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The interactions of consumption characteristics on social norms

Lee, R.Y., Murphy, J. and Neale, L.G. (2009) The interactions of consumption characteristics on social norms. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 26 (4). pp. 277-285.

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Using an extended theory of planned behaviour (TPB) model to test how customer loyalty intentions may relate to subjective and descriptive norms, this study further seeks to determine whether consumption characteristics – product enjoyment and importance – moderate norms-loyalty relationships.

Using a two-study approach focusing on youth, an Australian study (n=244) first augmented TPB with descriptive norm. A Singapore study (n=415) followed up with how consumption characteristics might moderate norms-loyalty relationships. With both studies, linear regressions tested the relationships among the variables.

Extending TPB with descriptive norm improved TPB's predictive ability across studies. Further, product enjoyment and importance moderated the norms-loyalty relationships differently. Subjective norm related to loyalty intentions significantly with high enjoyment, whereas descriptive norm was significant with low enjoyment. Only subjective norm was significant with low importance.

Single-item variables, self-reported questionnaires on intended rather than actual behaviour, and not controlling for cultural differences between the two samples limit generalisablity.

The significance of both norms suggests that mobile firms should reach youth through their peers. With youth social pressure may be influential, particularly with hedonic products. However, the different moderations of product enjoyment and importance imply that a blanket marketing strategy targeting youth may not work.

The study extends academic knowledge on the relationships between norms and customer loyalty, particularly with consumption characteristics as moderators. The findings highlight the importance of considering different norms with consumer behaviour. The study should help mobile firms understand how social influences impact customer loyalty.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Murdoch Business School
Publisher: Emerald
Copyright: Emerald
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