Effect of Gender on Family Buying Decision

Effect of Gender on Family Buying Decision


Gender is an impactful driver of buying behaviour, in the context of decision-making.  In a broader sense, both the Genders consistently demonstrate behaviour differing from each other by adopting established criteria which are in line with their gender-based roles specifically in purchase decisions in the family. Systematic Literature review was done. The important and relevant features that are found in scholarly literature are analysed and potential gaps for further research are identified. Global Research has showed that Purchase decision-taking is a fundamental element of all human relationships, particularly family decision-making. The power in the family is established as the capacity to make decisions in the family, considered by family sociologists as an important indicator to understand the function of the family as a unit of the community.

Keywords: Gender, Family, Buying, decisions

1.0 Introduction:

Gender is an impactful driver of buying behaviour, in the context of decision-making. The theory of Social identity propounds that who are we (and who we think we are) are critical part of psychology of humans (Tajfel & Turner, 1986). Social identities or Social groups are the benchmark for people to put forward their personality. Expectations of the Society on the Gender based Roles are imbibing the Gender of the person. Over and above this preferences and choices reveal the real self and deciding is controlled by these guidelines for each of the gender (Akerlof & Kranton, 2010; Oyserman, 2009). The Gender Identities such as Male and Female Genders are the guidelines for critical decisions such as career pursuits or purchase decisions (Cejka & Eagly, 1999; Heilman, 2001; Marlow & Carter, 2004).

2.0 Theoretical Background:

As per existing Research, scholars have made note of Gender based grouping  in labour arena, like shortfall of male paramedical staffs (as it is a gender based work that is based on norms of  Women identity in Health care patient attending practices ) and Lady attorneys (as it is  a gender based  work requiring a dominating  behavior usually exhibited by Men (Akerlof & Kranton, 2010), is at least to some extent  partly  resulting out of Gender based identity in line with prescriptive guidelines based  gender roles in decision-making. As per the theory of Role Congruity behavior of persons are impacted as per the prescriptions of  gender based  roles and that incompatibility among a person’s  role  based on gender vis a vis  the behavioural situation leads to not so positive  results (Eagly, 1987; Eagly & Karau, 2002; Eagly &Wood, 2012), compelling compliance of such established guidelines . People do not practice behaviour not in line with their Gender based roles and the prescriptive behaviour for their respective Genders are decided by themselves depending on the Identities in the Society. Socially expected role-based behaviour influence and guide the behaviour of both the Genders frequently in opposite manner. The theory of  Role congruity tries to explain the rationale of lack of women in top management roles as a outcome of the Gender based  differences in firms (Men are perceived to be exhibiting aggressive behaviour as leaders) and lack of interest in  women to demonstrate aggressive behaviour and willing to take such leadership positions  ( To exhibit aggressive behaviour and being  competitive  are seen as characteristics of men) (Croson & Gneezy, 2009; Niederle & Vesterlund, 2008; Eagly & Karau, 2002).As per this  theory, Men and Women are just following the Social expectation from them to exhibit  gender based behavior, although they by themselves do not differ in behaviour based on Gender . When these roles are interchanged as in matriarchal societies, and women are expected to display affirmative behaviour, the probability that women to be competitive is quite high compared to men  (Gneezy et al., 2009).Decisions including family purchase decisions are impacted by gender based prescriptive norms which in turn are outcomes of   the behaviour exhibited by  men and women .

Situational influences are pronounced in exhibiting socially acceptable behavior as outlined in a broader sense that Gender based roles guide the behaviour of both men and women as per social identity theory and role congruity theory. Normative behaviour is exhibited when a specific characteristic of a social identity or gender-based role is saliently evident (situation is dictating the particular feature) (Carr & Steele, 2010). Women and Girls are tending to fall in line with a feminine identity as per their gender role, girls’ and women’s interest level and performance level can be discouraged by denoting a particular domain to be incongruent with their Gender based role. (Nguyen and Ryan, 2008). Situational factors Influencing, norms the identity under threat is safeguarded by increase in Gender based behavior (Steele, 1997). In Situations wherein particularly masculine traits are expected, women tend to exhibit behaviour in highly feminine manner. Women may not engage in competition where there are a greater number of competitors as competing is viewed as exhibiting masculine behaviour (Hanek et al., 2016). Comparatively in situations of highly feminine in nature, women are expected to display highly masculine based behavior and exhibit decision-making in purchase related domains. This is seen in   highly feminine  situations such as talking about feminine topics and talking for others, where a competitive or masculine behaviour is exhibited by women.(Amanatullah &, 2010; Bear &Babcock, 2012). The behaviour exhibited by both men and women, quite often differ from each other in complying with prescribed norms which are in line with their gender-based roles specifically in gender-based situations.



Systematic Literature review was done. The research works considered were based on Primary data for those researchers.  The important and relevant features that are found in scholarly literature are analysed and potential gaps for further research are identified (Gasparyan et al. 2011; Onwuegbuzie & Frels 2016). Peer- reviewed academic journals were identified by searching consumer science, behavioural and social science, management, marketing, and educational databases, namely EBSCOhost, Emerald Insight Journals, Google Scholar and Web of Science. Since grey literature can be a critical source of information, we also used search terms in a Google search (Onwuegbuzie & Frels 2016; Snyder 2019). Where necessary, in order to contextualise the issues, reference was made to textbooks and other background material which necessitated the inclusion of some older material.


3.0 Literature review:

3.1 Gender:

Gender as a role is deep rooted in the society and groomed over the life time and differs from sex of the person, which is based on biological features e (Bem, 1993; Eagly, 1987; Fine, 2017; Heilman, 1983). Social Practices and procedure build within men and women, the expected prescriptive norms as per the Gender based roles to avoid proactively rebuke as an undesirable result from others in the society, for not exhibiting expected behavior (Bijedic et al., 2016; Amanatullah & Morris, 2010; Eagly & Karau, 2002; Heilman et al., 2004; Rudman & Glick, 2001). Difference in behaviour is attributed to the guidelines being practiced which are in line with gender-based roles rather than the naturally occurring difference in behaviour. The norms developed and advocated by the society for gender-based roles as congruent with the expected behaviour for both men and women (Heilman, 2001; Heilman et al., 2004; Schein, 2001). The expectations from women as players of the female role ie femininity, encompasses fundamentally feminine based behavior while the expectations from men who play the male role ie masculinity, encompasses agency and competitive behavior (Bem, 1974; Eagly, 1987; Twenge, 1997; Watson & Newby, 2005).



3.2 Consumer buying decision:

In the perspective of purchase decision taking, Consumers go through the phase of addressing the problems they face and try to resolve those issues or problems. So, purchasing is seen as a problem resolving activity where buyers’ problems are redressed. (Mowen, 1988).  Reactance, variety seeking, impulse buying behaviour are the various situations undergone by the customers as put forward by researchers. Reactance occurs when the freedom to exhibit purchase behaviour is seen as under threat and the consumers are motivated to purchase to overcome such threats. Before walking into a retail outlet without much deliberations as to buying and forming of buying intentions, an impulse purchase is made. Even though, consumers are happy with the already purchased brand of goods, a new brand of that good is given a try in Variety seeking behaviour (Mowen, 1988). The purchase decision as a family is influenced by a large number of factors both external and internal with technology as seen in E commerce and Mobile based buying is an important parameter especially for the younger generation.

3.2.1 Cognitive influences:

The thought-based ways of the purchase intention and means to attain that objective is the Cognitive set of influences in the purchase decisions (Pervin, 1982). Product quality assessments are made by establishing relationships between the cognitive representation of the product with the requirements and this relation being positive (Compeau, Grewal & Monroe 1998). Impact of a range of cultural, economic, time, personality, time and location factors result in impulse buying (Stern, 1962). Situational issues have a significant influence over and above the different Gender of shoppers willing to buy. Consumer purchase decisions are impacted by the role packaging is playing in the marketing of products (Ares & Deliza, 2010).

3.2.3 Emotional influences:

The Social and material surroundings of the Consumers and the manner in which the various feelings of these consumers relate to the environment is collectively termed as emotions (Achar, C., So, J., Agrawal, N., & Duhachek, A. 2016). Incidental and Integral emotions are the two evident groupings as mentioned in research reports. Integral emotions are those which consumers undergo as a result of the marketing efforts undertaken by organisations  so that consumers are having a bent of mind to start a purchase decision , while on the other hand Incidental emotions are those which the consumers under go and do not start the purchase decision based on them  but they are impacted by them on a regular basis. The Mood of individuals does not affect the Cognitive processes but is influencing the Gender based purchase behaviour (Clark, 1982; Clark & Isen, 1982). Although the emotional influences are marred by some limitations, the existence and the role played by emotions is pronounce in purchase decisions. Attractive sales promotions basically influence the youth as consumers as their mood may be impacted by them .


3.3.4 Situational influences:

Situation as defined and propagated by researchers is conceptualised by some features as they are understood in general (Belk, 1975). The geographical and organisational location, decoration of interiors, acoustics, smell, luminosity, climatic conditions, merchandising and other cues around the product are the sum total of elements leading to situational influences. Evidently the extra dimensions to put forward the situation is provided by the social environment. The illustrations pertaining to this will be characteristics, visible roles and interaction between persons. Season of the year getting a specific dimension of the object form the time of the day is the feature of situation, known as Temporal background. The value of a future based cost or event can be calculated in terms of Time. Past or future events can be significant to the situational influence for the Time-based analysis. The Constraints of Time as earmarked by the current commitments as time gap between purchases or frequency of purchases etc are better understood by this way of reasoning. Even though many research studies have pointed out that ambience in the store and its components influence purchase decisions of consumers based on Gender, the sum total of all elements influence the consumers in-store moods based on Gender of the Consumer and purchase behaviour, needs further research.

3.2.5 The moderating effect of gender:

Marketing researchers have been in the process of understanding the influence of gender upon Family’s purchase decision-taking for a long time now. (Hernández, Jiménez & José Martín, 2011).The difference in Gender based roles in Family’s purchase decision , has three components; (1) Aggressive role play by Men (2)New situations are frustrating  women and (3) Situational parameters influence women more (Sun & Zhang, 2006). Men tend to focus on their own needs while women are a bit more understanding to the others needs and requirements (Meyers&Levy, 1988).The Product categories like Consumer electronic durables ,apparel and books have witnessed more particular differences in purchase based on the Gender roles, as far as affective and cognitive components of the purchase decision are concerned. (Coley &Burgess, 2003). The individual requirements of the purchase process are augmenting the gender-based differences in the Family purchase decision (Deaux, 1984; Chen, 1985; Venkatesh et al., 2000). Based on Gender the participants in the family purchase decision, there may be differences purchase behaviours (Mitchell & Walsh, 2004; Palan, 2001). Gender affecting the Family purchase decisions have been noted in different consumer behaviour processes, which include family purchase behaviour as well (Pahl, 1990), intentions on family shopping (Jansen & Verbeke, 1987), seeking information for purchase (Cleveland et al., 2003) and shopping prescriptions adopted (Dholakia & Chiang, 2003). Thus, gender can considerably affect and effect the Family’s purchase decision, male and female members of the family play significantly critical roles in Family’s purchase decision.

4.0 Conclusion:

Global Research has showed that Purchase decision-taking is a fundamental element of all human relationships, particularly family decision-making. The power in the family is established as the capacity to make decisions in the family, considered by family sociologists as an important indicator to understand the function of the family as a unit of the community (Phuong, 2017). Evaluation of the rights of women and men to take purchase decisions on health care for family members, purchase decisions of household appliances, medicine for the sick are detailed in various different research studies (e.g. Stan Becker, 2006). Jan and Akhtar (2008) indicated that there is a specific difference between married and unmarried women in terms of decision-making. Anderson et al. (2017) found out that the views of husband and wife influencing the decisions regarding purchases in agriculture in rural households. Oláh et al. (2018) points to the new gender-based roles and their impact for families and society, evaluating the changes in gender relations between women and men in purchase decisions. The Theoretical and practical implications can be the Effect of Gender on Family purchase decisions, have relevance not only for researchers but also for the Organisations marketing products and services for such consumers.

The limitations can be product category based or geography-based study was not done. This can be overcome by future research studies taking lea from this study.

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