Consumer Behaviour Research

Recent and current research projects we are working on include:

Brand Dislike (Professor Margaret Hogg) In order to increase understanding of the relationships between consumers and their brands, the ‘Brand Dislike’ study examines negative aspects and feelings about brands and their images. We are currently undertaking a cross-cultural validation of the Brand Dislike Scale developed by leading Italian academics based in the University of Pisa, headed by Dr Simona Romani and Prof Daniele Dalli.

New Mothers Project (Professor Margaret Hogg) The specific focus of this project is on the identity projects of new mothers. Using qualitative methods we seek to explore women’s consumption experiences and choices during pregnancy, birth and in the early months of motherhood, focusing on the means by which women negotiate this transition and deal with the expectations and realities of motherhood.

The relationship between mixed emotions and approach and avoidance conflicts in consumer behaviour (Professor Margaret Hogg) This research aims to identify the inter-relationships between mixed emotions and firstly, the key features of products and services; secondly, the influential characteristics of the retail situations; and thirdly, the personal disposition (e.g. attitudes to risk) of consumers.

Disadvantaged young people's transition to adulthood (Professor Maria Piacentini and Professor Margaret Hogg) We are investigating young disadvantaged consumers' experiences in the market place in obtaining essential products and services such as accommodation, utilities and foodstuffs (i.e. Maslow's basic needs). This research will help us to identify those aspects of young people’s consumption lives that result in experiences of powerlessness or lack of control within their social environments. The research will inform policy making about how to ease young adults' transition into independent living.

Young people and alcohol consumption (Professor Maria Piacentini; Dr Hayley Cocker) This research stream covers a number of projects within the department. We have undertaken studies of young people's alcohol consumption, and explored issues around identity, class and social standing as expressed through their alcohol positions. Working with Dr Emma Banister at Manchester University, we have explored a range of issues around: excessive alcohol consumption; anti- and non-consumption of alcohol; and the role of alcohol for young people (16-18 year olds).

Transformative Consumer Research (TCR) (Dr James Cronin, Professor Maria Piacentini; Dr Hayley Cocker, Dr Gillian Hopkinson) We are actively involved in scholarship that falls under the umbrella of the Transformative Consumer Research (TCR) program. The TCR group takes a responsible and critical perspective of marketing management operations and functions under recognition that consumerism and the contemporary world of consumption has impact on structuring and influencing consumer-citizens’ spectrum of conceivable actions, choices and life conditions. There are multiple ongoing projects within this group that concern analysis of the consumption-related problems society experiences and the mechanisms for alleviating personal and collective hardship. Areas of specialism include but are not limited to consumer vulnerability, poverty, health citizenship, diet and health research, alcohol use and market responsibilization.

Ethical consumption (Dr Sheila Malone) The role emotion plays in consumers' ethical decision-making processes and consumption practices in an experiential context.

Sacred consumption (Dr Leighanne Higgins) This research area investigates the unique and complex relationship existing between the economic marketplace and religion, spirituality and sacredness, unpicking the role played by both sacred and economic influences on consumer behaviour and decision-making.

Consumers in online environment and virtual worlds (Dr Laura Salciuviene) This research aims to develop our understanding of the role of social media and virtual worlds in today’s consumer lives.

Brand Psychodynamics (Dr Jim Freund) This research uses psychodynamic theory to explore the official ‘persona’ of an organization vs images of it created by critics – i.e. the corporate ego and the corporate unconscious respectively. It is used to understand how stakeholders relate to interconnected macro-processes - especially financialization, climate change, oil depletion, and Gaia. 

Consumer’s credit card misuse and indebtedness (Dr Sandra Awanis) This research project’s objectives are threefold: 1) to examine the psychological attributes of those who are most susceptible to credit card abuse and its potentially adverse consequences, 2) to develop and validate a measure to capture consumer susceptibility to credit card misuse and indebtedness (SCCMI), and 3) to examine the effects of various consumer- and market-related factors on SCCMI. The study offers pointers for public policy on how to improve credit card regulations, and for marketers to identify and enhance the financial well-being of vulnerable credit card users.

The consumers’ diverse expectations and purchase intentions (Dr Sandra Awanis) This research project critically expands the generally accepted notion that consumers formulate stable purchase expectation and intention to achieve a single, known purchase goal. Using a cross-disciplinary perspective, the research project (conceptually and empirically) examines the consumers’ diverse expectations and intentions to achieve multiple consumption goals.

Self-regulation and temptation in an online environment (Dr Anto Daryanto) This research aims to examine how people regulate their thoughts, emotions and behaviours in the presence of temptations when undertaking a goal-directed activity in an online environment (e.g., when surfing on internet).

Consumer ethnocentrism in the global settings (Dr Anto Daryanto) This research aims to understand the role of consumer ethnocentrism in the global context. A key question in this research is how consumer ethnocentrisms affect consumer preferences toward domestic vs. global foreign products?

Cosmetics consumption and the self-in-relation (Dr Chih-Ling Liu and Professor Margaret Hogg) Using an existential phenomenologcial approach, the main aim of this project is to explore and understand the phenomenon of women’s negotiation of the self-in-relation as expressed through their experiences of cosmetics consumption. This study proposes a new way of understanding the underpinnings and the experience of the development of the self-in-relation, as distinct from, but related to, the different selves that may result. It will thereby contribute to theories on the relationship between consumption and the self (e.g. identity projects in CCT).

The mother-daughter relationship (Dr Chih-Ling Liu and Professor Margaret Hogg) Using an existential phenomenologcial approach, the main aim of this project is to explore and understand how the dynamics that are at work in a mother-daughter relationship impact fundamentally on the interplay of their positive and negative concepts of the self, and the resultant consumption strategies. This project again will contribute to theory-building around the self and consumption, but within a family context and offers a potentially interesting methodological contribution by capturing the on-going dialogues between mothers and daughters around their consumption choices within the specific empirical context of cosmetics.

New fathers project (Dr Ben Kerrane) This project explores the transition to first-time fatherhood, and seeks to understand the role consumption plays in helping men to become fathers for the first time. Using qualitative interviews both before and after participants became fathers for the first time, the expectations (of being an equal co-parent, through adopting a hands-on fatherhood role) and the realities of fatherhood were captured. Men turned to high-technology items (e.g. baby surveillance equipment) to help manage their role transition, and also positioned such consumption items as a means to justify their fallback in to the more traditional breadwinning discourse of fatherhood after the birth of their child.

Fatherhood and shared parental leave (Dr Ben Kerrane) This BA Leverhulme funded research project focuses on fathers who have chosen to utilise shared parental leave (SPL) policy (introduced in the UK from April 2015). SPL is designed to enable new fathers to take a more prominent role in caregiving for their newborn children, with eligible new fathers having the potential to equally share up to a one year period of leave with their partner. This is an ongoing research project, using qualitative research methods.

Children and surveillance (Dr Ben Kerrane) This netnographic research project investigates how, and why, parents turn to consumption objects (e.g. GPS enabled watches, jewelry and shoes) to constantly track and monitor the whereabouts of their children. Neutralisation and affordance theories are used to better understand why parents engage in such behaviour.