CH 13 Exam 5 Social Class Social class hierarchy- the grouping of members of society according to status high to low Overprivileged-families with an income higher than the average in their social class Class average-families with an average income in a particular class Underprivileged-families below the average income in their class Trickle-down effect-trends that start in the upper classes and then are copied by lower classes Status float-trends that start in the lower and middle classes and move upward (blue jeans, tattoos) Inherited status-status that derives from parents at birth Earned status-status acquired later in life through achievements Computerized Status Index (CSI)-a modern index used to determine social class through education, occupation, residence and income Status crystallization-when consumers are consistent across indicators of social class income, education, occupation, etc. How social class changes over time Upward mobility-raising one’s status level (usually by educational or occupational achievement) Downward mobility-moving to a lower class (jobs moving overseas, lowered wages or were laid off Status panic-the inability of children to reach their parents’ level of social status Social class fragmentation-the disappearance of class distinctions Upward and downward mobility Availability of mass media (incorporate different cultures into your own) Advances in communication technology How does social class affect consumption? Conspicuous consumption and status symbols Conspicuous consumption-the acquisition and display of goods and services to show off one’s status Terror management theory- materialism helps relieve consumers’ anxiety over the evitability of death Conspicuous waste- visibly buying products and services that one never uses Status symbols-products or services that tell others about someone’s social class standing Parody display-status symbols that start in the lower social class and move upward Fraudulent symbols-symbols that become so widely adopted that they lose their status Compensatory consumption-the consumer behavior of buying products or services to offset frustrations or difficulties in life Meaning of money Money-medium or exchange or a standard of payment Consumption patters of specific social classes Upper class-the aristocracy, new social elite, and upper middle class More likely to research their purchases and to use product characteristics, not price as an indicator of quality Middle class- primarily white-collar workers Working class-primarily blue-collar workers Depend heavily on family members for economic and social support in many areas including job opportunities and advice for key purchases and help during difficult times More likely to spend than save Judge product quality on the price Have less product info when purchasing Homeless-people at the low end of the status hierarchy Scavenging-finding used or partially used goods that others have discarded How the household influences consumer behavior Family-defined as a group of individuals living together who are related by marriage, blood, or adoption Nuclear family-father, mother and children Extended family-the nuclear plus relatives such as grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins Household-a single person living alone or a group of individuals who live together in a common dwelling, regardless of whether they are related Family life cycle-different stages of family life, depending on the age of parents and how many children are living at home Five factors are altering the basic structure and characteristics of households Delayed marriage Cohabitation-unmarried people/couples living together Dual careers Those in which the woman seeks career advancement and personal fulfillment Those in which the woman works out of financial necessity and considers her employment “just a job” Role overload-less time for cooking, housekeeping, shopping Divorce 4 in 10 marriages will end in divorce Disposing of old possessions, forming a new household, and creating new patterns of consumption Smaller families Boomers and Xer couples are having fewer children because of dual careers, financial burdens and concern for overpopulation Childless married couples have the most discretionary income Roles that household members play Household decision roles-roles that different members play in a household decision Gatekeeper-collect and control info Influencer-try to express their opinions Decider-actually determine which product will be chosen Buyer-physically acquires the product User-consume the product Instrumental roles-roles that relate to tasks affecting the buying decision Expressive roles-roles that involve an indication of family norms Conflict can often occur in fulfilling different household roles based on: The reasons for buying Who should make the decision Which option to choose Who gets to use the product or service The roles of spouses: Husband dominant decision-decision made primarily by the male head of household Wife dominant decision-decision made primarily by the female head of household Autonomic decision-decision equally likely to be made by the husband or the wife, but not both Syncratic decision-decision made jointly by the husband and wife Bargaining-a fair exchange of preferences Concession-giving in some points to get what one wants in other areas The roles of children The type of household determines the nature of the children’s influence: Authoritarian households stress obedience Neglectful households exert little control Democratic households encourage self expression Permissive households remove constraints Summary Individuals in a society can be grouped into status levels (upper, middle, and lower), making up a social class hierarchy. Class distinctions are significant because members of a particular class share common life experiences and therefore also share values and consumer behavior patterns, although many variations occur within groups. Individuals are most likely to be influenced by members of their own class because they regularly interact with them. Still, influence can cross class lines through the trickle- down effect (when lower classes copy upper- class values and behavior) or the status float effect (when trends start in the lower classes and spread upward). A variety of factors determine social class, the most critical of which are occupation and education. Re-searchers use a battery of items, such as the Computer-sized Status Index, to measure social class. Three major trends producing an evolution in social class structure are upward mobility, downward mobility, and social class fragmentation. Social class influences consumer behavior in three major ways: (1) through conspicuous consumption, the acquisition and display of status symbol offerings to demonstrate social standing; (2) through compensatory consumption, trying to off-set some deficiency by engaging in greater than usual consumption; and (3) through the meaning of money. Households include both families and unrelated people living together as well as singles. The proportion of nontraditional households has increased because of factors such as (1) later marriages, (2) cohabitation, (3) dual- career families, (4) divorce, and (5) smaller families. Households exert considerable influence on acquisition and consumption patterns. Members can Play different roles in the decision process (gatekeeper, influencer, decider, buyer, and user). Also, husbands and wives vary in their influence in the decision process, depending on whether the situation is husband dominant, wife dominant, autonomic, or syncratic. Children can influence the decision process by making requests of parents. The nature of this influence partly depends on whether the household is authoritarian, neglectful, democratic, or permissive. In general, the older the child, the greater the influence.