The Role of Anthropology in Understanding Consumer Bheaviour: A New Paradigm

The Role of Anthropology in Understanding Consumer-A New Paradigm

Abstraction:This paper is about an anthropological attack to understand consumer behaviour. Assorted attacks to consumer surveies have been developed. Although non wholly new, the anthropological attack is suggested to be adopted to assist sellers understanding consumer behaviours. Anthropology and consumer surveies are two related academic Fieldss in footings of theoretical and methodological traditions. Adopting the anthropological attack through practitioner-oriented undertakings could be fruitful although more betterments are needed.

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Cardinal Wordss:Anthropology, Consumer Behavior, Culture, Food Service, Marketing Education


Understanding the consumer’s behaviour is really critical in doing selling scheme. To understand the consumer behaviour a seller usage assorted attack like psychological attack, sociological attack, economical attack, and selling research attack. ( Tian, 2005 ) . It is evidently that different attack portion different focal point, psychological attack stress the psychological function in purchasing behaviour, from needs designation to post purchase rating, ( Samuel, 2012 ) , Sociological attack enhances a concern person’s ability to pull off dealingss with consumers, rivals ( Crossman ) and marketing research attack stresses the linkages between the survey of consumer behaviour and the pattern of marketing research ( Finch, 1997 ) , There is no black and white expression to find the best attack in understanding consumer behaviour. The sellers will take an attack or a combination of attacks harmonizing to his/her experience, cognition, and penchant etc to understand the consumer behaviour. Many sellers are now following anthropological attack for the best result.

Anthropological attack is beyond the combination of anthropology and consumers behavior. It focuses on the influences of civilization and society on the single consumer’s behaviour ; it besides emphasizes the participated observation and academic analysis of consumer behaviour through both direction and consumer positions ( Sherry, 1995 ) . Anthropological attack, in analyzing consumer behaviour, if study in a proper manner, it is really effectual to understand consumer behaviour as it focuses on the focal point group in purchasing theoretical account.

This paper probes the relationship between anthropology and the survey of consumer behaviour. It besides identifies that why this attack is adopted and developed as a pedagogical method.

Consumer behaviour and Anthropology

The intent of consumer selling is to assist sellers to place the buying determination. Consumer behaviour is the survey of analyzing persons, groups, or organisations and the procedures they use to choose, secure, and dispose of merchandises, services, experiences, or thoughts to fulfill demands and the impacts that these procedures have on the consumer and society. It attempts the determination doing procedure of purchasing form ( Consumer Behavior ) . In existent concern universe, by understanding consumer selling a seller can able to do better schemes and addition higher net income. Today’s consumer behaviour research has been traditionally conducted in psychologically and socially attack, anthropological attack employs more subjective and qualitative methods. In some extents quantitative research can non truly understand consumer’s behaviour, whereas descriptive anthropology can supply uncovering penetrations ( Abrams, 2000 ) . Research, anthropologically-inspired, have become progressively outstanding within consumer research. Schiffman and Kanuk, for case, fundamentally use a psychological attack to the consumer surveies, they besides presented the text in other attacks, particularly in the treatment of consumers in their societal and cultural scenes. Thompson and Hirschman ( 1995 ) besides applied authoritative anthropology theories to analyze the consumers’ self-conception of organic structure images. They besides identified the patterns in the modern urban society to assist sellers to place the relation between consumer’s socialized organic structure and purchase behaviour.

For anthropologist cultural constituents are either random or haphazard, but they are consistent and logical that helps persons map successfully within their physical and societal environment. Gannon and Associates ( 1995 ) indentified that between 25 per centum and 50 per centum of behaviour is culturally determined. So it is of import to look at the cultural fluctuation to understand the fluctuation of buying forms.

Harmonizing to Marsha Richins consumer research should be based on sociological attack. Furthermore he besides said that ingestion is much related to economic factor and personal wellness so pressing societal job is related to consumer behaviour ( Richins, 2000 ) . Although consumer behaviour is treated as societal scientific discipline, it is non ever treated as much. It besides focuses on psychological behaviour of the consumers and besides societal context. So consumer research is a multi dimensional attack uniting with psychological, societal and anthropological attacks.

Anthropology particularly ethnographic method now becomes a popular beginning to look into selling and consumer behaviour ( Olsen, 1995 ) . Now-a-day’s more and more anthropologists have involved themselves in consumer research that helps in presenting new merchandises. ( Tian, 2005 ) . They conduct experimental research, despatching anthropologists to use their ethnographic accomplishments by questioning, watching, and videotaping consumers in their natural home ground. Many high tech corporations like Apple, Xerox, and Motorola have bought anthropologist into crease. The end of naming them use what the anthropologists learn to new merchandise constructs by understanding the client ( Hafner, 1999 ) .

The anthropological attack is effectual in consumer surveies because anthropologists and anthropological methods offer an alternate position. In an advertizement, concentrate group expression at the demographics of a part to outdo select a specific advertisement run, an anthropologist would analyze how people react to the advertizement. An anthropologist might detect that sometimes people go to the bathroom or kitchen during commercials while others mute them together. Because people may be executing multiple undertakings, the lone manner to cognize what they are making is through observation, one of the cardinal accomplishments that anthropologists use in their field surveies.

Anthropological oriented consumer behaviour

The current gait of globalisation, engineering invention, monolithic competition, purchasers power etc force sellers to rethink about their schemes of understanding their consumers. Today’s concern is non confined with lone demands indentifying instead than besides traffics with political and cultural frontier. Both human and material constituents are international and multi cultural. Both single and organisational civilization reflects one’s activity. So ignorance of civilization difference turns to be bad concern. There are myriad of illustrations in which large organisation fails because of hold oning different civilization. ( Ricks, 1983 ) . The legal, financer, administrative civilization can be easy grasped due to tangibleness ( codified ) and translatability. There is still opportunity of being misconstruing and mistake but it is comparatively low. But in societal system and cultural environment the opportunities of misinterpretation and mistake is quit high because of its intangibleness. In international consumer behavior the appreciation of cultural environment is really indispensable ( Kahal, 1994 ) . Because it constituent the lasting background of other development: legal, administrative and political. The new selling believing accent in the cultural consciousness and intercultural accomplishment. Anthropology can be utile in two ways in this issue. First, anthropology can direct assist the sellers in international and intercultural traffics. Second, it can lend significantly in concern surveies and developing plan for sellers.

The elderly consumers, who need more service, are increasing quickly. These demographic facts have wider, societal and cultural branching. The new tactics need to be adopted to function these aging consumers. For supplying better service quality to aging consumers have decently and independently posses a new challenge and chance for technological invention. The gerontechnology [ 1 ] is the new thought in engineering and industry. It concern of hunt for simple, human and sustainable solution for the aging consumers. In order to hold a consistent image of the world of aging all the demographic, institutional and cultural factors ( i.e. critical statistics, household, affinity, faith, caring bureaus, societal aid, protective mechanisms of the community, etc. ) must be carefully examined. Such applied surveies are good for planning, production design, selling and commercialism.

Anthropological attack used in understanding consumer behaviour is hence widely accepted. Three models can be designed in planing international consumer research. First, cultural consciousness theoretical account: thought of paradigmatic orthodoxy acquiring in the manner of encompassing new positions ( Morgan, 1980 ) . Second, cardinal forming rule ( KOPs ) and 3rd, a function theoretical account designed to let sellers to chart their ain cultural place and the place judged to be that of consumers on a set of cultural dimensions deemed to be cardinal to the research context ( Whiteley, 2001 ) . The disciplinary background of sellers important to understanding their attitudes to both teaching method and epistemology as it fits good into the good established concern teaching method ( Pharr, 1997 ) .

To use the anthropological attack in consumer behaviour, it is really of import to give preparation on anthropological methodological analysiss. The primary technique of anthropologist to analyze civilization is to detect consumer which involves life among a group of people, detecting and entering their behaviour, and take parting in their day-to-day lives every bit much as possible. This is termed as descriptive anthropology. While detecting, anthropologists try to follow an outside-in attack to bring out “native” images for events and behaviour by perceiver. These native image images are recorded individually from the researcher’s images ; observations and readings.

Anthropologists use a assortment of data-gathering techniques in the field. These have been mostly qualitative, and include structured and unstructured interA­views ; conjectural state of affairss ; the analysis of critical events, societal webs, myth and folklore, life histories ; and historical Reconstruction. In pattern, anthropologists employ qualitative techniques besides along with quantitative attacks ; study, for case. Even when quantitative and qualitative techniques are combined ; in-depth participant-observation is the fastness of valid anthropological research.

Method and issues in understanding consumers

Harmonizing to Gronzalez ( 1995 ) anthropologist help a broad assortment of concern job. Companies holding workers of different backgrounds in term of instruction, race, cultural and so on, face troubles in making a consistent organisational civilization ( Schwartz. P.J.H, 1991 ) . In these fortunes anthropologists’ frequently help to intercede and open communicating between groups of workers.

Anthropological selling analyzes selling and consumer behaviour through detecting them in difference into merchandise and service, ingestion form, societal section, civilization and subculture ( Sherry J. F. , 1995 ) . It focuses on the influence of the wide cultural form and tendency on the prioritization of merchandise and service, trade name trueness etc. It maintains the societal functions, image and self perceptual experience through the symbolic significance associate with the merchandise and service. Thus this attack helps in developing new merchandise.

Pull offing relationship and negotiating between establishment and organisation affecting different civilization and cultural is really of import. Anthropological attack dramas function in developing advertisement stuff, planning and rating corporate image and placement.

Anthropological attack in specifying organisational civilization is another facet. In involves workplace ethnographic analysis, pull offing diverseness and alteration, analyze the interaction between clime, civilization, work form and affectional micro system. It besides analyze and measure the hazard tried to alter around the universe, observation of new moral and cultural paradigm, designation of new concern skyline.

An associatory acquisition model can be used to explicate human physiological response to colour. Research workers have suggested that colour associations may hold been formulated early in human history when adult male associated dark blue with dark, and hence, passiveness and bright yellow with sunshine and rousing

In instance of taking more than one colourss foremost the interior decorator have to take a primary colour which is used largely throughout the bundle, than a secondary service in general to endorse up the primary colour in all cases and at last a highlighting colour is used to stress the cardinal points of the bundle.

There are no generalised cannon sing the use of colour. A figure of sellers are frequently capable of making varied ambiance with colour. The impression that colour penchants are formulated through associations is a potentially of import determination for marketing practicians interested in finding colourss for merchandises. Rather than analyze general colour penchants among consumers, it may be preferred to larn consumers’ colour associations as a footing for understanding the emotional facets of colour.

Here below the basic colourss and they normally are associated with will be presented.








Cheerful, disobedient, exciting and powerful. Is besides associated with heat, choler, passion, war, and blood.

Morarity, 1991

It besides associated with ruddy are expensive, premium, high quality, good tasting

Grimes & A ; Doole, 1998



Frequently considered a happy colour. It means peace, composure, trueness, security, and tenderness. Is besides associated with cold, ice, distance, and eternity every bit good as unagitated contemplation

Morarity, 1991

It besides perceived heavy, dependable, high quality and expensive.

Grimes & A ; Doole, 1998



Associated with the sunshine and openness every bit good as glow and color. Because of its brightness, it is extremely attending acquiring.

Morarity, 1991

High quality, expensive, dependable, light and good tasting are other features associated with yellow

Yellow is besides associated with luxury, edification and to some extent safety, but besides life, felicity, tenderness and heat

Grimes & A ; Doole, 1998



Blue associated with repose and composure every bit good as nature and used symbolically to propose hope, speculation, and repose.

Morarity, 1991

Is besides perceived cheap, light, dependable and good tasting.

Grimes & A ; Doole, 1998

Old, traditional, trusty, life, tenderness, wellness, and happy, environment, natural, pure and fresh are besides associate with green



White is used visually to show entire silence

Morarity, 1991

It besides conveys emptiness, eternity, and the inexplicable.



Silver associate with cool, modern, proficient, smooth

The originative Neard



Pink by and large associate with romantic, soft, feminine, guiltless, sweet, stamp

The originative Neard



Black is associated with expensive, high quality, high-tech and premium merchandises

Grimes & A ; Doole, 1998

Used to propose hatred and decease, but can besides be used to show power and elegance, particularly if it is glistening.

Morarity, 1991



Orange associate with friendly, warm, cheerful. Energy, originative, excitement etc

The originative Neard


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