“Effectiveness of Relationship Marketing in building a positive consumer behaviour”
(A case study of Aneja Constructions India Limited)
By: Anwesha Datta Gupta
Roll No: A1921215168(el)
IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENT OF BBA PROGRAMME OFAMITY SCHOOL OF DISTANCE LEARNING (ASODL), AMITY UNIVERSITY
CERTIFICATE BY GUIDE
This is to certify that the Project work entitled “Effectiveness of Relationship Marketing in building a positive consumer behaviour” is a record of bonafide work carried out by Student name under my supervision towards partial fulfillment of the Management Programmed course BBA of AMITY SCHOOL OF DISTANCE LEARNING (ASODL), AMITY UNIVERSITY.
Project Guide Kamal Singh
I, Anwesha Datta Gupta certify the project report entitled “Effectiveness of Relationship Marketing in building a positive consumer behaviour” is an original one and has not been submitted earlier either to of AMITY SCHOOL OF DISTANCE LEARNING (ASODL), AMITY UNIVERSITY or to any other institution for fulfillment of the requirement of a course of Management Programme BBA.
It has been a very knowledgeable experience of my life to carry out the research work. Thus, the research is carried out in order to enrich my knowledge towards the role of marketing activities that ensure the sustainability of the business operations as a whole. To carry out the research work many challenges have been faced and thus it has been overcome through the research work. This research work would not be possible without the guidance and help of the friends and professors to complete the research work. This research would not be completed without the support of my friends as well. My academic guide need to be thank the most without who’s help the research work would have been impossible to complete. My friends continuous support and encouragement throughout the research work help me to complete the research work completely. Finally, I would thank all my professional from the retail industry who help me out to carry out the research work and the survey of the research. The support and guidance from all has been most inspiring for me throughout the research work.
Heartfelt thanks and warm wishes,
Anwesha Datta Gupta
The purpose if the study is to explore the upcoming strategies adopted by firms in the construction industry in order to maintain long term customer relationship and gain customer royalty essential for enhanced sales figure for the firm. Customers of the construction industry want after sales services and want their queries and complaints to be resolved after completion of the sales transaction. This is possible only if the construction company invests its time and money into ‘relationship marketing’ in order to take care of customer needs and expectations, even after the final sale in order to gain new customers as well as to retain the old ones. The construction industry is fiercely competitive in India and consumers have several choices while choosing a construction brand.
Researcher in this research critically analysed the primary data that has been collected through the survey of the research. Thus, the survey involves two findings in the research – Quantitative. Thus, the quantitative research helps the researcher to carry out the survey which is based on the questionnaire. The questionnaire is distributed to the 100 customers of Aneja Constructins India Limited through online that helps the researcher to determine the role of the marketing relationship in improving the positive relationship with customers as a whole in this competitive business world.
Researcher in this research got a view and idea about the research work. Researcher in this research thus get an idea from the findings and analysis of the data in the research. The data is therefore analysed by the researcher in accordance to the role of corporate social responsibility in ensuring the sustainability of the business operations as a whole. It also helps the researcher to improve the business plans and thus helps the organisation to sustain the business operations successfully in this competitive business scenario. Researcher here carries out the research work by receiving a response from the employees of Selfridge. Thus, the researcher receives a response from the employees through a questionnaire and thus receives a response from the customers through online that are conducted by the researcher in order to carry the research work accurately and appropriately.
The poor feedback sharing mechanism also indicates yet another loophole in the present relationship marketing strategies of the company and needs to address soon. The researcher has also scrutinized the eighth observation of the study and has concluded that a huge percentage of the customers of the company recognise gaps in the CRM systems of ACIL Ltd. and feels the need for modification of the system in place to handle client relationships better.
Table of content
TOC h z “Heading 1” c Chapter 1 PAGEREF _Toc415731619 h 9INTRODUCTION PAGEREF _Toc415731620 h 91.0: Introduction PAGEREF _Toc415731621 h 91.2: Background of the topic PAGEREF _Toc415731622 h 111.2: Background of the company PAGEREF _Toc415731623 h 141.3: Rationale of the study PAGEREF _Toc415731624 h 141.4: Research Aim PAGEREF _Toc415731625 h 151.5: Research objectives PAGEREF _Toc415731626 h 151.6: Research Questions PAGEREF _Toc415731627 h 161.7: Problem Statement PAGEREF _Toc415731628 h 161.8: Purpose of the study PAGEREF _Toc415731629 h 171.9: Dissertation chapter PAGEREF _Toc415731630 h 181.10: Summary PAGEREF _Toc415731631 h 18Chapter 2 PAGEREF _Toc415731632 h 20Literature Review PAGEREF _Toc415731633 h 202.0. Introduction PAGEREF _Toc415731634 h 202.1 Definition of Relationship Marketing PAGEREF _Toc415731635 h 202.2 Dimensions of Relationship Marketing PAGEREF _Toc415731636 h 212.3 Relationship Marketing as a Process PAGEREF _Toc415731637 h 222.4 Relationship Marketing and Corporate Performance PAGEREF _Toc415731638 h 252.5. Mediating Variables PAGEREF _Toc415731639 h 252.6 Influence of relationship marketing on consumer behaviour PAGEREF _Toc415731640 h 272.7 The Traditional Perspectives on Consumer Research PAGEREF _Toc415731641 h 302.8 The Rational Perspective PAGEREF _Toc415731642 h 312.9 The Behavioural Perspective PAGEREF _Toc415731643 h 322.10 The Cognitive Perspective PAGEREF _Toc415731644 h 332.12. Low Involvement and Habitual Decision Making PAGEREF _Toc415731645 h 352.13 The Personality Perspective PAGEREF _Toc415731646 h 362.14 The Motivational Perspective and Psychographics PAGEREF _Toc415731647 h 372.15 Consumer Behaviour as a Social Decision Making Process PAGEREF _Toc415731648 h 392.16 The Attitudinal Perspective PAGEREF _Toc415731649 h 412.17 conclusion PAGEREF _Toc415731650 h 43Chapter 3 PAGEREF _Toc415731651 h 44Research Methodology PAGEREF _Toc415731652 h 443.0 Introduction PAGEREF _Toc415731653 h 443.1 Methods outline PAGEREF _Toc415731654 h 443.2 Research Onion PAGEREF _Toc415731655 h 453.3 Research Paradigm/Philosophy PAGEREF _Toc415731656 h 463.3.1 Justification for selecting positivism PAGEREF _Toc415731657 h 473.4 Research Approach PAGEREF _Toc415731658 h 473.4.1 Justifying the use of deductive approach PAGEREF _Toc415731659 h 483.5Research Design PAGEREF _Toc415731660 h 493.5.1 Justification for choosing descriptive design PAGEREF _Toc415731661 h 493.6 Data collection PAGEREF _Toc415731662 h 503.6.1 Secondary data collection PAGEREF _Toc415731663 h 503.6.2 Primary data collection PAGEREF _Toc415731664 h 513.7 Methods of data collection PAGEREF _Toc415731665 h 513.8 Data Analysis PAGEREF _Toc415731666 h 523.9 Sampling PAGEREF _Toc415731667 h 523.9.1 Sampling Technique: PAGEREF _Toc415731668 h 523.9.2 Sample Size: PAGEREF _Toc415731669 h 533.10 Time schedule (Gantt chart) PAGEREF _Toc415731670 h 533.11 Ethical considerations PAGEREF _Toc415731671 h 543.12 Research Limitations: PAGEREF _Toc415731672 h 553.13 Summary: PAGEREF _Toc415731673 h 55Chapter 4 PAGEREF _Toc415731674 h 57Data analysis and data presentation PAGEREF _Toc415731675 h 574.0Introduction PAGEREF _Toc415731676 h 574.1 Quantitative analysis PAGEREF _Toc415731677 h 57Chapter 5 PAGEREF _Toc415731678 h 76CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS PAGEREF _Toc415731679 h 765.0 Conclusions PAGEREF _Toc415731680 h 765.1 Linking with objectives PAGEREF _Toc415731681 h 765.2 Recommendations PAGEREF _Toc415731682 h 785.3 Futures scope of the study PAGEREF _Toc415731683 h 79Bibliography: PAGEREF _Toc415731684 h 80Appendix: PAGEREF _Toc415731685 h 90
List of graphs
TOC h z “Heading 2” c Graph 1: Showing gender wise segmentation of respondents of the survey PAGEREF _Toc415731229 h 58Graph 2: Showing age distribution of the respondents of the survey conducted for ACIL Ltd. PAGEREF _Toc415731230 h 60Graph 3: Showing the duration of association of the customers with the company ACIL Ltd. PAGEREF _Toc415731231 h 61Graph 4: Showing the responses of the customers regarding maintenance of open communication system of ACIL ltd. PAGEREF _Toc415731232 h 62Graph 5: Showing the responses of the customers towards the after sales services provided by ACIL Ltd. PAGEREF _Toc415731233 h 64Graph 6: Showing the response percentage of the customers towards the exchange of customer feedback of the company ACIL Ltd. PAGEREF _Toc415731234 h 66Graph 7: Showing the responses of the customers towards the degree of trust in their relationship with the company PAGEREF _Toc415731235 h 67Graph 8: Showing the degree of agreement of the customers as regards the strength of the customer relationship management system of the company in managing client relationships PAGEREF _Toc415731236 h 69Graph 9: Showing the responses of the customers towards the ability and promptness of the RM managers to address and resolve the queries and complaints of the customers PAGEREF _Toc415731237 h 70Graph 10: Showing responses towards the major shortcomings in the relationship strategies maintained by ACIL Ltd. PAGEREF _Toc415731238 h 72Graph 11: Showing the responses of the customers towards brand recall for ACIL Ltd. seeking services from a construction company PAGEREF _Toc415731239 h 73Graph 12: Showing responses of the customers as regards their preference for repeated purchase from ACIL Ltd. PAGEREF _Toc415731240 h 74
Chapter 1INTRODUCTION1.0: IntroductionEffectiveness of Relationship Marketing reflects the increasing importance of understanding how customers and the firm interact before making key marketing decisions. Nothing is more fundamental to understanding these interactions than an analysis of the underlying relationships that either have been built or have the potential to be built between customers and firms.Berrone et al. (2007) opines that relationship marketing followed in the construction sector helps to maintain close coordination with customers, minimises risks that are linked with complex consumer decision making, while provide long term value to existing as well as potential clients.Maintaining relationship with customers, both in the business to consumers (B2C) as well as business to business (B2B) domain, impacts their buying behaviour and the decision to make repeat purchase (Falk et al. 2010). In this context, Gundlach et al. (1995)add that relationship marketing stresses on providing effective client services and reduce their intention to switch over to a competitor brand. The present dissertation will be focussing on an in-depth exploration of the use of relationship marketing in the construction industry will be carried out where Aneja Constructions India Limited (ACIL) has been selected to conduct the case study.Although relationship marketing is generally based on the limits of transactional marketing and emphasizes the benefits of maintaining long term relationships with customers, its definition and its terminology are differentfrom one author to another and far from being unanimous (Knox ; Guar, 2007).
Similarly, the epistemological and theoretical content of relationship marketing raises debates, discussions and controversies of researchers (N’Goala, 1998). Berry is considered as the first author to state the term “Relationship Marketing” in the marketing literature in 1983. He developed the basics of the concept by defining relationship marketing as attraction, maintenance and enhancement of the customer relationships (Berry, 1983). However, relationship marketing can be defined as “the process of planning, developing and nurturing a relationship climate that will promote a dialogue between a firm and its customers which aims to imbue an understanding, confidence and respect of each others’ capabilities and concerns when enacting their role in the market place and the society” (Kavali et al., 1999). This definition emphasizes the multidimensional character of relationship marketing, and incorporates a certain number of key ingredients and objectives of result of its implementation
Although there is uncertainty about the providing a complete set of values to represent the relationship marketing. Theron and Terblanche (2010) announced the presence of four core values in the literature of relationship marketing: commitment, trust, satisfaction and communication. These values are the most commonly cited in empirical research. They were studied at least twice more than the other dimensions of relationship marketing identified in the literature such as: power, shared values, cooperation, personalization, relational benefits, skills, and attracting alternatives (Theron & Terblanche, 2010).
Morgan and Hunt (1994) tried to determine the nature of relationship marketing through the distinction between discrete transactions and exchange relationships. The authors count ten forms of relationship marketing, namely: 1) the exchange relations between producers and suppliers, 2) exchange relationships in service relationships, 3) strategies of alliance and co-marketing alliances, 4) alliances between firms and nonprofit organizations, 5) the relationship between business and government, 6) the relationship between business and consumers in the marketing services, 7) the working partnership, 8) exchanges between functional departments, 9) exchange relationships between the company and its employees through internal marketing, 10) exchange relations with each business unit. In order to cover all these exchange relations and highlight the processual character of relationship marketing (Dwyer et al., 1987), the authors postulate that relationship marketing is “all marketing activities aiming the establishment, development and maintenance of exchange relationships” (Morgan & Hunt, 1994).
Aneja Constructions India Limited is a rapidly growing company that is specialised in civil engineering, contracting of heavy earthmoving, and housing projects. The company considers its customers to be one of the most important stakeholders, but the approach to relationship marketing is not very strategic. In terms of maintaining their relationship marketing activities, the construction company has a customer relationship management team. However, the difficulties in engaging customers through open communication, and customer involvement makes it vulnerable sustain in the tough competition.
1.2: Background of the topicThe importance of relationships in business exchanges can be traced to Homeric Greece, while the critical impact of idiosyncratic, interpersonal relationships has continued to be well documented throughout history. Yet relationship marketing and customer relationship management have emerged as specific priorities for marketing academics and managers only in the past few decades. Researchers have made the compelling case that relational-based exchange was the norm for most of recorded history; the anomaly of transaction-based marketing emerged only in the early 1900s. Thus, relationship marketing “is really a rebirth of marketing practices of the pre-industrial age” (Hunt et al. 1989).relationship marketing initiated from the fact where marketing was considered to be a transactional approach where the buyers and seller entered into a liaison in order to operate an exchange. The need to connect with the customers emotionally in each and every business transaction was felt with the increasing complexity of consumer behaviour. Organisations promoting relationship marketing intends to stimulate their existing customers to make repeat purchase, recommend the brand to other consumer groups and provide their long term custom.
Internal marketing is considered as a process of interaction between the organization and its employees (Ahmed& Rafiq, 2003) or also “a relationship development process in which staff autonomy and know how combine tocreate and circulate new organizational knowledge that will challenge internal activities which need to bechanged to enhance quality in market place relationships” (Ballantyne, 1997). Thus, internal marketingaims to create a healthy environment promoting motivation, creativity, effectiveness and cooperation of allemployees. It acts on the actions and behaviors of employees that may directly or indirectly influence customer satisfaction. Therefore, the organization may satisfy its external customers, by satisfying internal customers (Gounaris, 2010). Employees constitute, for the company, a valuable resource which ensures competitive advantage. For these reasons, companies need to establish “high contract partnership” with employees and effectively manage relationships within the organization (between departments, functions and employees). At this stage arise the following questions: How can the company develop an effective process for structuring andmanaging internal relationships? What is the nature of this partnership and what are the tools and mechanisms of establishing this? Ahmed and Rafiq (2003) tried to answer these questions. First, the authors indicate that relationship marketing provides a theoretical approach to analyzing these problems. In fact, the relational approach presents an alternative framework to the transactional approach to marketing that has formed the basisof the thought of internal marketing. Furthermore, Ahmed and Rafiq (2003) suggest that “high contract partnership” can be achieved through internal marketing which aims at establishing, developing and maintaining exchange relationships successfully within organization, and is based on the tools / mechanisms: understanding and intimacy, trust and commitment.
The trust-commitment construct is the subject of several studies in the literature of relationship marketing(Geyskens et al., 1996). Indeed, Blois (2003) considers thecommitment and trust as the distinctive characteristics of a relationship. Sheth (2000) argues that”commitment and trust have emerged as building blocks of a theory. The relationship commitment-trust theoryby Morgan and Hunt (1994) has been particularly influential. Their seminal KMV (Key Mediating Variables) model has a significant contribution to our understanding of relationship marketing”. Furthermore, Morgan(2000) notes that “we need an expanded commitment-trust theory that includes such a framework, becausesuch a framework would shed light on the processes and motivations of relationship building”. Morgan and Hunt(1994) consider trust and commitment as mediating variables between five antecedents (relationship terminationcost, relationship benefits, shared values, communication, opportunistic behavior) and five outcomes(acquiescence, propensity to leave, cooperation, functional conflict, decision-making uncertainty). Communication is considered as one of the antecedents of the construct trust-commitment. It is a central elementof internal marketing, because it creates a suitable environment for a better quality of work and for thedissemination of information between the company and its employee. According to Morgan and Hunt (1994),Communication directly influence trust (and through trust indirectly influences commitment). However, in arecent study conducted in Australia among 244 employees in the food processing industry, Zeffane et al. (2011)have tried to explore the relationship between communication, trust and commitment. They found that there arepositive relationships between members of the triad. Specifically, trust is central to this triad, preceded bycommunication, while the commitment is the final product. In other words, it is through trust that feelings ofloyalty and commitment of employees are formed.
Creating a climate of employees trust in leadership, trust in the processes and systems of the companyparticipates in increase of the job satisfaction. Mulki et al. (2006) argue that trust is an antecedent to job satisfaction. Also, Ahmadi et al. (2011) indicate that there are direct relationships, positive and significantbetween trust and job satisfaction.
On the other hand, the job satisfaction contributes effectively to the organizational commitment. Numerousstudies have established the link between the two variables (Iverson & Maguire, 2000).They have shown that satisfied employees develop cognitive relations with theorganization (commitment) and have less intention to leave the company. An empirical study, conducted amongLebanese banks, has reinforced this statement by announcing that job satisfaction is a very good predictor oforganizational commitment (Dirania & Kuchinke, 2011).
The philosophy of relationship marketing assumes that firms which pursuing customer orientation carry outhigher profits than their competitors. However, studies show that this causality is only valid if the corporate culture reflects the customer focus. In this context, Ivens and Mayrhofer (2003), tried to explain how the company can improve the effectiveness of a policy of relationship marketing to achieve higher performance? They concluded that to be effective, relationship marketing must be adopted and practiced by all the services of the company. The challenge consists in developing a relational culture among employees in order that customer orientation is effectively perceived by the consumers.
According to Ivens and Mayrhofer (2003), the determinants of the performance of relationship marketing are: hardware and software. The hardware consisted of structures and instruments presenting the contents of actions carried. Software, founded on relational principles which govern the behavior of company toward its customers.
These relational principles indicate how the company can manage its customer relationships. In this context, ethics is considered one of the relational principles (software) which guaranteed the durability of the relationship and creates a climate of trust between the parties.
The effectiveness of relationship marketing contributes to increased corporate performance (Ismail, 2009; Alsadi,2010). In fact, the actions of relationship marketing positively affect the financial performance of the company by improving the quality of the relationship and the overall strength of the relationship consisting of trust, commitment and satisfaction (Palmatier et al., 2007). Specifically, the actions of internal marketing influence employee satisfaction which results in improved quality of service perceived by the customer and therefore anincrease of organizational performance (Tortosa et al., 2009).
Ismail (2009) opine that in the construction Industry, following strategic relationship marketing process is of utmost importance. Lack of research is evident when one tries to understand the role of relationship marketing in shaping consumer behaviour in the Indian construction industry. How far maintaining relationship with customers through effective communication helps them to make a brand recall while evaluating the alternatives in the purchase decision making is a neglected area, Keller (1993) illustrates that understanding consumer behaviour and their decision making is a complex process. Hence it is necessary to conduct a research on such topic and resolve the problems faced by construction companies in this area.
In the Indian scenario, the increasing demand for real estate and housing among consumers and growing competition among construction companies have made it necessary to maintain healthier relationship with customers. The core purpose of construction companies to implement relationship marketing is to regularly update the customers with marketing information, exchange information, collect feedback and engage them to make their brand loyal.
1.2: Background of the companyAneja Constructions India Limited is a rapidly growing company that is specialised in civil engineering, contracting of heavy earthmoving, and housing projects. The company considers its customers to be one of the most important stakeholders, but the approach to relationship marketing is not very strategic. In terms of maintaining their relationship marketing activities, the construction company has a customer relationship management team. However, the difficulties in engaging customers through open communication, and customer involvement makes it vulnerable sustain in the tough competition.
1.3: Rationale of the studyThe construction industry faces several challenges in terms of building effective relationship with customers and shapes a positive perception towards their brand. The marketing department mainly focuses on convincing the customers to make a purchase instead of fostering trust based relationship through feedback exchange. However, Jianget al. (2011) believe that building trust through relationship marketing is one of the key challenges faced by construction firms. This study will examine the various facet of ‘relationship marketing’ and its requirement to keep customers satisfied, particularly in the construction industry of India. Many construction companies have been disapproved of because they do not consider their customers as important stakeholder once the ‘sale transaction’ is fully complete. Customers dissatisfied due to poor customer services, or lack of open communication, spread negative word of mouth publicity about the company verbally as well as over social media. This has a negative impact on the behaviour of potential customer also. The rationale of the study lies in explaining the importance of ‘relationship marketing’ to the construction companies in order to sustain their business in the fierce competition.
Lee & Lin (2005) believe that applying the relationship marketing strategies in construction helps to implement innovative techniques of procurement. However, construction firms based in India perceive the development of relationship marketing, as a cost that does not give sustainable returns. In case of companies like Aneja Constructions India Limited (ACIL) are prone to such marketing problems, where the relationship with customers ends with the final purchase with hardly any follow ups.
1.4: Research AimThe particular dissertation will be focusing in analysing the effectiveness of relationship marketing in building positive customer behaviour. The main focus will be on understanding the need and importance of relationship marketing (RM) in the construction industry. The aim of the research also includes critically assessment of the relationship marketing (RM) strategies implemented by ACIL as well as evaluation of its impact on the consumer behaviour of ACIL in order to identify the gaps in its present RM techniques. The theories and models will be assisting the researcher in understanding the concept of relationship marketing.
1.5: Research objectivesThe aim of the research is to carry out a critical analysis of the impact of relationship marketing in shaping positive consumer behaviour. To what extent does relationship marketing stimulate the customer decision making in a positive manner will also be an agenda of discussion through this research. In line with the research aim, the researcher has chalked out research objective that can be helpful in carrying the rest of the research topics in detail manner. The division of the topics can be done effectively on the basis of the objectives for better understanding of the research work. The researcher has jotted down some objectives for reaching the aim of the study that are as follows-
To assess the effectiveness of relationship marketing (RM) in the construction industry
To critically evaluate strategies of relationship marketing (RM) implemented by ACIL
To critically review the influence of RM strategies on consumer behaviour of ACIL customers
To recognize the gaps in the RM techniques of ACIL to give suitable recommendations for improvement
1.6: Research QuestionsThe formation of research question can be effective in carrying out the research task in thorough and detail way. Therefore, it can help in understanding the concept of study and gaining the knowledgeable data about the research work. The researcher has listed some research question on the basis of the objective of the research.
How relationship marketing helps in creating positive consumer behaviour in construction industry?
How effective is the present strategies of relationship marketing of ACIL in building positive consumer in construction industry?
What is the impact of relationship marketing on consumer behaviour of ACIL customers?
What are the potential gaps in the present RM strategies of the company that needs to be addressed?
1.7: Problem StatementThe core problem faced by construction companies in India is lack of investment in managing customer relationships. The focus of marketers is to achieve a sale each time the marketers connect with the customers instead of understanding their needs, and expectations. Poorly trained staff personnel also fail to probe the customer regarding their queries, complaints and grievances. Hence, construction firms such as ACIL fail to understand the changing consumer behaviour and hence fail to retain them. Despite the presence of customer relationship management team, the staff personnel fail to build confidence and trust among the clients.
1.8: Purpose of the studyThe researcher has opted for the particular study for understanding the role of relationship marketing in building positive consumer behaviour. The purpose if the study is to explore the upcoming strategies adopted by firms in the construction industry in order to maintain long term customer relationship and gain customer royalty essential for enhanced sales figure for the firm. Customers of the construction industry want after sales services and want their queries and complaints to be resolved after completion of the sales transaction. This is possible only if the construction company invests its time and money into ‘relationship marketing’ in order to take care of customer needs and expectations, even after the final sale in order to gain new customers as well as to retain the old ones. The construction industry is fiercely competitive in India and consumers have several choices while choosing a construction brand. This present research study will spot the gaps in the relationship marketing strategies of Construction Company such as Aneja Constructions India Limited and the troubles that the customers encounter. The research will survey the customers and find out the issues they face while seeking after sale services, resolving the queries and complaints, customer services, feedback exchange etc. Customers dissatisfied due to poor customer services, or lack of open communication, spread negative word of mouth publicity about the company verbally as well as over social media. This has a negative impact on the behaviour or potential customer also. The scope of this project lies in explaining the importance of ‘relationship marketing’ to the construction companies in order to sustain their business in the fierce competition. This project will also scrutinize the dissatisfaction level of consumers due to poor relationship marketing strategies of the company and its impact on the revenue and sales figure of the company. The contribution will be in the form of understanding the importance of relationship marketing for such construction companies. The findings of this research will also help to resolve the problems that customers face due to poor relationship marketing of the construction company. Therefore strong relationship marketing strategies can address the issues and help the firm to build a brand loyalty essential for widening the market base and gaining a larger share of the market pie.
1.9: Dissertation chapterThe current research is divided into short divisions of five chapters through which the research work progresses efficiently with the aim of completing smaller goals to ultimately achieve the desired outcome.
Chapter 1, Introduction entails the basic research details that help in research initiation by directing the work towards specific aim and objectives with proper idea of the research topic and chosen organisation.
Chapter 2, Literature review provides deeper understanding of the research topic through presentation of relevant theories, models and concepts.
Chapter 3, Research methodology directs the research towards a disciplined and systematic way to conduct the research work by implementing appropriate assumptions and techniques.
Chapter 4, Findings and Data Analysis represents the collected research data in statistical and graphical charts, tables as per need to enable an easy understanding of the results. It provides a clear and in-depth perception of the research topic.
Chapter 5, Conclusion and Recommendations conclude the research work with the evaluation of the alignment of the research objectives with the outcomes.
1.10: SummaryThe concept of relationship marketing is effective in building a positive and strong relationship with the customers of the company that in turn mould their buying behaviour. The customers are the major factor for analysing the influence of the relationship marketing on their buying behaviour. A strong RM strategy by the firm can help them to mitigate their performance error and help them to gain as well as retain to customers essential to sustain in the fiercely competitive construction industry of India. The current chapter briefly explains the ingredients of the research topic through different sub section such as research objectives, aims, questions, background of study and rational study. Thus, on the basis of this chapter, literature review of the topic will be carried that will be comprised of different theories and concepts.
Chapter 2Literature Review2.0. IntroductionIn the current literature the researcher will focus on previous research on relationship management. During the two past decades, researches in marketing knew a significant change marked by the transition from transactional marketing, focusing on the marketing mix with the four P’s: Price, Product, Promotion, Place and the short term goals, to relationship marketing based on long-term orientation and a strong commitment to customer satisfaction. Some authors consider relationship marketing as “a reorientation of the company toward the customer”, “one of the major changes having affected the exchanges between firms these fifteen last year’s”, or even a “new paradigm for marketing” Lai & Chen (2011) indicates in this sense that marketing crosses a “crisis of maturity” that challenges the traditional goals of business inherited from a neoclassical economic model based on maximization of the short term profits.
2.1 Definition of Relationship MarketingAlthough relationship marketing is generally based on the limits of transactional marketing and emphasizes thebenefits of maintaining long term relationships with customers, its definition and its terminology are different from one author to another and far from being unanimous (Molina et al.2008).Similarly, the epistemological and theoretical content of relationship marketing raises debates, discussions and controversies of researchers (Ryu et al.2008).Berry is considered as the first author to state the term “Relationship Marketing” in the marketing literature in
1983. He developed the basics of the concept by defining relationship marketing as attraction, maintenance and enhancement of the customer relationships. However, relationship marketing can be defined as”the process of planning, developing and nurturing a relationship climate that will promote a dialogue between a firm and its customers which aims to imbue an understanding, confidence and respect of each others’ capabilities and concerns when enacting their role in the market place and the society” (Schiffman & Kanuk, 1994). This definition emphasizes the multidimensional character of relationship marketing, and incorporates a certain number of key ingredients and objectives of result of its implementation. In addition, we choose this definition because it contains key ethical concepts that underline the inherent nature of relationship marketing ethics.
2.2 Dimensions of Relationship MarketingPanoply of academic research has tested operationalization of relationship marketing through various builts, concepts or variables. It is in particular about the work of Slater & Narver (1994) which showed the existence of 30 approaches of relationship marketing. He divided these approaches into four large headings: Classic market relationships (for example, the classic dyad – the relationship between the supplier and the customer), Special market relationships (for example relationships via full-time marketers and part-time marketers), Mega relationships (for example, personal and social networks), Nano- relationships (for example,internal customer relationships).Zimmer & Golden (1988) also proposed a model of customer-supplier relationships basedon a list of 13 variables. Zeithaml & Bitner (2000) identified 23 key variables classified by order of occurrence and demonstrated existence of different types of models of buyer-seller relationships. Tam (2012) collected 18 mediators and antecedents relationship. Generally, there are a multitude of variables or dimensions to characterize the relationship marketing and the consensus is far to be established.
In order to select the key variables in this field, Solomon (2012), attempted to identify, on the basis of an empirical study, dimensions of relationship marketing perceived as “important” for the mangers, and that they are able to manage effectively. The authors justified this approach by three elements. Firstly, some dimensions revealed in the literature are specific for a sector and not for another. Secondly, the dimensions are not equally important during the establishment and management of relationship marketing. Thirdly, and from a practical point of view, it is desirable to be limited to a restricted number of dimensions which are critical for management and performance measurement. In this context, an analysis of existing literature, focused on the identification of the variables that may influence the establishment, maintenance and enhancement of long-term relationships between consumers and firms, is used to define the key dimensions. In fact, two central variables are frequently cited and used in relationship marketing: commitment and trust, especially after the seminal work of Dwyer et al. (1987) and those of Morgan & Hunt (1994). According to Morgan and Hunt (1994), commitment and trust are central variables and mediators of the relational model and determine even the success of the relationship. On the other hand, there are empirical studies in relationship marketing, which show the presence of links such as the relationship between satisfaction, trust and commitment, the influence of satisfaction on trust, the impact of trust on commitment, the relationship between communication, satisfaction and commitment Schiffman & Kanuk (1994) and relationship between communication and trust.
Although there is uncertainty about the providing a complete set of values to represent the relationship marketing. Ryu et al. (2008) announced the presence of four core values in the literature of relationship marketing: commitment, trust, satisfaction and communication. These values are the most commonly cited in empirical research. They were studied at least twice more than the other dimensions of relationship marketing identified in the literature such as: power, shared values, cooperation, personalization, relational benefits, skills,
and attracting alternatives.
2.3 Relationship Marketing as a ProcessMorgan and Hunt (1994) tried to determine the nature of relationship marketing through the distinction between discrete transactions and exchange relationships. The authors count ten forms of relationship marketing, namely: 1) the exchange relations between producers and suppliers, 2) exchange relationships in service relationships, 3)strategies of alliance and co-marketing alliances, 4) alliances between firms and nonprofit organizations, 5) the relationship between business and government, 6) the relationship between business and consumers in the marketing services, 7) the working partnership, 8) exchanges between functional departments, 9) exchange relationships between the company and its employees through internal marketing, 10) exchange relations with each business unit. In order to cover all these exchange relations and highlight the processual character of relationship marketing, the authors postulate that relationship marketing is “all marketing activities aiming the establishment, development and maintenance of exchange relationships”.
The relationship marketing orientation to the internal environment of the company is conducted through internal marketing. It is part of the relational paradigm which it is a major dimension. The logic of internal marketing is that “the employee is an internal customer” which, like external customers, desire that their needs are satisfied. In fact, determining and satisfying the needs of employees promotes their motivation and retention, and therefore the company will be in a better position to deliver a better quality of products and services necessary to the satisfaction of external customers. Human resources are considered one of the important intangible resources of the business, comprised mainly of knowledge, skills and attitudes of employees. Thus, organizations create and maintain sustainable values through the use of intangible resources (such as human resources). In fact, when human capital is rare, valuable and
difficult to imitate, it can be a source of sustainable competitive advantage.Selnes (1993) indicates that treat employees as an internal consumers and use the marketing techniques within the organization will cause employee satisfaction (internal marketing). Employee satisfaction will translate into a better quality of service delivery, and therefore creating a sustainable competitive advantage within the organization. Internal marketing is considered as a process of interaction between the organization and its employees or also “a relationship development process in which staff autonomy and know how combine to create and circulate new organizational knowledge that will challenge internal activities which need to be changed to enhance quality in market place relationships” (Padgett & Allen, 1997). Thus, internal marketing aims to create a healthy environment promoting motivation, creativity, effectiveness and cooperation of all employees. It acts on the actions and behaviors of employees that may directly or indirectly influence customer satisfaction. Therefore, the organization may satisfy its external customers, by satisfying internal customers. Employees constitute, for the company, a valuable resource which ensures competitive advantage. For these reasons, companies need to establish “high contract partnership” with employees and effectively manage relationships within the organization (between departments, functions and employees). At this stage arise the following questions: How can the company develop an effective process for structuring and managing internal relationships? What is the nature of this partnership and what are the tools and mechanisms of establishing this? Padgett & Allen (1997) tried to answer these questions. First, the authors indicate that relationship marketing provides a theoretical approach to analyzing these problems. In fact, the relational approach presents an alternative framework to the transactional approach to marketing that has formed the basis of the thought of internal marketing. Furthermore,Randheer et al. (2011) suggest that “high contract partnership” can be achieved through internal marketing which aims at establishing, developing and maintaining exchange relationships successfully within organization, and is based on the tools / mechanisms: understanding and intimacy, trust and commitment. The trust-commitment construct is the subject of several studies in the literature of relationship marketing. Indeed, Kotler & Keller (2012) considers the commitment and trust as the distinctive characteristics of a relationship. Ruiz et al. 2008) argues that “commitment and trust have emerged as building blocks of a theory. The relationship commitment-trust theory by Morgan ; Hunt (1994) has been particularly influential. Their seminal KMV (Key Mediating Variables) model has a significant contribution to our understanding of relationship marketing”. Furthermore, Morgan (1990) notes that “we need an expanded commitment-trust theory that includes such a framework, because such a framework would shed light on the processes and motivations of relationship building”. Morgan & Hunt (1994) consider trust and commitment as mediating variables between five antecedents (relationship termination cost, relationship benefits, shared values, communication, opportunistic behavior) and five outcomes (acquiescence, propensity to leave, cooperation, functional conflict, decision-making uncertainty). Communication is considered as one of the antecedents of the construct trust-commitment. It is a central element of internal marketing, because it creates a suitable environment for a better quality of work and for the dissemination of information between the company and its employee. According to Morgan & Hunt (1994), Communication directly influence trust (and through trust indirectly influences commitment). However, in a recent study conducted in Australia among 244 employees in the food processing industry, Prasad & Shekhar (2010) have tried to explore the relationship between communication, trust and commitment. They found that there are positive relationships between members of the triad. Specifically, trust is central to this triad, preceded by communication, while the commitment is the final product. In other words, it is through trust that feelings of loyalty and commitment of employees are formed.
Creating a climate of employees trust in leadership, trust in the processes and systems of the company participates in increase of the job satisfaction. Olsen et al. (2013) argue that trust is an antecedent to job satisfaction. Also, Selnes (1993) indicate that there are direct relationships, positive and significant between trust and job satisfaction.
On the other hand, the job satisfaction contributes effectively to the organizational commitment. Numerous studies have established the link between the two variables. They have shown that satisfied employees develop cognitive relations with the organization (commitment) and have less intention to leave the company. An empirical study, conducted among Lebanese banks, has reinforced this statement by announcing that job satisfaction is a very good predictor of organizational commitment.
2.4 Relationship Marketing and Corporate PerformanceThe philosophy of relationship marketing assumes that firms which pursuing customer orientation carry out higher profits than their competitors. However, studies show that this causality is only valid if the corporate culture reflects the customer focus. In this context, Ruiz et al. (2008), tried to explain how the company can improve the effectiveness of a policy of relationship marketing to achieve higher performance? They concluded that to be effective, relationship marketing must be adopted and practiced by all the services of the company. The challenge consists in developing a relational culture among employees in order that customer orientation is effectively perceived by the consumers.
According to Peterson (1995), the determinants of the performance of relationship marketing are: hardware and software. The hardware consisted of structures and instruments presenting the contents of actions carried. Software, founded onrelational principles which govern the behavior of company toward its customers. These relational principles indicate how the company can manage its customer relationships. In this context, ethics is considered one of the relational principles (software) which guaranteed the durability of the relationship and creates a climate of trust between the parties. The effectiveness of relationship marketing contributes to increased corporate performance. In fact, the actions of relationship marketing positively affect the financial performance of the company by improving the quality of the relationship and the overall strength of the relationship consisting of trust, commitment and satisfaction. Specifically, the actions of internal marketing influence employee satisfaction which results in improved quality of service perceived by the customer and therefore an increase of organizational performance.
2.5. Mediating VariablesTo clarify the role of each of thedimension of relationship marketing we will try to present the characteristics of each variable.
Kuo et al. (2011) define communication as the provision of relevant and timely information between actors. On the other hand,Kotler & Keller (2012) emphasize the message (content), channel (means), feedback (two way communications) and communication impact/effect as the main elements of the communication process. Also communication makes reference to the concept of transmitters and receivers, coding and decoding of information as well as responses and possible disturbances in the communication process itself. Communication with employees is realized through internal communication. It can be defined as transactions between individuals and groups in organizations at various levels and in different areas of specialization, ou encore as “all formal and informal communication taking place internally at all levels of an organization”. Lai, & Chen (2011) emphasize that, effective internal communication can give meaning to jobs, make people feel connected and accountable and increase productivity. Internal communication policies should thus encourage frequent, honest, open, job related, two-way communication among managers and subordinates facilitated by an accommodative internal environment. Ladhari (2009) indicates that the main role of internal communication is building and nourishing employee relations, establishing trust, providing timely and reliable information and thereby contributing to general motivation, particularly in times of change and stress. Furthermore, communication plays an important role in building and developing a corporate culture based on specific values. Padgett & Allen (1997) suggest that an effective internal communication makes it possible to deliver satisfactory services and to maintain harmonious and productive relationships while reinforcing trust, respect and loyalty of employees. This communication is carried out through internal newsletters, video, meetings, intranet (internal network to the enterprise) or of internal companions.
2.5.2 Organizational Trust
The concept of trust has been the subject of several definitions depending on the application domain: the philosphy, sociology and economics. However, at the organizational level, Olsen et al. (2013) developed “an integrative model of organizational trust” in which they define trust as the willingness of a party to be vulnerable to the actions of another party based on the expectation that the other will perform a particular action important to the trustor, irrespective of the ability to monitor or control that other party”.
This definition emphasizes the concept of vulnerability that combines the risk and uncertainty. Tam (2012) indicates that “any trust has a threshold, namely the accepted maximum risk. We always make trust to a certain point. To make trust, is to abandon the idea to control the actions of the other (risk) in a particular domain of knowledge, because we think (uncertainty) that is benevolent and competent, at the same time, in this domain”.
Organizational trust has done a lot of flow anchor. In effect, works that address the role of trust in the development of an employment relationship are numerous (). However, it is possible to distinguish several types of trust according to the referent chosen which may have a particular effect on the quality of the employment relationship. Besides, “employees can develop a relationship of trust toward of at least two referents, whose supervisor and general representatives of the organization”. The organization is represented by its executive officers and procedures. In this context, the trust of the employee in
the direct supervisor is more likely to explain the behavior and performance at work, while trust in his organization is more related to attitudes oriented organization and not to daily work such as organizational commitment and intention to leave. Whatever the type of referent selected, three elements are sources of trust, namely: the skills of the party which we trust, benevolence and integrity. These three factors contribute uniquely and independently to form a trust in organization.
2.5.3 Organizational Commitment
Weeks et al. (2004) describe organizational commitment as a link, a psychological state that characterizes the relationship between the employee and the organization, which has implications for the decision to remain within the organization. This psychological state can take three forms which they called the three components of organizational commitment: Continuance commitment, affective commitment and normative commitment.
?The continuance commitment: refers to the predisposition of an individual to feel connected to the organization according to the benefits that it gives him (salary, status, promotion, etc.). And what costs him to stay there (sacrifices of time, salary, etc.).
?Affective commitment: refers to the emotional attachment and identification of an employee to his organization.
?The normative commitment: is defined as a moral component referring to the sense of obligation and responsibility.
2.6 Influence of relationship marketing on consumer behaviourConsumer is the study “of the processes involved when individuals or groups select, purchase, use, or dispose of products, services, ideas, or experiences to satisfy needs and desires” (Solomon, 1995). In the marketing context, the term ‘consumer ‘ refers not only to the act of purchase itself, but also to patterns of aggregate buying which include pre-purchase and post-purchase activities. Pre-purchase activity might consist of the growing awareness of a need or want, and a search for and evaluation of information about the products and brands that might satisfy it. Post-purchase activities include the evaluation of the purchased item in use and the reduction of any anxiety which accompanies the purchase of expensive and infrequently-bought
items. Each of these has implications for purchase and repurchase and they are amenable in differing degrees to marketer influence (Foxall, 1987). Engel, et al. (1986) define consumer behaviour as “those acts of individuals directly involved in obtaining, using, and disposing of economic goods and services, including the decision processes that precede and determine these acts”. Simple observation provides limited insight into the complex nature of consumer choice and researchers have increasingly sought the more sophisticated concepts and methods of investigation provided by behavioural sciences in order to understand, predict, and possibly control consumer behaviour more effectively. Psychology, social psychology, and sociology are the disciplines most widely employed in this endeavour which has become a substantial academic industry in its own right.
In order to develop a framework for the study of consumer behaviour it is helpful to begin by considering the evolution of the field of consumer research and the different paradigms of thought that have influenced the discipline (Marsden ; Littler, 1998). Paradigms in consumer research can be broadly classified as a set of fundamental assumptions that researchers make about what they are studying and how they study it (Kuhn, 1962). As described below, a set of dimensions can be isentified in the literature, which can be used to characterise and differentiate, the various perspectives on consumer behaviour. Consumer behaviour itself emerged as a distinct field of study in the 1960s. A major catalytic influence in its emergence was the formation of the Association for Consumer Research in 1969. Membership now exceeds 1700 (www.acrweb.org), and the growing maturity of the field is reflected in its annual conference proceedings, entitled Advances in ConsumerResearch. The literature has grown sharply, with the Journal of ConsumerResearch (first published in 1974) standing as a premier source. More recently, the Journal of Consumer Psychology was launched in 1992. During the process of evolution of the field of consumer behaviour, researchers drew on various disciplines, ranging from psycho-physiology to literature (Solomon, 1995). A list of professional associations2 that sponsor the Journal of Consumer Research provides a glimpse of the number of disciplines working together in the field. The diverse disciplines employed by researchers approach consumer issues from different perspectives. In addition to the many disciplinary orientations, perspectives on consumer behaviour are broadly differentiated by their emphasis on internal influences (drawing on theories from psychology) and on external influences (drawing on theories from sociology). Furthermore, methodological inclinations and fundamental assumptions about the unit of analysis – the consumer, differ radically between perspectives. Thus, varying perspectives present different views of aspects on consumption (as emphasized from the consumer’s perspective), research orientations (as emphasized from the researcher’s
perspective), and focus (micro/individual or macro/social) on consumer issues.
Research that studies consumer behaviour as a subdiscipline of marketing with the aim t identify how consumer research can be put to use in marketing practice, regards the field of consumer behaviour as an applied social science. Accordingly, the value of the knowledge generated should be evaluated in terms of its ability to improve the effectiveness of marketing practice. According to this perspective, marketing management inevitably rests upon some conception of how consumers behave and of the consequences their reactions to product, price, promotion, and distribution strategies are likely to have for the attainment of corporate goals. In affluent, competitive economies, successful marketing depends above all on matching the marketing mix, which results from the integration of these strategies with the willingness of consumers to buy and in doing so more effectively than one’s rivals. The consumer-oriented management which results from such matching, is a response to the enormous discretion exercised by purchasers in these economies. Moreover, the choices made by consumers have consequences not merely for competing companies within a given, traditionally-defined industry; because of the high levels at which discretionary income is running, companies are increasingly forced to compete across the conventional boundaries of markets and industries (Foxall, 1987). Recently, though, some researchers have argued that consumer behaviour should not have a strategic focus at all. It should instead focus on 2 The American Statistical Association, the Association for Consumer Research, the Society for Consumer Psychology, the International Communication Association, the American Sociological Association, the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences, the American Anthropological Association, the American Marketing Association, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the American Association for Public Opinion Research, the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, and the American Economic Association. The understanding of consumption for its own sake, rather than because the knowledge generated can be applied by marketers (Holbrook, 1985). While this view has emerged relatively recently, it has encouraged many to expand the scope of their work beyond the field’s traditional focus, on the applied benefits of undertaking consumer studies. This more critical view of consumer research has also led to the recognition that not all consumer behaviour and/or marketing activity is necessarily beneficial to individuals or society. As a result, current consumer research is likely to include attention to the “dark side” of consumer behaviour, such as addiction, prostitution, homelessness, shoplifting, or environmental waste (O’Guinn & Faber 1989). This activity builds upon the earlier work of researchers who have studied consumer issues related to public policy, ethics, and consumerism. There is a growing movement in the field to develop knowledge about social marketing, which involves the promotion of causes and ideas, such as responsible drinking, energy conservation, and population control. This article presents a review of the literature, in the field of consumer behaviour. The first section, describes the dominant, positivistic consumer perspectives. The second section, presents a methodological and analytical overview of the traditional perspectives, already discussed in section one. Further discussion on the paradigm shifts within consumer research, is supported by a diagrammatic representation of the evolution of the field of consumer behaviour. The remainder of this section is devoted to presenting the highlights of the debate between the recent non-positivist perspectives and the traditional positivist-based approaches. This discussion surrounds the issues of fundamental assumptions and techniques of analysis of various alternative modes of enquiry. And finally, the last section presents an overview of the developments within the field of consumer research.
2.7 The Traditional Perspectives on Consumer ResearchThis first section outlines the perspectives that emerged during the traditional-positivist era in consumer research. Thus, a brief discussion on the early models of buyer behaviour, proposed by economists is presented, followed by a discussion on each of the traditional perspectives in consumer research that emerged thereafter. These are the behavioural, cognitive, trait, motivational, attitudinal, and situational viewpoints. Overall, the objective of this section is to outline the features and the central arguments of each of these perspectives. While a detailed analytical review of the paradigms is presented in section two, at this stage it is worth noting, that the traditional perspectives while diverse with respect to the many aspects of consumer behaviour they investigate, are fundamentally similar in terms of their philosophical and methodological bases for undertaking the examination of consumer issues. That is, they are built on the common foundations of “rationalism” and share allegiance to the principles of a single traditional, positivist-based approach to consumer research. Consumer
2.8 The Rational PerspectiveThe economists were the first to dominate model building, in the area of buying behaviour. The early economic view considered consumer behavior in terms of a single act of purchase itself, and post-purchase reactions. Economic theory holds that purchasing decisions are the result of largely “rational” and conscious economic calculations. Thus, the individual buyer seeks to spend his income on those goods that will deliver the most utility (satisfaction) according to his tastes and relative prices. The antecedents of this view can be traced back to Adam Smith (1776). Alfred Marshall (1890) consolidated the classical and neoclassical traditions in economics, into a refined theoretical framework which came to be known as the theory ofmarginal utility. His theoretical work aimed to simplify assumptions and thereby examine the effects of changes in single variables (e.g., price) holding all other variables constant. While economic models such as the Marshallian theory of “marginal-utility” are useful to the extent that they provide behavioural hypotheses (e.g., the lower the price of a product the higher the sales), the validity of these
hypotheses does not rest on whether all individuals act as calculating machines in making their purchasing decisions. For example, Eva Muller (1954) reported a study where only one-fourth of the consumers in her sample bought with any substantial degree of deliberation. The Marshallian
model ignores the fundamental question of how product and brand preferences are formed.
While pure economics alone cannot explain all variations in sales (Westing & Albaum 1975), several sub-perspectives within the discipline set-out to provide rational explanations for behavioural, psychological, preferential, and aggregate demand variations in behaviour, to name just a few3. For example, the experimental treatment of economic choice variables has been useful in providing rational explanations for changes in behaviour. Several studies have identified the impacts of price differentials on consumers’ brand preferences; changes in product cues on demand variations; changes in price on demand sensitivity; and scarcity on consumer choice behaviour amongst many others (Lewis et al. 1995). Moreover, while a number of perspectives on consumer research such as the learning theories, as discussed below, emphasize the external rather than internal factors that influence behaviour, it is important to note that it is the very basis of rationalism, the fundamental justification of the economic argument, on which these traditional views rest.
2.9 The Behavioural PerspectiveAs mentioned above, in contrast to the economic view which underscores the importance of internal mental processes in consumer decision making, the behavioural perspective emphasizes the role of external environmental factors in the process of learning, which it is argued causes behaviour. Moneesha Pachauri the behaviourists approach the consumer, as a “black box” and thereby assume that consumer behaviour is a conditioned response to external events. The behavioural perspective therefore focuses on external environmental cues (such as advertising) that stimulate consumer response through learning. The strategic emphasis, of the behavioural modification theories, for example, are to devise a set of expanded behaviour modification techniques (e.g., respondent conditioning; operant conditioning; vicarious learning etc.) that can be used to influence, modify, and control consumer behaviour (Peter ; Nord). While a number of researchers have proposed models to study learning principles e.g., Thorndike (1911); Watson and Rayner (1920), this view is represented by two major approaches to learning: classical conditioning and instrumental learning.
Classical conditioning occurs when a stimulus that elicits a response is paired with another stimulus that initially does not elicit a response on its own. Over time, this second stimulus causes a similar response because it is associated with the first stimulus. The theory of classical conditioning is rooted in Pavlov’s research on digestion in animals. Pavlov induced classically conditioned learning by pairing a neutral stimulus (a bell) with a stimulus known to cause a salivation response in dogs (dried meat powder). The powder was an unconditioned stimulus (UCS) because it was naturally capable of causing the response. Over time, the bell became a conditionedstimulus (CS) resulting in a conditioned response (CR). Thus, conditioned effects are more likely to occur after the conditioned and unconditioned stimuli have been paired a number of times. The basic form of classical conditioning demonstrated by Pavlov primarily applies to responses controlled by the autonomic (e.g., salivation) and nervous (e.g., eyeblink) systems. That is, it focuses on visual and olfactory cues that induce hunger or thirst. When these cues are consistently paired with conditioned stimuli, such as brand names, consumers may learn to be hungry or thirsty, when later exposed to brand cues. Classical conditioning can have similar effects for more complex reactions. Even a credit card becomes a conditioned cue that triggers greater spending, especially since it is a stimulus that is presented only in situations where consumers are spending money. People learn that they can make larger purchases when using credit cards, and they also have been found to leave larger tips than they do when using cash (Feinberg, 1986). While responses in classical conditioning are involuntary and fairly simple those in instrumental conditioning are made deliberately to obtain a goal and may be more complex.
Instrumental conditioning or Operant conditioning occurs as the individual learns to perform behaviours that produce positive outcomes and to avoid those that yield negative outcomes. Skinner’s (1938, 1953) model of operant conditioning placed emphasis on reinforcement associated with a response (or operant). Reinforcement is a pleasant or unpleasant experience and has most effect when it occurs at the same time or just after the response. The desired behaviour may be learnt over a period of time, as intermediate actions are rewarded in a process called shaping. Operant conditioning can Consumer Behaviour:
That is, when a response is followed by positive reinforcement in the form of a reward, when a response is followed by negative reinforcement, in order to avoid unpleasantness, and punishment which occurs when a response is followed by unpleasant events.While behavioural theories, like classical and operant conditioning, offer anumber of insights about some aspects of behaviour of considerable interestto marketers, e.g., for copy strategy and repetition in advertising (as identifiedby Howard 1963), they have been criticized for ignoring the capacities ofinsight and inference that people posses. The cognitive perspective asdiscussed next, underscores the role of internal mental processes inconsumer decision making. Following a brief introduction to the keyprinciples of the cognitive approach, the following section describes thedominant models of consumer decision making that are based on thecognitive problem solving postulates.
2.10The Cognitive PerspectiveIn contrast to behavioural theories of learning, the cognitive perspective stresses the role of information processing in consumer decision making. This perspective views people as problem solvers who actively use information from the world around them to master their environment.
However, much debate surrounds the issue of whether or when people are actually aware of these learning processes. On the one hand, there is some evidence for the existence of unconscious procedural knowledge. That is, people apparently do process at least some information in an automatic, passive way, which is a condition that has been termed mindlessness (Langer, 1983). Nonetheless, many modern theorists are beginning to regard some instances of conditioning as cognitive processes, especially where expectations are formed about the linkages between stimuli and responses. Studies using masking effects, wherein it is difficult for subjects to learn CS/UCS associations, show substantial reductions in conditioning (Allen ; Madden 1985). The information processing theory (or cognitive theory) is central to the variety of hierarchy of effect models which, as Barry and Howard (1990) explain, posit that consumers go through a “variety of stages, namely cognitive, affective, and conative, in responding to advertising, and other marketing messages”. Accordingly, “the dominant pattern of relationship between the three stages is that cognition (thought) precedes both affect (feeling) and conation (behaviour)” (Marsden ; Littler 1998). The most widely accepted position that opposes behaviourism is that thought and feeling can produce change in action directly. This is cognitivism; in its strongest form it suggests that attitudes control behaviour, and reinforcement only acts by changing attitudes. Overall, the implication for marketing strategy is that – “Consumers must be exposed to information e.g., advertising if it is to influence their behaviour” (Sternthal ; Craig 1982). In addition, the cognitive theories have been criticized for assuming that individuals are complex information processing entities. Nevertheless, the problem solving perspective has tended to dominate the field of consumer research. In addition, as discussed next, decision making models that have governed consumer theory, are in fact based on the fundamentals of the cognitive principle.
2.11Consumer Decision Making Models
The three major ‘comprehensive’ models for consumer decision making wereproposed by Nicosia (1966).These attempt to trace the psychological state of individual consumers fromthe point at which they become aware of the possibility of satisfying amaterial need by purchasing and consuming a product to their finalevaluation of the consequences of having done so.Engelet al. (1986) suggest that high involvement with a product results inan extended problem solving process which starts with problem recognition,followed by an information search, alternative evaluation, purchase, and postpurchase activities. This process is aided by an active information processing sequence involving exposure, attention, comprehension,yielding/acceptance, and retention. The choice determined by the outcomeof the information process-aided decision sequence may have satisfying ordissonant outcomes: Festinger (1957) first introduced the theory of cognitivedissonance for the consumer, which influence future purchasing. Engel andBlackwell (1982) also point out that environmental influences may affect thedecision sequence acting on the consumer’s motivation and intention, andthat unpredictable factors (such as non-availability of the desired brand orinsufficient funds) may result in modification of the actual choice made by aconsumer. This model assumes that observed consumer behaviour ispreceded by intrapersonal psychological states and events (attitudeintention-purchase sequence). Moreover, the model depicts thesepsychological events as outputs of the processing of information, taking forgranted that consumers seek and use information as part of their rationalproblem solving and decision making processes.
Thus, one of the main criticisms of the extended problem solving models is that they assume that consumers are complex and rational decisionmakers (Olshavsky & Granbois 1979). Ehrenberg (1988) criticized thesemodels because they cannot be precisely tested. The relationships betweenconcepts are poorly specified and they lack agreed methods for measuringthe concepts. It is argued that while, these steps in decision making arefollowed by consumers for some purchases, such a process is not anConsumer Behaviour: A Literature Reviewaccurate portrayal of many purchase decisions (Olshavsky and Granbois1979). Researchers recognize that decision makers actually possess arepertoire of strategies. A consumer evaluates the effort required to make aparticular choice, and then he or she chooses a strategy best suited to thatlevel of effort required. The sequence of events is known as constructiveprocessing. This process allows consumers to tailor their degree of cognitive”effort” to the task in hand (Bettman and Zins 1977). Thus, the limitedproblem solving and habitual decision making models, as described below,were developed to account for behaviour in purchase situations whereconsumers are not highly involved and therefore do not undertake a rigorous
problem solving approach.
2.12. Low Involvement and Habitual Decision MakingKrugman (1965) first used the concept of ‘high’ and ‘low’ involvement todifferentiate the types of cognitive activity that were elicited by purchasingaccording to the Engel et al. (1968) model. Consumer research stronglysuggests (Jacoby et al. 1977) that consumers have very limitedcapacities for receiving and using information, that they do not as a ruleundertake rational, comparative evaluations of brands on the basis of theirattributes or make final judgment among brands on the basis of such outputsof complex information processing as attitudes and intentions. Whenundertaking a limited problem solving process buyers are not motivated tosearch for information or to rigorously evaluate each alternative. Peopleinstead use simple decision rules to choose among alternatives. Forexample, consumers often apply heuristics (Kahneman & Tversky, 1972) or mental rules-of-thumb, such as, priceis positively related to quality (Hjorth-Andersen, 1987); brand names; andcountry of origin (Harris et al. 1994) to simplify decision making. While bothextended and limited problem solving modes involve some degree ofinformation search and deliberation, at the other end of the choicecontinuum, habitual decision processes are undertaken with little or noconscious effort. Many purchase decisions are so routinized that choicescharacterized by automaticity are performed with minimal effort and withoutconscious control (Alba & Hutchinson, 1988).
It is clear that the degree of cognitive effort exerted in any decision makingprocess is determined by the level of product differentiation and the level ofconsumer involvement with a given product category. While the perceivedrisk associated with a purchase (especially in the case of expensiveproducts) determines the degree of personal relevance to some extent; this isalso related to factors such as ego relatedness or the consumer’s selfconcept and social role (e.g., with the case of publicly consumed goods).These aspects of consumer behaviour are examined next.
2.13The Personality PerspectiveAs noted above, some purchases have more personal relevance thanothers. While this partly reflects on factors such as price, it also bears on the328 Moneesha Pachauriway in which some products enhance the consumer’s self concept i.e.,possessions are considered to reflect on a consumer’s image of him or herself. Mead (1934) used the role concept in his explanation of the social andindividual nature of persons. The dramaturgical perspective on consumerbehaviour views people much like actors who play different roles (Goffman,1959). Goffman (1959) introduced the concept a ‘managed situation’, theidea that people manage the impression that others have of them by the waythey present themselves. In the presence of others, the actor is seen toorganize his activity in order to express an impression that he wishes toconvey. The object of the study of role theory is to increase understanding ofrole enactment of individuals in social settings, so as to understand andpredict behaviour. Marketing’s interest in the study of personality derivesfrom the possibility that, in spite their uniqueness as individuals, members ofgroups and aggregates may possess a given trait or type in common witheach other e.g., extraversion (Eysenck & Eysenck, 1975); such groupings(typologies) might then become the basis of separate market segments andjustify special marketing action.
Personality in general is understood as a concept which accounts for theapparent consistencies and regularities of behaviour over time and across avariety of situations (Pervin, 1984). As such, personality constructs explainthose aspects of behaviour which are relatively stable across situations and,as a result, are predictive of future behaviour. Personality has also beenunderstood as the ‘unique way in which traits, attitudes, aptitudes, etc. areorganized in an individual’ (Marx & Hillix, 1979) and this draws attention tothe ways in which individuals differ from one another through the peculiarconfiguration of traits and other characteristics each possesses. Whileindividuals might not always be uniform and predictable in their patterns ofchoice in different situations, it might be possible to make sense of and toforecast the general reactions of broadly-defined groups and classes ofpurchasers. As discussed next, it is this concept of consumer generalbehavioural response patterns that forms the basis for marketing’spersonality based segmentation strategies.
2.14The Motivational Perspective and PsychographicsThe possibility of using measures of personality to guide marketing action,for example in segmenting markets psychographically, tailoring new brandsto the susceptibilities of innovative consumers, and repositioning maturebrands, has encouraged a large volume of research. Few significantrelationships, which would be of interest to marketing managers resultedfrom the research which concentrated upon the search for links betweenaspects of consumer choice (such as brand selection) and highly specificpersonality traits (such as sociability). However, the investigation ofpersonality types, broad bundles of complementary traits which describe anindividual’s general pattern of behavioural response has shown morepromise in the quest to describe and predict consumer behaviour. Thus, thesuccess of personality research is also partly attributed to the simultaneous Consumer Behaviour: A Literature Review 329widespread dissatisfaction with psychoanalytical techniques of motivationalresearch.The first attempts to apply Fruedian and neo-Feudian concepts, were made in the 1950s, when a perspective known asmotivational research was developed. Ernest Ditcher advocated the use ofpsychoanalytical techniques to uncover hidden motivations (e.g., tounderstand the deeper meanings of products and advertisements). Hestrongly argued that people could not be asked why they did what they diddirectly, because most of the time they did not know. Ditcher’s ideology of”truth-is-in-the-subconscious”, behind his in-depth interviews was muchcriticized by traditional statistical researchers who called such motivationalresearch a “pseudo science” (Piirto 1991). Perhaps the mostpersistent problem with motivational research was that it failed one of thecardinal rules of scientific methods – replicability. Two researchers coulddraw two totally different conclusions from the same interview, becausemotivational research was so dependent upon individual interpretation.
Thus, the widespread dissatisfaction with simple demographics anddisenchantment with motivational research, coupled with the increasingaccessibility of computers gave many researchers the raw material needed tomeasure the quantitative elements of personality traits, motivations, andpsychological attributes (Yankelovich, 1958). As consumer researcherswere increasingly influenced by psychology (e.g., ego concepts such as selfesteem)and sociology (e.g., social status and social character, for examplethe Riesman model), in their attempts to understand the changing nature ofconsumer values (which offered potential benefits to market segmentation);simultaneously, a wider emphasis on typologies also emerged such asbenefit segmentation (Haley, 1972), lifestyle or Activities, Interests, andOpinions, or AIOs (Wells ;Tigert 1971), and psychographics e.g., VALs.
In many applications the term psychographics is used interchangeablywith lifestyle to denote the separation of consumers into categories based ondifferences in choices of consumption activities and product usage. While a number of typologies are used to segment consumers, the underlyingobjective is to identify the subjective differences between observably similarconsumer characteristics (e.g., by identifying the different ways in whichdemographically similar consumers chose to spend their leisure, time, andmoney). Demographics allow marketers to describe who buys, whereaspsychographics allow them to identify why they do (Solomon, 1995).
The adoption of a lifestyle marketing perspective implies that consumerresearchers must look at patterns of behaviour to understand consumers. Anexamination of the processes by which consumers make a variety of choicesbetween product categories, in turn, facilitates clarity about people’s use ofproducts to define lifestyles. Indeed, many products and services tend to “gotogether,” usually because they tend to be selected by the same types ofpeople. Douglas and Isherwood (1979) noted, “…all goods carrymeaning, but none by itself…The meaning is in the relations between all thegoods just as music is in the relations marked out by the sounds and not in330 Moneesha Pachauriany one note.” Therefore, an important part of lifestyle marketing is toidentify the set of products and services that the consumers associate with aspecific lifestyle. Product complementarity occurs when the symbolicmeanings of different products are related to each other (Solomon, 1983).
“These sets of complementary products, are termed, consumptionconstellations, and are used by consumers to define, communicate, andperform social roles” (Solomon 1995). However, more recently,research suggests, that anti-constellations i.e., the abandonment, avoidance,
or aversion which is linked to anti-choice (Hogg, 1998), serves as a betterindicator of consumer-product associations and corresponding social roles.
Nevertheless, goods acquire meanings within social contexts and consumersassociate or disassociate with sets of products, based upon theircompatibility with roles, lifestyles, and social groups or classes, as discussednext. Moreover, it will become apparent, that these social groups exertinfluence on behaviour in the form of referent power, which in turndetermines how consumers make certain product choices.
2.15Consumer Behaviour as a Social Decision Making ProcessVeblen (1899) was the first to introduce the idea of conspicuousconsumption, i.e., possessions have symbolic value. Many researchers havecommented on the social influences on behaviour. The various streams ofthought crystallized into the modern social sciences of sociology, culturalanthropology, and social psychology. Basic to them is the view that man’sattitudes and behaviours are influenced by several levels of society forexample, culture, subcultures, social classes, reference groups, and face-tofacegroups. Culture refers to the values, ideas, artefacts, and othermeaningful symbols that help individuals communicate, interpret, andevaluate as members of a society. Marketing acts as a value transmitter thatsimultaneously shapes culture and is shaped by it. Marketing is then achannel through which cultural meanings are transferred to consumer goods(McCracken, 1987). Products act as social symbols and are thereforesignificant of one’s social class. Social classes are composed of individualswho share similar values, interests, and behaviours. People within a givensocial class are approximately equal in terms of their social standing in thecommunity. They work in roughly similar occupations, and they tend to havesimilar lifestyles by virtue of their income levels and common tastes. Thesepeople tend to socialize with one another and share many ideas and valuesregarding the way life should be lived (Coleman, 1983). Class membershipinfluences an individual’s consumption behaviour as products consumed byindividuals have symbolic value which also reflect on their role in society.Society therefore develops norms i.e., informal rules that governbehaviour. Consumers conform to norms broadly due to their normativesocial influence, which occurs when individuals conform to meet theexpectations of a person or group; or informational social influence, whichrefers to conformity that occurs because the group’s behaviour is taken asConsumer Behaviour: A Literature Review 331evidence about reality. Consumers belong to many different groups thatinfluence their behaviour. Reference groups refer to all external influencesthat provide social cues (Gergen & Gergen 1981).
The likelihood that an individual will become a part of a consumer’sidentificational reference group depends on several factors. One such factoris propinquity. A study on housing, conducted by Festinger et al. (1950)revealed, that physical structure has a lot to do with whom we get to knowand how popular we are. As physical distance decreases and interaction (orphysical nearness) increases relationships are more likely to form. Accordingto the mere exposure phenomenon, we come to like people or things simplyas a result of being exposed to them more often. Thus, greater frequency ofinteraction may help determine one’s set of local referents. As the value ofthe reference group to the individual increases, so too does the likelihoodthat the group will guide consumption patterns. Thus, groups exert socialpower which refers to “…the capacity to alter the actions of others” (Gergen& Gergen 1981). The referent may be a cultural figure, a person, or agroup whose influence is confined to the consumer’s immediate environment.
Some groups or individuals exert a greater influence than others and for abroader range of consumption decisions. For example, parents may play apivotal role in the forming of values toward some issues. A reference groupthat helps set and enforce fundamental standards of conduct exerts anormative influence. The challenge to the marketer is to determine which ofthese social levels are the most important in influencing the demand for hisproduct.
It is clear, therefore, that a number of factors (at both the individual andsocial levels) act simultaneously to influence behaviour. Furthermore, thelevel of personal relevance of products is determined by the degree to whichthey relate to a consumer’s self concept and thereby serve to enhance his orher self image; as well as the symbolic meanings they encapsulate andconvey at a broader social or cultural level. Thus, the level of involvementwith a product category may vary from individual to individual. Moreover, aconsumer may be highly involved in a purchase decision but may not lendhimself or herself to a rational approach (as seen with the case of productsthat relate closely to a consumer’s self concept). Thus, the type of decisionprocess that a purchase entails depends upon the degree of consumerinvolvement, which in turn depends upon a whole gamut of factors, asdiscussed above. The relative importance of each of these factors in thedecision making process, is significant from the point of view of the sequenceof events that occur en route to attitude formation, as discussed next.
2.16The Attitudinal PerspectiveAttitudes are predispositions felt by buyers before they enter the buyingprocess. The buying process itself is a learning experience and can lead to a change in attitudes (Politz, 1958). Thus, attitudes do not automaticallyguarantee all types of behaviour. They are really the product of social forcesinteracting with the individual’s unique temperament and abilities. Thus, as332 Moneesha Pachauridiscussed above, social influences determine some but not all of thebehavioural variations in people. Two individuals subject to the sameinfluences are not likely to have identical attitudes, although these attitudes will probably converge at more points than those of two strangers selected atrandom.
Most researchers agree that an attitude has three components: affect, behaviour, and cognition. Affect refers to the way a consumer feels about anattitude object4, behaviour involves the person’s intentions5 to do somethingwith regard to an attitude object, and finally, cognition refers to the beliefs aconsumer has about an attitude object. While all three components of anattitude are important, their relative importance will vary depending upon theconsumer’s level of motivation with regard to the attitude object. Attituderesearchers have developed the concept of a hierarchy of effects to explainthe relative impact of the three components. Each hierarchy specifies that afixed sequence of steps occur en route to an attitude. According to thetheory of cognitive information processing, attitudes are formed in the orderof beliefs, affect, and behaviour. Attitudes based on behavioural learningfollow the beliefs, behaviour, and affect sequence. And finally, attitudesformed based on the experiential hierarchy follow the affect, behaviour, andbeliefs route. A consumer who is highly involved with a product category andwho perceives a high level of product differentiation between alternatives willfollow the cognitive hierarchy (beliefs-affect-behaviour). From the marketersperspective the sequence of attitude formation is pertinent from acommunications point of view. Accordingly, here, a marketer will first attemptto create Attention, then Interest and Desire, and finally Action (AIDA).
Thus, from a strategic point of view, Multi-attribute attitude models, suchas the Fishbein (1983) model, have proved useful in specifying the differentelements that work together to influence people’s evaluations of attitudeobjects and ultimately predict consumer attitudes; products or services may be composed of many attributes, or qualities, some of which may be moreimportant than others to particular people. Also a person’s decision to act onhis or her attitude is affected by other factors, such as whether it is felt thatbuying a product would be met with approval by friends and family. Thecomplexity of attitudes is underscored by multi-attribute attitude models, inwhich sets of beliefs and evaluations are identified and combined to predictan overall attitude.
While multi-attribute models have been used extensively, by consumerresearchers they make certain assumptions that limit their applicability inaccurate prediction. For example they assume that it is possible toadequately specify all relevant attributes that, for example, a consumer willuse when evaluating a product choice. The theory of reasoned action (Ajzen4 An “attitude object” is anything toward which one has an attitude5 It is important to note that intention does not always result in actual behaviour. Forexample, when a desired brand is out of stock, a person’s past behaviour may be abetter indicator of future behavior (Bagozzi et al. 1991)
Consumer Behaviour: A Literature Review 333and Fishbein 1977) attempts to improve in many ways the predictability of attitude models by integrating factors such as behavioural intentions(recognizing that certain uncontrollable factors inhibit prediction of actualbehaviour), subjective norms (the revaluation of consumer preferences forproduct choice, to include the effects of what others think), and attitudestoward the act of buying (rather than towards the product alone).
Overall, the attitude models have been useful in identifying the sequenceof attitude formation and thereby behaviour, to guide effective advertising andcopy design strategies. An example of this is elicited in the “involvementparadox”, that is, the less important the product is to the consumer the more important are the many marketing stimuli (e.g., packaging, jingles inadvertisements), devised (to create positive affective responses for instance)to sell it. Accordingly, the Elaboration Likelihood Model, states that executiveelements of the advertisement are critical where personal relevance is lowand information takes a peripheral route to persuasion. Conversely, it statesthat where involvement with a product category is high, information takes thecentral route to persuasion and therefore, content related information iscritical (Petty et al. 1983). Models like the Elaboration Likelihood Model havebeen useful in designing effective advertising strategies based on consumerinvolvement with different product categories.
While the perspectives discussed so far, reflect the effectiveness ofisolating individual influences to examine their impact on behaviour, the situational perspective, as discussed next, is characterized by an emphasison a totality or set of factors that work simultaneously to influence behaviour,within any given context.
2.17 conclusionThe origins of relationship marketing are rooted in the area of industrial marketing and service. Customers and business persons became interested in the B to B and B to C (Business-to-Business relationship, Business-to-customer), and customer-supplier relationships. There was recognition that, in services marketing, the goal is to not only to attract customers but to maintain them in order to develop relationships with them on the long term. In this context, relationship marketing is seen in a social science perspective with a holistic view of business. In other words, whereas transactional marketing is incorporated in the science of management as a specialized discipline, relationship marketing touches many fields such as psychology, organizational behavior, and sociology. In addition, a conceptual model was showing that relationship marketing is an intrinsic social exchange compared with marketing management which is an extrinsic economic exchange. The intrinsic exchange creates a perception of personal obligations, commitment and trust.
Chapter 3Research Methodology3.0 IntroductionThe selection of appropriate methodology to conduct the research in context of the identified research problems is necessary to reach objective based outcomes (Bergh and Ketchen, 2009). The current chapter deals with the identification of the most suitable research paradigm, approach, design, data collection and analysis method that is applicable to resolve the research questions.According to Saunders et al. (2009), research methodology involves the research study of the research topic and thus complete and analyse the research process in details. Researcher in this research carry out the detailing and analysis process through collecting the data and thus in accordance to it relate it and analyse the collected data through the process of research methodology.
Researcher in this process implements various concepts and theories in the research, which help the researcher to analysis the research topic in a far better way. Thus, researcher methodology helps the researcher to implement these various theories and concepts and thus to analyse the research topic in a more detailing way. Implementation of various theories and concepts also help the researcher in the research methodology to analyse the corporate social responsibility in ensuring the sustainability of the business operations globally (Bergh and Ketchen, 2009).Though however, research methodology sometimes leads to an error which may sometimes leads to a limits to the researcher to carry out the research process in detail. Thus, a researcher in different ways tries to analyse the collected data vividly and thus helps in sustaining of the business operations in implementation of corporate social responsibility within the organisation.
3.1 Methods outlineThe type of investigation carried out in the current research is descriptive that helps to conduct a comprehensive study. The choice of research philosophy is positivism and the research process implemented is deductive approach. Positivism paradigm and deductive reasoning help to test the exiting theories with the help of empirical data obtained through primary research. Primary data is collected by implementing mixed method, i.e. combination of quantitative data collection. The research strategy to collect quantitative data was survey questionnaire distributed to 100 customers of Aneja Constructions India Limited (ACIL).
3.2 Research OnionLayers in the research onion developed by Saunders et al. (2009), provide a systematic framework to carry out the research in an orderly manner. Harrison and Reilly (2011) argue that the research onion gives a generic research process that helps the researcher to resolve underpinning issues of making choices for data collection methods and strategies. Unfolding each layer of the onion step by step, helps to reach the core. The stages in the research onion start with the identification of most suitable philosophies in the epistemological standpoint, followed by approaches whether deductive or inductive, strategies such as surveys, case studies, action research to choose from. The next layer talks about choices to be made, whether to use mono, mixed or multi methods. In order to proceed with the choices made, it is necessary to develop a time frame in the form of time horizons and carry out either a cross sectional research or a longitudinal study. The final layer of the research onion provides the data collection and data analysis to be followed and obtain the findings to get the outcome.
Figure 1: Research Onion(Source: Saunders et al. 2009)
As illustrated in the above diagram, research onion helps in study of each layer of research techniques that will enable better research and more information for the result analysis. A researcher needs to follow each layer of research onion so that a structured procedure is adopted for the research process.
3.3 Research Paradigm/PhilosophyEpistemology deals with the nature of knowledge perceived by the researcher as to what is acceptable knowledge. Positivism, interpretivism and realism are the key paradigms that constitute the philosophical standpoint of epistemology. Positivism philosophy assumes that material facts already exist in the universe and just need to be analysed using scientific method (Freshwater, 2007). Positivism supports academic studies that are formed on the basis of social realities in a methodical system that replicates the process as used in accepted science. Interpretivism is an anti-positivist theory, and assumes that social research cannot be simply tested using scientific research. On the other hand, realism assumes that objects that exist in the universe can be felt by the human senses but are not dependent on human acuity and perception. Pragmatism is a different research philosophy that argues that research can be conducted using the positivist and the interpretivism approach.
Positivism supports objective based studies and extensive data testing using scientific process (Doman, 2011, p265). As opposed to positivism, the philosophy of interpretivism supports subjective based studies where in-depth qualitative analysis can be carried out.To understand the relationship marking in building a positive consumer behaviour, it is necessary to gather human opinion and views that include human logic (Larson and Phillips, 2013, pp.24). Mere data testing using positivist approach will help to elaborately relationship marketing to build positive consumer behaviour. Hence, quantitative analysis obtained by interacting with survey from consumers of ACIL. Hence, positivism philosophyhas been implemented to conduct this research.
3.3.1 Justification for selecting positivismPositivism assumes that the purpose of scientific research is to uncover the truth and make is possible to predict and control. It supports objective based studies using scientific principles as used in natural sciences. Interpreitivism is a philosophy that is subjective and socially constructed through human reasoning and perceptions, and does not involve data testing. Interpretivism is considered weak for the study because human reasoning and arguments cannot be feasible to test the existing theories and reach suitable outcomes. Positivism is considered appropriate for the current study as it align well with the deductive process as applied in this research so as to test existing theories with the help of data collected through empirical research.
3.4 Research ApproachThe selection of research approach, whether inductive or deductive depends on the nature of the research topic and the complexity of the problems identified. Inductive process is a theory building approach that starts with observation and data collection, formulating tentative hypothesis, analysing the collected data and finally the development of new knowledge (Freshwater, 2007). As opposed to inductive approach, the deductive process starts with extensive study of existing theories, followed by identification of research gaps and hypothesis development, analysing the existing data using scientific methods and finally testing the existing studies (Bryman and Bell, 2011).
Deductive approach follows a general to a specific process and narrows down theoretical knowledge after testing. However, inductive approach follows a specific to a general process and extends conceptual knowledge to develop a new theory.
Deductive approach is a theory testing process, which helps to test existing theories and conceptual models with the help of empirical data obtained from primary research. On the other hand, inductive approach is a theory building process where the research starts with careful observation of a phenomena, followed by hypothesis development and confirmation (Meyers and Woerkom, 2014).
3.4.1 Justifying the use of deductive approachDeductive approach is appropriate for the research as broad literature comprising of theoretical models are tested with the help of first hand/empirical data obtained through surveys and interview, i.e. primary data. Inductive approach is not suitable for the study because the scope for new theory development is very limited due to the fact that social media theories and brand identity are common areas of study in the field of marketing research (Huxham and Vangen, 2008). Moreover, the inductive process makes extensive use of secondary data analysis and quantitative data interpretations, which are not extensively used in this research. New knowledge developed on the basis of primary research findings such as observations may not always be underpinning and could be subject to criticisms (Saunders et al. 2009). Hence, in order to avoid any complexity due to new knowledge development the inductive approach is avoided and testing existing theories, following deductive approach is found feasible to carry out the research.
In the current research, the use of inductive approach cannot be made as this approach is supported by interpretivism and qualitative data analysis. Effective of relationship marketing in building positive consumer behaviour by going through subjective based data available from various responds from consumes,government publications, books and articles relating to exchange rates and its impact on business performance.
3.5Research DesignThe major types of research designs used in an academic research are in form of exploratory, explanatory and descriptive. Exploratory design is followed when the research problems are not completely clear to the researcher and it helps to obtain peripheral information relating to the area under study (Bryman and Bell, 2011). This design only provides a base level knowledge that may be utilised to develop a research hypothesis.
On the other hand, explanatory design helps to establish relationship between variables while explaining ’cause and effect’ relationship (Denzin and Lincoln, 2011). Descriptive design helps to carry out an extensive research and explore the answers to the identified research problems from several dimensions such as what?, Why?, Who?, How? and When?.
Figure 7: Research Design(Source 7: Saunders et al. 2009, pp-52)
3.5.1 Justification for choosing descriptive designIn case of research design, the descriptive investigation will consider as it helps in providing the broader perspectives of the research to the researcher and after following this, the researcher can develop their own reasoning and the ideas. It helps in giving the detailed analysis and also the useful description about the topic (Meyers and Woerkom, 2014, pp.202). Exploratory research is not found to be suitable for understanding the volatility of exchange rates and its impact on business because it will only help to give a marginal information. Similarly, explanatory research will only help to establish the relationship between the key research variables instead of in-depth qualitative analysis.
Descriptive research design is found to be suitable for the study because the nature of the problems in this research is clearly identified and defined. The current research has formal set of objectives and uses a mixed method towards data collection, which is supported by descriptive design. Exploratory design is considered weak for the study because obtaining background information will not be adequate enough to resolve the research issues.
Using descriptive research, the various areas that impact relationship marketing which helps to will be investigated from multiple dimensions. The core research problems relating to such volatility consumer behaviour and its impact on business sustainability and performance will be explored in context of what, why and how of the topic (Pettinger, 2015). Descriptive research will also help to relate the past business performances with the current business productivity due to such marketing relationship with consumers.
3.6 Data collectionThe accurate result achievement for a research topic is largely dependent on the derivation of relevant and significant data through application of correct and most suitable data collection procedures (Onwuegbuzie and Leech , 2009, p. 376). In order to undertake a properly formatted and standard research work, this research adopts the method of applying both primary and secondary data collection procedures.
3.6.1 Secondary data collectionThe secondary data collection is executed prior to the primary data collection method. Secondary data regarding the attitudes of parents having adolescents with behavioral and emotional problems are retrieved from the relevant journals, articles, books and magazines. In order to refine the research and make it more informative and current data enriched, website contents are also accessed. As put forward by Toloie-Eshlaghyet al. (2011, p. 108), going through the secondary data enable the deep and clear understanding and knowledge gaining regarding the concerned topic. It thus develops the researcher’s base knowledge to conduct an efficient primary data collection procedure and analysis by aligning the results with the theoretical concepts and base created through the learning from the secondary data.
3.6.2 Primary data collectionPrimary data collection procedure is executed after an efficient secondary data collection and study. Selection of the appropriate sample, size and questions is aided by the knowledge developed through secondary data analysis. Primary data is retrieved from the selected sample population through implementation of appropriate procedures. Based on forms in which data is collected, Lodico and Spaulding (2010, p. 11) divided the primary data into two significant groups as quantitative data and qualitative data. Analysis of this data and its alignment with the secondary data provides with the accurate result derivation for the research.
3.7 Methods of data collectionData collection methods used in a research is in terms of qualitative and quantitative data collection. Each type of data collection technique can be discusses as follows –
Quantitative data collection – Figurative data collected through quantitative data research strategy can be statistically interpreted and analysed using scientific principles. Denzin and Lincoln (2011) explain that quantitative data supports the use of numerical explanation and puts across a strong sense of objective based study.
Survey questionnaire –survey questionnaire provides a cost effective, simple and a convenient method of gaining access to respondents spread over a wide geographical area. In the current primary research, questionnaire was distributed to at 100 customers of Aneja Constructins India Limited, using the online questionnaire distribution technique. The pattern of the questionnaire in the survey was structured, closed ended and emphasised on the customers’ acuity about social media participation. The questions focused on the type of social media tools and sites that the customers of Aneja Constructins India Limited followed, the nature of content they shared and the social events organized by the company in which they participated. The main motive behind survey was to understand how far the customers were convinced by the relationship marketing strategyof Aneja Constructins India Limited in order to engage customers, and build trust to establish positive consumer behaviour.
Initially the questionnaire was sent to 150 customers online that formed the sample frame. Out of these 150, at the end of one week, 120 surveys were received back, while the rest were either ignored or sent incomplete. To meet the sample target of 100 customers and maintain simplicity in the calculation, the first 100 surveys were considered.
3.8 Data AnalysisNumerical response obtained through questionnaire was converted into percentage with the application of Ms Excel tool. The converted data was represented in the form of graphical charts and tables to present the findings in an easy and understandable manner.
Rich, in-depth and empirical information obtained from the interviews were recorded in the form of transcripts since digital recording was not permitted. The transcripts were interpreted to analyse the qualitative data and the findings were explained in context of the literature review and the identified research problems.
3.9 SamplingThe use of probability sampling, simple random strategy was used to sample the 50 customers of Debenhams to take part in the survey. Probability sampling gives equal opportunity to each element in the chosen population, equal chance to be selected for participation (Onwuegbuzie and Leech, 2009). It avoids any element of biasness and is a cost effective method of sample selection.
3.9.1 Sampling Technique:Sample considered for studying branding and its impact on consumers’ decision-making process are smaller in number that can suit the criteria of the research topic. The sample for customers ofAneja Constructins India Limited was simple random probability sampling where no criteria for selection were considered. With the help of online questionnaire, Customers were asked for participation where survey was performed based on Likert’s scale rating from 1 to 5.
3.9.2 Sample Size:The sample size is divided into two forms for qualitative and quantitative technique. For studying the quantitative research techniques, 100 customers of Aneja Constructins India Limited were considered and were interacted with the help of online questionnaire forms. As no qualitative data were selected so no interviews were considered. Thus, the total sample size of the research study is 100, comprising both the qualitative and quantitative forms.
3.10 Time schedule (Gantt chart)Any research topics are either longitudinal or cross-sectional in nature, depending upon the time allotment considered for research for a particular topic. In the present research, cross-sectional study is adopted that has limited time-period so application of Gantt chart is considered for easy completion of the research work. Saunderset al. (2009) stated that Gantt chart helps in segregating the key tasks as per the structure of the study and helps in better completion of the topic.
Main activities 1st week 2nd week 3rd week 4th+5th week 6th week 7th week
Selection of the topic Composition of the literature review Research methodology Collection of primary data Analysis and interpretation of data Findings Conclusion and Recommendation Final submission 3.11 Ethical considerationsThe purpose and the need for the research were fully explained to the research participants before initiating the research. None of the participants were forced to take part in the primary research and had the full liberty to withdraw from the exercise any time they wanted. The questions formulated for the primary data collection strictly adhere to the research problems and none of the questions were prepared in such a manner to hurt the sentiments of the participants. The participants were also allowed to give their response in an autonomous manner without being exerted any kind of external pressure. To maintain integrity the conversation during the interview with the managers were not recorded as they objected to it and transcripts were maintained.
Data collected through primary research was not manipulated or tailored artificially in order to reach the desired research outcomes. The data was not used for any commercial purposes but was only used for the academic reasons. Data sources used to collect secondary data were from genuine sources, relevant and not from any outdated materials.
During the process of research methodology, a researcher needs to follow a code of conduct that helps in identifying the wrong and right set of behaviours required to be adopted during the process (Toloie-Eshlaghy et al. 2011). The researcher for analysing the role of branding in customers’ decision-making process tried to follow few ethical considerations that can help in adding standardisation to the research topic.
Data Application: Data gained via study of the topic is helpful in understanding the present trend of consumers’ buying behaviour and decision-making process with special reference to Aneja Constructins India Limited. However, any commercial application of the data will be avoided so that the findings can be strictly limited to academic purpose only.
Respondents’ Involvement: The researcher tried to insert no external influence on pressure over the respondents for taking part in the feedback process of the research topic. Respondents with a sense on voluntary participation were encouraged to participate in the following research topic.
Respondents’ Anonymity: It was ensured that any form of mental or physical harassment was not involved with the respondents so the identities of the respondents were concealed as per the requests of the participants.
Based on the above-mentioned list of ethical considerations, the researcher tried to maintain the basic research ethics.
3.12 Research Limitations:A research study that can help in gaining results of the concerned topic is allowed to encounter list of restrictions that are both avoidable and non-avoidable in nature. Silverman (2005) commented that limitations within a research topic are natural that also defines the area with restricted scope and abilities. In the particular research work, areas encountered with research limitations are enlisted as following:
Reliability: Respondents involved in the process were not involved in any form of pressure or influence. However, customers of Aneja Constructins India Limited can be biased towards the organisation that may affect the findings of the research topic. Thus, issues related to reliability are present in the study.
Time-Constraint: Due to cross-sectional nature of the study, the researcher had time limitation that led to study of the work within a short time. Many deep details of the study was not analysed due to cross-sectional study that also erupted as a cause of research limitations for studying the organisation, Primark.
Budget-Constraint: With a limited budget, the researcher faced few limitations in the study of the research topic. Lack of finance limited the application of SPSS software that could have enhanced the quality analysis with better statistical tool applications.
3.13 Summary:This chapter reveals the selection of the appropriate research methods, designs, approach, and philosophy as per the research topic. Since the topic of importance of cruise tourism in London is more experimental than theoretical, the descriptive research design is found to be appropriate. The deductive research approach applied in the research seems to be helpful in movement of the research from a general towards a specific view. The positivism research philosophy is successful in conducting the research with an aim to investigate the importance of cruise tourism in London. Primary data collection method of quantitative data collection process works effectively to retrieve relevant information regarding marketing relationship, effects of consumer positive behaviour. The data analysis through graphical representation and Likert’s scale also proves efficient enough to attain a productive interpretation aiding in better and easy understanding of the information and the research topic as well.
Chapter 4Data analysis and data presentation4.0IntroductionIn this present chapter the researcher will be interpreting and analysing the data collected from the customers of the company of ACIL. A quantitative analysis of the research will help the researcher in carrying out a detailed investigation of the research work and arrive at conclusive results. A proper data interpretation and analysis of the acquired data will assist the researcher to implement the theoretical concepts and learning into the practical field. According to(), there are several complexities and restrictions associated with accurate data interpretation and analysis as regards data scheming, calculation and authenticating the source of data among many others. Therefore it becomes mandatory to cross check it before proceeding with the interpretation process.
The role of relationship marketing in building positive customer behavior will be investigated through the quantitative analysis of the both the primary data obtained for study (Dul and Hak, 2012) . The researcher will concentrate on developing information from the collected data based on the feedback of the respondents in relation to the topic of study. The customers of the company have been considered for acquiring the primary data.
4.1 Quantitative analysisIn the current section, the customers ofACIL will be considered for carrying out the quantitative analysis. This will in turn assist the researcher in gauging the impact of relationship marketing onbuilding positive and strong enduring relationship with customers that can in turn enhance the . In the quantitive analysis phase, 100 customers have been considered as the sample unit for study. Out of the total sample unit, 50 customers have been chosen from the business to business segment and 50 customers from the business to customer segment. Thefeedback of these customers has been gathered for scrutiny from their responses duly filled in their questionnaire forms.
Q1. What is your gender?
Options Response frequency Response Percentage Total Respondents
Male 60 60% 100
Female 40 40% 100
Graph 1: Showing gender wise segmentation of respondents of the surveyFindings:
The researcher has selected a total of 100 customers of ACIL Ltd. for the survey both from the business to business as well as business to customer segments. As per the responses of the customers duly frilled by them in the questionnaire form, the gender-wise response of the customers can be understood. It is evident from the survey that among 100 respondents 60% percent happens to be male and 40% happens to be female. This shows that the construction company ACIL Ltd. has more male customers than female customers. The gender wise segmentation of the market helps the researcher to understand the targetcustomers of the construction company.
It is evident from the above result that the target customers of the ACIL Ltd. are primarily male with much lesser percentage of female. The gender wise segmentation of the customers of the company shall help the researcher to understand its target market and can devise strategies aimed at luring more of new customers and retaining the old ones. This result also points out the fact that the construction company can also design new strategies to attract more female customers while gaining and retaining more male customers.
Q2. Which age group do you belong to?
Options Response frequency Response Percentage Total Respondents
Less than 20 years 8 8% 100
2)- 30 years 20 20% 100
3)- 40 years 45 45% 100
4)- 50 years 15 15% 100
More than 50 years 10 12% 100
Graph 2: Showing age distribution of the respondents of the survey conducted for ACIL Ltd.Findings:
The feedback from the respondents of the survey reveals the age distribution of the respondents of the survey conducted for ACIL Ltd. The result from the above study shows that 8% of the customers are below the age of 20 years, 20% of the customers are below the age of 30 years,40% of the customers belong to the age of below 40 years, 15 % in the age group of less than 50 years and 12% of them belong to the age4 group of more than 50 years. The age wise distribution of the customers of the company also helps in appropriate segmentation of the target market of the company.
The target customers of the company can be understood from the results of the survey with age set as the parameter, this in turn can help the company in designing innovative relationship marketing strategies directed at better targeting and positioning of the products and services of the company. It is seen that the preference of the customers belonging to different age groups vary widely. Therefore a n age wise segmentation of the customers of the company can help the RM managers to devise strategies targeted at satisfying the customers belonging to different age groups.
Q3. For how long have you been a customer of ACIL Ltd.?
Options Response frequency Response Percentage Total Respondents
Less than 1 year 25 25% 100
More than 1 year 35 35% 100
More than 3 years 25 25% 100
More than 5 years 15 15% 100
Graph 3: Showing the duration of association of the customers with the company ACIL Ltd.Finding:
The present analysis reveals that 25% of the customers are associated with ACIL Ltd. for less than one year, while 35% of the customers are associated for more than one year. The data also reveals that 25% of the customers of the company have been associated for quite a long duration of more than 3 years whereas only 15% happens to be their customers for more than 5 years.
The present analysis provides comprehensive understanding about the fact the there is need to strengthen the relationship with the customers of the company and build a strong enduring bond with them in order to retain a larger market share in the construction industry. As is apparent from the result of the survey quite a high percentage of customers are associated with the company for less than one year. However, percentage declines with time. This indicates that the relationship marketing strategies of the companyare not strong enough to retain customers for longer duration and the company is losing customers to their rivals due to the switching over decision of the customers. This put light on the fact that the company should also concentrate on redesigning their relationship marketing strategies aimed at building a positive customer buying behaviours essential for enhancing the sales figure of the company as well as building a brand loyalty of the customers.
Q4. How far do you agree that the ACIL ltd maintains open communication with the customers?
Options Response frequency Response Percentage Total Respondents
Strongly agree 15 15% 100
Agree 20 20% 100
Neither Agree nor Disagree 10 10% 100
Disagree 25 25% 100
Strongly disagree 30 30%
Graph 4: Showing the responses of the customers regarding maintenance of open communication system of ACIL ltd.Finding:
It can be viewed from the results of the survey that 15% of the respondents strongly agree with the fact that the company maintains open communications with the customers and 20% only agrees with the given proposition under consideration. On the other hand, 30% of the sample is in strong disagreement and 25% in disagreement with the proposition. However, 10% of the respondents neither agree nor disagree with the matter under concern.
It is evident from the results of the study that the customers of the company ACIL Ltd. are dissatisfied with the nature of open communication it maintains with the customers. This clearly prompts the need for rectifying and modifying the current communication process maintained in the customer relationship management system of the company. The RM managers can adopt corrective measures and devise appropriate RM strategies directed to bridge the gap identified in the current system.
Q5. How far do you agree that the ACIL Ltd. provides an effective after sales services to its customers?
Options Response frequency Response Percentage Total Respondents
Strongly agree 15 15% 100
Agree 25 25% 100
Neither Agree nor Disagree 30 30% 100
Disagree 20 20% 100
Strongly disagree 10 10% 100
Graph 5: Showing the responses of the customers towards the after sales services provided by ACIL Ltd.Findings:
It can be observed from the present segment that 15% of customers strongly agree about the fact that the company provides adequate after sales services. However, 10%of the customers are not at all satisfied with the after sales services of the company and therefore they have strongly disagreed the proposition and have put forward a totally different view about the after sales services of the company. The result of the above study also reveals that 25% of the customers have agreed about the fact that the after sales services provided by the company are at satisfying level and is adequate though have not strongly approved the fact. On the other hand,20% of the respondents have disagreed the fact the after sales services of the company i9s adequate to meet the needs of the customers after the sales transaction is over. In the present segment of the study quite a large percentage of the respondents have put forward neutral views about the propositions.
It can be found from the result of the above study that a bulk of the customers has put forward their views in favour of the proposition and comparatively lesser percentage of the customers have opined against the proposition. This shows that the company ACIL Ltd. offers adequate after sales services to its customers. However, the percentage of customers against the proposition is also quite high. The company can adopt measures to improve their after sales services to convince and satisfy larger percentage of the customers about their after sales services. The outcome of the survey also reveals that strikingly a huge percentage of the respondents have chosen to stay neutral on this issue. The company may design improved RM strategies in order to convince this huge percentage of customers in order to build a positive customer buying behaviour essential to retain them and dissuade them from switching over to the rival firms present in the industry.
Q6. How far do you agree that the ACIL Ltd. exchange customer feedback?
Options Response frequency Response Percentage Total Respondents
Strongly agree 10 10% 100
Agree 20 20% 100
Neither Agree nor Disagree 15 15% 100
Disagree 25 25% 100
Strongly disagree 30 30% 100
Graph 6: Showing the response percentage of the customers towards the exchange of customer feedback of the company ACIL Ltd.Finding:
In this segment 10% of the customers strongly agree the fact that the company satisfactorily exchanges and shares the customer feedback. The data also reveals that 20% of the customers agree the fact and have put forward their views in favour of the proposition. However, 30% of the customers have strongly opined against the proposition and 25% of them have just disagreed the fact though not strongly enough. Here, the outcome of the survey shows that 15% of the customers have put forward neutral views about the customer feedback sharing and exchanging system of the company.
The above observation reveals that a large percentage of the sample is not satisfied with the customer feedback sharing and exchanging system of the company. These points out that the company needs to incorporate improvedcommunication channels for exchanging the feedback of the customers and redesign the communication strategies in order to enhance theRM strategies. An improved feedback sharing system can help the company to identify the gaps in their products as well as their services and adopt measures to improve the same. The poor feedback sharing mechanism also indicates the loopholes in the present relationship marketing strategies of the company and clearly directs towards the need for improvement of the same.
Q7. How far do you agree that you trust the relationship you share with ACIL Ltd.?
Options Response frequency Response Percentage Total Respondents
Strongly agree 20 20% 100
Agree 25 25% 100
Neither Agree nor Disagree 15 15% 100
Disagree 22 22% 100
Strongly disagree 18 18% 100
Graph 7: Showing the responses of the customers towards the degree of trust in their relationship with the companyFinding:
It can be observed from the present segment that 20% of the customers strongly agree to have trust in the relationship with the company ACIL Ltd. and 25% of the respondents have also to agreed to enjoy trust in their association with ACIL Ltd. However, 22% have put forward different views and lacks trust in their relationship with the company. Moreover,18% of the customers strongly lack trust that clearly reveals their higher levels of dissatisfaction as regards their trust in the relationship they share with the company. However, 15% of the respondents in the sample have stayed neutral on the present context under consideration.
The above observation reveals that a very large percentage of the sample have high degree of confidence and trust in the relationship they share with the company and have put forward their views in favour of the proposition. This shows that the present relationship marketing strategies have enabled the company to gain the trust of its customers. However, the company can work towards devising improved RM strategies that can help the company to win over the trust of those customers who feels the lack of trust in the allianceand declined to agree with the proposition.The lack of confidencein their involvement with the company can lead them to the decision of switching over to other rival firms. Therefore, it is essential for the company to undertake strategies directed at winning over the expectation of the customers in order to build positive customer behaviour, retain them and mould their buying behaviour positively.
Q8. How far do you agree that ACIL Ltd. has a strong customer relationship management to manage client relationships?
Options Response frequency Response Percentage Total Respondents
Strongly agree 18 18% 100
Agree 27 27% 100
Neither Agree nor Disagree 15 15% 100
Disagree 25 25% 100
Strongly disagree 15 15% 100
Graph 8: Showing the degree of agreement of the customers as regards the strength of the customer relationship management system of the company in managing client relationshipsFindings:
The outcomes of the survey reveal that 25% of the sample strongly disagrees and 15% disagrees with the proposition that the company ACIL Ltd. has a strong customer relationship management system in place to handle client relationships. On the other hand, 18% of the respondents strongly agrees and 27% of the sample agrees about the fact that the customer relationship management system of the company is just strong enough to manage the client relationships. In the present context under consideration, 15% of the customers have put forward neutral views and neither agrees nor disagrees with the proposition.
The outcomes of the above study show that a large percentage of the customers is in agreement with the proposition that the company has quite a strong customer relationship management system to manage customer relationships. However, it can also be found from the present segment of the study that quitea large percentage of the respondents are also not in agreement with the proposition underconsideration. The percentage figure of respondentsin strong disagreement and disagreement of the proposition shows that almost 40% of them are against theproposition under consideration. They feel the need for the company ACIL Ltd. to have a strong customer relationship management system in place to handle client relationships. As per the results of the study it can be observed that 45% of the sample is in favour of the proposition that directs the need for remodelling the customer relationship management system of ACIL Ltd.
Q9. How far do you agree that the RM managers are able to resolve your queries and complaints in a timely manner?
Options Response frequency Response Percentage Total Respondents
Strongly agree 14 14% 100
Agree 21 21% 100
Neither Agree nor Disagree 22 22% 100
Disagree 30 30% 100
Strongly disagree 13 13% 100
Graph 9: Showing the responses of the customers towards the ability and promptness of the RM managers to address and resolve the queries and complaints of the customersFinding:
It can be observed from the present context of the study that 30% of the respondents of the study are in disagreement of the proposition and opines that the RM managers of the company cannot address their queries and complaints in a timely manner. Moreover, 13% of the respondents have strong disagreements and have placed their strongly in clear opposition of the proposition. On the other hand, 14% of the sample have expressed their views in favour of the proposition under considerationand strongly agrees with it, while 21% of the customers just agree with it though not strongly. However, 22% of the customers have expressed their neutral views in this present context.
The present analysis provides comprehensive understanding about the fact that there is need for skilled and well equipped RM managers to resolve the queries and complaints of the customers promptly. Thus, better equipped managers can help in fostering positive and strong relationship with the customers by showcasing quicker responsiveness in handling their issues and in turn influence their buying behaviour in favour of the company. It is evident from the feedback of the customers that the current RM managers fail to meet the expectations of the customers and is negatively influencing the relationship of the company with its customers.
Q10. What are the major shortcomings in the relationship strategies maintained by ACIL Ltd.?
Options Response frequency Response Percentage Total Respondents
Lack of open communication 28 28% 100
Lack of commitment 20 20% 100
Lack of feedback sharing 30 30% 100
Lack of trust 22 22% 100
Graph 10: Showing responses towards the major shortcomings in the relationship strategies maintained by ACIL Ltd.Finding:
It can be noticed from the above study that 28% of the respondents have attributed lack of open communication as the primary shortcoming of the RM strategies of the company.20% of the sample have recognised lack of commitment on the part of the company as the major shortcomings of its RM strategies. However, 30%of customers have identified lack of proper feedback sharing system as one of the major limitations of the current RM strategies of the company. Then again, 22% of the sample has referred to lack of trust in the relationship they share with the company as a critical inadequacy of the RM strategies of the company.
It is apparent from the outcomes of the study that a bulk of the customers has identified lack of proper feedback sharing only followed by lack of open communication as anotherprime shortcoming of the current RM strategies of the company. Therefore the company can put more focus on the these two issues while modifying its RM marketing strategies in order to address the grievances of the customers better and establish an enduring long term relationship with the customers.
Q11. How far do you agree that you make a brand recall for ACIL Ltd. seeking services from a construction company?
Options Response frequency Response Percentage Total Respondents
Strongly agree 23 23% 100
Agree 22 22% 100
Neither Agree nor Disagree 20 20% 100
Disagree 19 19% 100
Strongly disagree 16 16% 100
Graph 11:Showing the responses of the customers towards brand recall for ACIL Ltd. seeking services from a construction companyFinding:
It can be noticed from the present study that 23% of the respondents strongly agree to the proposition that they can make a brand recall for ACIL Ltd. seeking services from a construction company. Again, 22% of the customers agree to the proposition even if not strongly. On the contrary, 19% disagree and 16% strongly oppose the given proposition, while 20% proposed to remain on the fence.
The present study gives thorough understanding about the responsiveness 0of the customers towards the brand, their loyalty towards the brand ACIL Ltd. It is evident from the consequences of the study that the current RM strategies have succeeded in cultivating positive relationship with customers to the extent that they can recall the brand ACIL Ltd. while seeking services from a construction company. This is apparent from the higher percentage of the respondents with views in favour of the proposition. Therefore the company can enjoy the brand awareness of the customers and work further to strengthen this bond to build strong and enduring relationship with the customers and eventually climb up the preference ladder.
Q12. How far do you agree that you will choose ACIL Ltd. repeatedly because of the strong relationship you share with the brand?
Options Response frequency Response Percentage Total Respondents
Strongly agree 14 14% 100
Agree 21 21% 100
Neither Agree nor Disagree 12 12% 100
Disagree 32 32% 100
Strongly disagree 21 21% 100
Graph 12: Showing responses of the customers as regards their preference for repeated purchase from ACIL Ltd.Finding:
The present study shows that 14% of the respondents of the survey have expressed their views strongly in favour of the proposition with 21% of the respondents also conveying aligned views in agreement of the proposition. 21% customers have nonetheless strongly expressed dissimilar views with 32% also expressing the same view though not strongly. Here, 12% of the sample has not taken any sides to stay neutral on this issue.
The above observation reveals that a huge percentage of the customer does not consider repeatedly preferring ACIL Ltd. over other players in the industry. This divulges the fact a huge segment of the customers do not regard their relationship with the company to be strong enough to choose the brand repeatedly. As a consequence of the study it can be understood that the inadequacy of the RM strategy of the company is responsible for constant failure of the company to retain its customers and needs to be addressed soon.
Chapter 5CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS5.0 ConclusionsThe present research study has focussed on the need for improvement of relationship marketing strategies of ACIL Ltd. in order to enhance the relationship the company shares with the customers and build a strong customer relationship management essential for gaining competitive advantage over its rivals in the industry. This study points out that the company needs to develop strategies aimed at building a positive customer buying behaviour essential for enhancing the sales figure of the company as well as building a brand loyalty of the customers. It is also evident from the results of the study that the RM strategies of ACIL Ltd. are not strong enough to retain customers for longer duration and the company is losing customers to their rivals due to the switching over decision of the customers. The research work put light on the fact that that the customers are dissatisfied with the nature of open communication, feedback sharing system, provision of after sales services the company ACIL Ltd. offers.The researcher has utilised the primary data sources to derive information about the reaction of the customers as regards theirrelationship with the company to identify the gaps in that exists in the current relationship management system.
5.1 Linking with objectivesObjective 1: To analyse the effectiveness of relationship marketing in building positive customer behaviour in a construction company like ACIL Ltd.
It is evident from table 3 thatthe relationship marketing strategies of the customers are not strong enough to retain customers for longer duration and the company is losing customers to their rivals. The results from table 4 also points out that the customers of the company ACIL Ltd. are dissatisfied with the nature of open communication it maintains with the customers. This clearly prompts the need for rectifying and modifying the current communication process.With reference to graph 5, it can be observed that company ACIL Ltd. offers adequate after sales services to its customers. However,the company may design improved RM strategies for better after sales services after sales transaction is over in order to build a positive customer buying behaviour essential to retain them and dissuade them from switching over to the rival firms present in the industry.
Objective 2: To critically scrutinize the relationship marketing strategies of ACIL Ltd.
It has been observed from the sixth outcome of the survey thata large percentage of the sample is not satisfied with the customer feedback sharing and exchanging system of the company. The poor feedback sharing mechanism also indicates the loopholes in the present relationship marketing strategies of the company and clearly directs towards the need for improvement of the same. The seventh observation of the study reveals that a high percentage of the customers enjoy high degrees of trust and confidence However, the company can work towards devising improved RM strategies that can help the company to win over the trust of those customers who feels the lack of trust in their alliance with the company. As per the eight observation of the survey, it can be observed that 45% of the sample is in favour of remodelling the customer relationship management system of ACIL Ltd. to manage the client relationships better.Moreoverit is evident from the feedback of the customers that the current RM managers fail to meet the expectations of the customers and is negatively influencing the relationship of the company with its customers. On the basis of the information collected by the researcher from the survey it can be concluded that the present RM strategies need modifications and improvement to build better customer relationship.
Objective 3: To critically analyse the influence of RM strategies on building positive consumer behaviour
The twelfthoutcome of the survey reveals that a huge percentage of the customer do not consider repeatedly preferring ACIL Ltd. over other players in the industry. This may be due to the fact that a huge segment of the customers do not regard their relationship with the company to be strong enough to choose the brand repeatedly. The researcher thus points out the fact that the RM strategies are essential to build strong customer relationship that can help the company to influence the buyers’ behaviour and achieve its objectives.With reference to graph 11 it can be said that the current RM strategies have succeeded in cultivating positive relationship with customers to the extent that they can recall the brand ACIL Ltd. while seeking services from a construction company. However, company can enjoy the brand awareness of the customers and work more on strengthening this bond to build strong and enduring relationship with the customers and eventually climb up the preference ladder.This prompts the need for improved RM strategies of the company ACIL Ltd. that can build positive consumer behaviour.
Objective 4: To identify and examine the gaps in the RM techniques of ACIL Ltd….
The researcher has identified various loopholes in the RM techniques of ACIL Ltd. from the consequences of the survey. The third observation of the study reveals that the relationship marketing strategies of the company are not strong enough to retain customers for longer duration. The fourth outcome of the survey throws light on another loophole of the RM strategies of the company and reveals the dissatisfaction of the customers as regards the nature of open communication it maintains with the customers. It is evident from the sixth observation of the study that a large percentage of the sample is not satisfied with the customer feedback sharing and exchanging system of the company. The poor feedback sharing mechanism also indicates yet another loophole in the present relationship marketing strategies of the company and needs to address soon. The researcher has also scrutinized the eighth observation of the study and has concluded that a huge percentage of the customers of the company recognise gaps in theCRM systems of ACIL Ltd. and feels the need for modification of the system in place to handle client relationships better. Detailed analysis of the ninth observation of the survey provides comprehensive understanding about the fact that there is need for skilled and well equipped RM managers to resolve the queries and complaints of the customers promptly.
5.2 RecommendationsAs per the present context of the research study, the research has pointed out certain recommendations for designing effective RM strategies directed to improve the customer relationship management system of the company ACIL Ltd.
It is evident from the feedback of the respondents that the customers of the company ACIL Ltd. are dissatisfied with the nature of open communication it maintains with the customers. Therefore, the RM managers can rectify and redesign the current communication process maintained in the customer relationship management system of the company.
The research work also points out that the marketing strategies of the company are not strong enough to retain customers for longer period and is failing to acquire larger share of the market pie. This put light on the fact that the company should also concentrate on redesigning their relationship marketing strategies aimed at building a positive customer buying behaviours essential for enhancing the sales figure of the company as well as dissuading the customers from switching over to other firms.
A bulk of the customers is not satisfied with the current customer feedback sharing and exchanging system of the company. Therefore, the company needs to incorporate improved communication channels for exchanging the feedback of the customers and redesign the communication strategies in order to enhance the RM strategies.
It is apparent from the feedback of the customers that the current RM managers fail to meet the expectations of the customers and is negatively shaping the relationship of the company with its customers.Therefore, there is need for skilled and well equipped RM managers to resolve the queries and complaints of the customers at the appointed time.
5.3 Futures scope of the studyThe present research work has not completely achieved all the objectives of the study. It has also failed to explore many other aspects related to the topic under discussion due to certain research limitations. This research work does not provide any comparative analysis of the relationship marketing strategies adopted by other market players of the construction industry. Therefore it can prove to be very valuable to evaluate the responses of the customers of the other companies operating in the same sectoras regards their customer relationship marketing strategies.
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Appendix:A list of Questionnaire: For Customers
Contact No. Email ID:
Q1) What is your gender?
Q2) Which age group do you belong to?
Less than 20 years
More than 50 years
Q3) For how long have you been a customer of ACIL ltd?
Less than 1 year
More than 1 year
More than 3 years
More than 5 years
Q4) How far do you agree that the ACIL ltd maintains open communication with the customers?
Neither agree nor disagree
Q5) How far do you agree that that ACIL ltd provides an effective after sale services to customers?
Neither agree nor disagree
Q6)How far do you agree that the ACIL ltd exchange customer feedback?
Neither agree nor disagree
Q7) How far do you agree that you trust the relationship you share with ACIL Ltd?
Neither agree nor disagree
Q8) How far do you agree that ACIL Ltd has a strong customer relationship management to manage client relationships?
Neither agree nor disagree
Q9) How far do you agree that the RM managers are able to resolve your queries, and complaints on a timely manner?
Neither agree nor disagree
Q10) What are the major shortcomings in the relationship strategies maintained by ACIL ltd?
Lack of open communication
Lack of commitment
Lack of feedback sharing
Lack of trust
Q11) How far do you agree that you make a brand recall for ACIL ltd seeking services from a construction company?
Neither agree nor disagree
Q12) How far do you agree that you will choose ACIL ltd repeatedly because of the strong relationship you share with the brand?
Neither agree nor disagree