Date of Award

1991

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Marketing (Business Administration)

First Advisor

William R. Darden

Abstract

Environmental psychology has been increasingly applied to the study of consumer patronage behavior. This study adapts a model based largely on environmental psychology and tests it empirically in an attempt to explain several aspects of in-store consumer behavior. In doing so, it goes beyond previous applications of environmental psychology by considering the effect of several antecedents of consumer emotions and by considering the consequences of varying retail experiences in terms of the personal shopping value they convey to a consumer. Prior to testing the model, previous research is reviewed to develop the relationships comprising the model. Put simply, various consumer characteristics (shopping motivations and shopping process involvement) and store characteristics (affective quality and perceived store image) are hypothesized as comprising the consciousness of the consumer; this consciousness causes, to some extent, the level of consumer emotions experienced while in a retail environment (pleasure, arousal, and domination); these emotions relate to in-store consumer behavior; and finally, the model predicts consumer value (utilitarian and hedonic) resulting from a particular retail experience. A multi-equation system of structural equations representing this model is estimated using maximum likelihood. Overall, support is found for the theoretical model tested as indicated by the $\chi\sp2$ to degrees of freedom ratio, the goodness-of-fit index, the root-mean-squared residual, and other fit indices. In general, the relationships described above are supported to varying degrees. For example, individual differences in consumer characteristics appear to be more important predictors of in-store emotions than are objective differences among store characteristics. Particularly strong relationships are found between in-store emotions and behavior and the hedonic and utilitarian value obtained from a particular retail experience. Interestingly, these two types of value appear to have quite different antecedents. Potential implications for retail theory and practice are discussed. Among these implications are the ability of this model to explicitly represent both cognitive and emotional aspects of consumer behavior and a potential segmentation basis for retailers based on these results. In addition, this research is expected to lead to a number of related studies to be conducted in the future.

Pages

291

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