by stability and easy agreement. Instead conflict is quite likely, with families engaging in bargaining, comprising and coercing in order to arrive at a joint decision. Although the term conflict is used here, it simply means that there is divergence or disagreement whether explicit or implicit, between spouses on the rationale or outcome of a decision i.e. over purchase goals, decision alternatives or the decision process itself. Of course there could be a range of conflict much little or none.