Consumer Behaviour Research: Jacquard Weaving in the Social Sciences

Cristina GALALAE, Alexandru VOICU

Abstract


In the context of globalization, neither the study of consumption, nor the study of consumer buying behaviour, can be explained as the mere interaction between a limited number of personal and impersonal (or external factors), but as an utterly complex and undoubtedly progressive process. Moreover, what today is often referred to as consumer behaviour research, represents the result of interweaving various and prolonged efforts coming from a wide spanning array of heterogeneous disciplines. Analysing consumers and their purchase decisions/ consumption patterns/ post-consumption attitudes etc. only from an economic or psychological perspective will lead to an over-constrained problem, for which the solution will be at the same time academically unsound, and practically infeasible. Sallying forth on the wings of this realisation, the present essay sheds some light on the significance of consumer behaviour research from a historical and multidisciplinary perspective, arguing against the isolation of the field within the narrow confines of a single discipline. The main objectives underpinning this work are the following: (1) to provide a straightforward conceptualization for consumer behaviour as a research domain; (2) to provide an extensive review of the main paradigms in the study of consumer behaviour; (3) to underline the importance of multidisciplinary approaches for a correct understanding of consumer behaviour. Even though this research represents a theoretical inquiry of previous literature, exhaustiveness is not one of its goals. Moreover, whilst they present evidence coming from previous works, the authors do not shy away from stating their own beliefs and ideas, thus imbuing the present work with an unmistakable subjective perspective.

 

Keywords: consumer behaviour research, the positivist-traditionalist paradigm, the interpretative paradigm.


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