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Full text of "Motivation-need theories and consumer behavior"

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Faculty Working Papers 



MOTIVATION-NEED THEORIES AND CONSUMER BEHAVIOR 
W. Fred van Raalj and Kassaye Wandwossen 

#432 



1 



College of Commerce and Business Administration 

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 



FACULTY WORKING PAPERS 
College of Commerce and Business Administration 
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 

September 5, 1977 



MOTIVATION-NEED THEORIES AND CONSUMER BEHAVIOR 
W. Fred van Raaij and Kassaye Wandwossen 

#432 



MOTIVATION-NEED THEORIES AND CONSUMER BEHAVIOR 



W. Fred van Raaij 

Kassaye Wandwossen 

University of Illinois 

146 Commerce West 

Urbana, IL 61801 

(217) 333-4573 



May, 1.977 



ABSTRACT 

This paper is an effort to integrate the relevant findings in other disciplines 
(organizational behavior, especially) with the knowledge in consumer behavior and 
to suggest a working framework for future research. First, we review and evaluate the 
theoretical framework and empirical findings of the various need-motivation theories. 
Then, the applicability of such theories to consummer behavior is assessed, thereby 
suggesting a different way of looking at motivation, and where possible, presenting 
models that will lend themselves to practical applications. 

In our opin'en, motivational models are highly relevant for the generic choice 
process, while multi-attribute attitude models are relevant for the specific choice 
process. A motivational model for the generic choice is proposed, with the notion 
that consumer behavior in its various ramifications (i.e., from the consumer, economist, 
social marketer, etc., perspectives) can be better understood from the analysis of 
c.aneric choices. 



MOTIVATION-NEED THEORIES AND CONSUMER BEHAVIOR 
Introduction 

Motivation-need theories have been instrumental in the development of 
comprehensive models of consumer behavior, especially the models of Engel, 
Kollat and Blackwell (1968), and Howard and Sheth (1969). Recently, applic- 
ations of motivation theories in consumer research are proposed by Burnkrant 
(1976) and Fennel (1975). Further, Rosenberg's (1956) attitude model employs 
the concept of "perceived instrumentality," the instrumentality of the at- 
titude object in attaining a desired goal. Attitudes, in this sense, motivate 
behavior, elicit arousal, and give direction to behavior, and thus are part 
of motivation theory. In general, however, motivation theory and its recent 
developments have not found much application in consumer research, while 
consumer needs, desires, and wants are the core in the marketing concept. 
Surprisingly, Maslow's need hierarchy model has gained some popularity, 
despite the overwhelming evidence refuting the existence of such hierarchies 
(Atkinson, 1964; Wahba and Briswell, 1976). 

This paper is an effort to integrate the relevant findings in other 
disciplines (organizational behavior, especially) with the knowledge in 
consumer behavior and to suggest a working framework for future research. 
First, we review and evaluate the theoretical framework and empirical 
findings of the various need-motivation theories (e.g., Maslow, 1943, 1965, 
1970; Blau, 1964; Clark, 1960; Hall and Nougaim, 1968; Alderfer, 1969, 1972; 
Berkowitz, 1969; Herzberg, 1966; Korman, 1974; Lawler, 1971). Second, we 
assess the applicability of such theories to consumer behavior, thereby 
suggesting a different way of looking at motivation, and where possible, 
presenting models that will lend themselves to practical applications. 
Instincts and Needs 

In the mainstream of Darwinian evolutionary theory, certain behavioral 



2 
tendencies are innately built into organisms for survival of the individual 
and thus the species. William James (1890) and William McDougall (1923) 
made lists of instincts that were seen as mainsprings of all kinds of behav- 
iors, simple and complex. Later, Murry (1937) made another classification 
of human needs. Murray, however, distinguished a directional aspect and an 
arousal component that actually kicks the behavior off and that can be 
motivated in a number of ways. Needs, in Murray's concepts, are hypothetical 
constructs directing behavior toward certain goals, or end states. Classif- 
ications of needs, as provided by McDougall or Murray look similar to class- 
ifications of elements in chemistry, but lack their strictly defined structure 
and usefulness. A structural principle is needed to explain the dynamic 
interactions of needs and their fulfillments. 
Maslow's Need Hierarchy 

Abraham Maslow (1965) postulates that needs are hierarchically structured 
and that needs low in the hierarchy must be fulfilled before need higher in 
the hierarchy become salient. Interrelationships between needs are specified, 
which are missing in McDougall' s and Murray's systems. According to Maslow, 
the physiological needs (e.g., hunger, thirst) come first, followed by secur- 
ity needs, social needs (affiliation), self-esteem needs (recognition), and 
finally self-actualization needs. Recently, the need to know and to under- 
stand, and aesthetic needs are added to the list (Maslow, 1970). The need 
to know and to understand is comparable to Berlyne's (1963) epistemic behavior. 

Maslow's basic needs (Maslow, 1943, 1965, 1970) are thought to be 
structured in such a way that the satisfaction or gratification of the lower- 
order needs leads to the activation of the next higher-order need in the 
hierarchy. This is the gratification/activation principle . The other prin- 
ciple is the deprivation/domination principle , which states that the most 
deficient need is the most important need. A distinction is sometimes made 



between deficiency and growth needs. Needs for belongingness, love, and 
self-actualization are referred to as growth needs; the others are deficiency 
needs. To achieve growth needs, deficiency needs must first be satisfied. 
This may be compared with Herzberg's(1966) hygienic and motivating factors 
in his job satisfaction theory. A deficiency in the hygienic factors creates 
dissatisfaction, while fulfillment of these factors does not create satis- 
faction. The motivating factors, when fulfilled, give rise to job satisfac- 
tion. Job satisfaction, and probably also consumer satisfaction, is not 
measureable on a simple bipolar scale but consists of two more or less 
independent (sets of) factors. In consumer research, we may distinguish 
between necessary product attributes (hygienic factors) and motivating product 
attributes. Absence of necessary attributes gives rise to dissatisfaction, 
while the presence of motivating attributes leads to satisfaction. 
Evaluation of Maslow' s Need Hierarchy 

Despite its vagueness and lack of adequate empirical support (Wahba and 
Bridwell, 1976), Maslow's need hierarchy has influenced the work of numerous 
psychologists (Argyris, 1964; Clark, 1960; Dichter, 1964; Leavitt, 1964; 
McGregor, 1960; Schein, 1965). Nonetheless, the findings remain largely 
controversial; and an evaluation of inter-disciplinary approaches is rare 
(Jacoby, 1976). A number of factors seem to have favored the appeal of 
Maslow's need hierarchy, while the lack of foresight among researchers and 
the absence of standardized measurement techniques seem to have forestalled 
the comprehensive evaluation of the interdisciplinary approaches. 
1. Maslow's approach is a theory of motivation, in that it links basic 
needs/motives to general behavior (Wahba and Bridwell, 1976). In other 
words, the basic needs/motives are linked to behavior through a theory of 
motivation which asserts that (i) deprivation is followed by gratification; 



(il) less potent needs emerge upon the gratif ication of the more preponder- 
ant ones (Maslow, 1970); (iii) and it is a dynamic process where deprivation 
is hypothesized to lead to domination, which leads to gratification that 
culminates in the activation of the next higher order need in the echelon. 
2. At times, the findings have been used to support two apparently contra- 
dictory hypotheses. For instance, Maslow (1965) postulated that (i) grat- 
ification of the self-actualization need results in an increase of its 
importance rather that a decrease, and also that (ii) a long-time deprivation 
of a need may create a fixation for that need. Maslow noted the exception 
to his model; that, it is possible for higher-order needs to emerge not 
after gratification of the next-lower need, but after long-time deprivation 
(Maslow, 1970). The state of affairs remains that Maslow 's need hierarchy, 
and his propositions regarding gratification and activation, especially in 
the self-actualization stage, remain controversial. His need hierarchy is 
by no means definitive, and is rather out of focus in comparison with the 
role of learning, perception, values, and expectations in human behavior 
(Atkinson, 1964). 

Alderfer (1972) points out that satisfaction with regard to some environ- 
mental and job characteristics are studied rather than satisfaction with the 
postulated needs. Maslow initially postulated that high satisfaction or dis- 
satisfaction is given high ranked importance (Maslow, 1965). Contrary to 
what is postulated by Maslow, high job satisfaction rather than deprivation 
is correlated with importance (Dachler and Hulin, 1969). In another study, 
again, contrary to what Maslow hypothesized, Mobley and Locke (1970) conclud- 
ed that extreme satisfaction and dissatisfaction depend on the importance 
attached to them, and not importance determining satisfaction and dissatisfac- 
tion. 



Some support has been found for Maslow's (1965) deficiency and growth 
needs in studies that compared executives and workers in an organization. 
In these studies higher-order (growth, actualizing) needs are judged to be 
more important for top executives than for underprivileged workers (Davis, 
1946; Pellegrin and Coates, 1957). In a deprived environment lower-order 
(existence, hygienic) needs seem to be more important than higher-order 
needs (Cofer and Appley, 1964; Porter, 1961, 1962; Porter and Mitchell, 1967). 
By implication, the rating of importance of job satisfaction seems to be 
positively related to the level of the job one holds (Porter, 1961; Porter 
and Mitchell, 1967) or "that the deprivation domination principle may only 
be operative in the case of the deprivation of the lower-order needs, 
especially physiological needs" (Wahba and Bridwell, 1976, p. 231). 

Notwithstanding the above conclusions, the concept of deprivation/ 
domination seems to have little or no effect on the behavior of consumers 
in relatively affluent societies for a number of reasons. (1) The daily 
purchases are mostly over and above what is (basically) needed. (2) Until 
the time that the law of diminishing returns sets in or depleting raw mater- 
ial resources make "abundant" consumption difficult, there is a "need" to 
buy and possess more. Instead, consumption is influenced by relative 
deprivation compared with "relevant other consumers". This relative depriv- 
ation may trigger the dominance of the desire "to keep up" with the reference 
group . 
Sa tisfaction/Dissatisfaction 

Consumer satisfaction/dissatisfaction studies will benefit from the two- 
factor need theories (Maslow, 1965; Alderfer, 1969; Herzberg, 1966). Brands 
possess tow types of attributes. The first type of attributes (inhibitors) 
give rise to dissatisfaction, if their level is below a certain threshold. A 



6 
car that is Insufficiently safe causes dissatisfaction, while no satisfaction 
is derived from a car that is sufficiently safe. The second type of attrib- 
utes (facilitators) give rise to satisfaction, if their level is above a 
certain threshold. Similar to the deprivation/domination principle, the 
presence of inhibitors causes dissatisfaction and (extending the above prin- 
ciple) this dissatisfaction cannot be cempensated by facilitators. If no 
inhibiotors are present, a "zero point" has been reached. Consumer satisfact- 
ion can only be obtained through the absence of ihibitors and the presence 
of facilitators. 

The distinction between ihibitors and facilitators has its analogy in 
consumer decision making. In terms of decision rules, the first type of 
attributes (inhibitors) elicit the conjunctive decision rule to eliminate 
brands with inhibiting (below threshold) values on certain attributes. The 
second type of attributes (facilitators) elicit the disjunctive decision 
rule to select brands with facilitating (above threshold) values on other 
attributes. The conjunctive rules must occur before the disjunctive rule. 

Jaeoby(1976) emphasizes the applicability of Herzberg's (1966) two- 
factor model for the study of consumer satisfaction, which may be compared 
to a simple choice, heuristic. the sequence of conjunctive and disjunctive 
information processing (van Raaij , 1977, p. 23-26). Some problems exist, 
however, in applying Herzberg's (1966) two-factor model in consumer 
satisfaction research: 

1. In the decision process the consumer will avoid brands that give rise to 
dissatisfaction through the application of the conjunctive decision rule. 
Dissatisfaction may only occur after an incorrect application of the conjunct- 
ive rule, or after using incomplete or deceptive information. 

2. As Jacoby (1976) points out, Herzberg's propositions as well as the find- 
ings cited before are involved with the determinants of satisf action/dissatis- 



7 
faction and not with performance. Therefore, they cannot be directly extend- 
ed to a purchase situation that involves a combiantion of dichotomies 
involving purchase behavior-satisfaction and purchase behavior-dissatisfact- 
ion. As a solution, he proposes another behavior-satisfaction dimension 
orthogonal to the facilitator-inhibitor dimension (Jacoby, 1971). 
M otivatio n Models 

Cognitive motivation models fall into three broad categories: egrujitv^ 
need a chievement and expecta ncy-value models (see Table 1) . The coromunality 
of the models is that the units of framework we present are of cognitive, 
subjective nature, and that they include hypothetical constructs as perceiv- 
ed equity, need achievement, expectation, and values. A similar, hut shorter, 
review of the three catgories is given in van Raaij (1976) . 
Equity 

The concept of equity may he explicitly stated as the even exchange of 
values such that what is received is presumed to be equal to what is given 
(Adams, 1965). Equity operates within a range, with a lower and upper limit. 
Inputs ("what is given") are difined as "what a person perceives as his 
contributions to the exhange for which he expects a just return" (Walster 
and Walster, 1975). Apparently, equity theory may be applied to social 
relations such as management-worker and seller-buyer. Further, the concept 
of power seems to be related to perceived and subjective equity. 

It is our hypothesis that the ranges of equity (upper and lower limits) 
may well be measured by the expectancy-value type of model (Table 1) for two 
reasons: (1) The expectancy component of the model is general, comprehens- 
ive and brand specific. (2) The expectancy component handles expectations 
about equity as compared with "relevant others." We return later to the dis- 
cussion of how consumer behavior is motivated by perceived inequity or a 
disparity between the desired and actual state. The application of the equity 



8 

Table 1 about here 
concept of consume!" behavior may be restricted to some aspects of consumption. 
Such equity-based motivational forces include sensitivity of consumers toward 
primarily price, time and effort expended (e.g., Gabor and Granger, 1966). 
However, it has to be pointed out that (1) it is not a priori known how equity 
is created and what its upper and lower limits are; (2) promotional activit- 
ies make the equity relation relative and situation-affected, depending on 
whether the purchase has been prompted by a deal or not, for instance; (3) 
consumers tend to "satisfice" (March and Simon, 1958), and do not necessarily 
maximize as implied in the equity concept (e.g., Pritchard, 1969). 

To summarize, equity is useful in two ways for consumer research. First, 
the inequity of the seller-buyer relation may give rise to consumer dissatis- 
faction and the motivation to restore equity. Armstrong (1976) provides 
some examples of the restoration of equity between consumers and marketers. 
As with Herzberg's (1966) two-factor model, an equitable relation as perceived 
by the consumer prevents the elicitation of dissatisfaction. On the other 
hand, and equitable relation is a necessary but not a sufficient prerequisite 
for consumer satisfaction. Second, the equity relations holds for the consum- 
er with regard to "relevant others" (reference groups). Here, an inequitable 
relation motivates the consumer to restore equity, that means he is motivated 
to bring his consumption level and pattern into agreement with that of his 
reference group. Generally, this results in an increase in consumption 
expenditures, as aspirations and expectations become higher (e.g., 
Duessenberry' s (1949) "relative income hypothesis" and Katona, Strumpel and 
Zahn's (1971) "rising aspirations and affluence"). 
Need Achieve ment 

The concept of need achievement (McClelland, 1961) is basically another 
variation of the expectancy-value approach. Need achievement resembles 
Maslow's (1970) self-actualization motive in a number of ways. The main 



Table 1. Motivation Models. 



Iipe 
Equity-expectancy 



Formulae 



Explanation 



a. job performance: 
(Vroom, 1964) 



MF = E x V 



MF = Motivational force 
E = Expectancy force of 

achieving desired 

outcome 
V = Value of desired outcome 



attitude: 



A = PI x VI 

o 



A = Attitude 
c 

PI 

VJ 



Perceived instrumentality 
Value importance 



2 . Need-achievement : 



T = M x P x I 
s s s s 



T = M. x P f x I. 



I, + P =0 and P + P^ 
f s s f 



1 and P +1 =1 
s s 



T - T - T. 
a s f 



T «* (M - M r ) [P - P~] 
a s f s s 



T = 



M = 



I = Strengtn of motivation 
s 

to achieve success 

Strength of motivation 

to avoid failure 

= Motive or need to achieve 
s 

success 

M- = Motive or need to avoid 

failure 

I = Incentive value of 
s 

success 

I = Incentive value of 

failure 

P = Probability 

s J 

P c - Probability 



10 

difference, however, is that it includes the probability of attaining a goal 
and a probability of failure. The need achievement model (Table 1) attri- 
butes the strength of motivation to the cognitive expectation that the action 
will result in the consequence. Stated somewhat differently, the tendency 
to engage in an activity is determined by the desired goal of the action. 
Therefore, the outcome or consequence has attraction or value to the individ- 
ual. Assuming that I, = -P = 1 (a particular outcome is either a success 

or a failure). As indicated in Table 1, the summation of T and T,. provides 

s I 

the tendency or motive to achieve (T ) , which may be derived from the given 

a 

2 
algebraic relationship: T = CM - M_) (P - P ) . 

a s f s s 

The need achievement concept is only applicable in cases where the 
consumer perceives some risk of failure. Two ways exist to increase the 
tendency to achieve (T ) : (1) Increase the "approach" tendency (T ) by 

3. S 

making the product more attractive, and (2) decrease the "avoidance" tend- 
ency (T ) by reducing perceived risk (see Roselius, 1971 for possible risk 
relievers). Again, a congruence with Herzberg's two-factor model can be 
observed. The avodiance tendency (T ) may be related to some unsatisfactory 
product attributes (inhibitors) and the approach tendency (T ) may be related 
to other, satisfactory product attributes (facilitators). The only differen- 
ce is that in the approach-avodianee paradigm unsatisfactory attributes can 
be compensated by satisfactory attributes. As Schewe (1973) points out, 
"The greatest problem appears to be determining a valid and reliable measure 
of the need achievement construct" (Schewe, 1973, p. 33). In addition, achieve- 
ment needs are not operating in all purchase situations. P and I may have 

o S 

low levels and, hence, result in low levels of the strength of the motive to 
achieve success (T ) . He concludes that further research is necessary to 
find its true potential as a determinant of consumer behavior (Schewe, 1973) . 
Finally, contrary to the postulate of need achievement, motives are not 



] i 



stable behavioral dispositions, though they may well be partly learned. 
Also, it must be emphasized that it is not necessary for motives in general 
to operate after they are aroused by the presence of the incentives or sit- 
uational cues that have been associated with the incentive (see Campbell 
and Pritchard, 1976, pp. 112-14). 
Expect ancy-Value Models 

The basis for expectancy models has been made by Tolman (1932) and 
Lewin (1938). It seems to be influenced more by Lewin's field theory in 
that it involves the perceptual analysis of (1) alternatives with their (2) 
desireabilities and (3) expectancies, and their (4) outcomes in the immediate 
psychological field. 

Many psychological theories come under the label of expectancy-value 
models: subjective expected utility theory (Edwards, 1954), social learning 
theory (Rotter, 1954), motivation theory (Atkinson, 1964), and attitude 
theories (e.g., Rosenberg, 1956; Fishbein, 1967). An overview of these 
theories can be found in van Raaij (1977) . 

Expectancy theory states that the desire or motive to engage in a 
certain behavior is a composite of the expected outcome of that behavior and 
the value or evaluation of that behavior. As can be seen from Table 1 the 
motivational force to engage in a particular behavior, as applied in organ- 
izational psychology, is a function of the four factors stated above (Vroom, 
1964; Graen, 1969; Porter and Lawler, 1968; Campbell, Dunnette, Lawler and 
Weick, 1970). However, it needs to be pointed out that the expectancy con- 
cept is not without questions. We will try to find answers to these questions 
before we apply this concept to consumer motivation. 

First, the extension of the concept of "evoked set" (Howard and Sheth, 
1969) seems to provide an answer to the question of how many alternatives, 
as well as type of alternatives are considered by the individual. Second, 



12 



the desireability or attractiveness of the alternatives is a function of the 
probability that the alternative possesses a certain attribute times the 
evaluation of that attribute on a bipolar favorable-unfavorable scale. Third, 
Jacoby (1976) emphasizes not to overlook that the desired outcomes of a 
behavior are influenced by "motivational inputs." A distinction is made 
between input and output. "Outputs or outcomes refer to the primary function- 
al aspects of the alternatives in the product set; they are the basic purpose 
for buying and using the product. Inputs, on the other hand, are those 
motivational forces other than perceived functional consequences which 
influence the selection of one specific behavioral alternative over the other 
available alternatives" (Jacoby, 1976, p. 1049). 

If the functional goal of the purchase of a car is its service and 
economy, say, as opposed to status or a combination of all these, then these 
consequences constitute the desired outcomes. The inputs such as advertising, 
availablility of deals, past satisfaction with the product, referred to as 
"antecedents" (Jacoby, 1976), may induce the consideration of one brand 
over another. Jacoby suggests the partitioning of the evaluation component 
into input (or antecedent) and output (or consequent) "values." Unfortunately, 
this is only at the brand level, and even at that level, it fails to resolve 
a number of questions raised earlier. Although Jacoby's revision make the 
traditional models more comprehensive and richer in their construct composit- 
ion, some drawbacks have to be mentioned: (1) It fails to answer how and 
why an individual becomes motivated to consider certain outcomes or consequen- 
ces. (2) It ignores the interdependency between product and brand, that is, 
the desire to consider a product class and then to engage in brand(s) select- 
ion. (3) It fails to note that some repetitive buying behavior is influenced 
by simple S-R relationships, or may even be stochastic, making motivational 



13 

models too elaborate or irrelevant for this kind of buying behavior. 

Our interest in motivational models of consumer behavior is mainly at 
the product class level (generic choice) but has also implications for the 
brand level (specific choice) . 
Motivational Mode 1 for Pro duct Choice 

We think that motivational models are especially useful for the generic 
choice (among product classes) and less useful for the specific choice (with- 
in product classes). For the latter case, multi-attribute attitude and pre- 
ference models may hold better predictions for brand choice within the product 
class- In most cases, the generic choice is more important and critical for 
the consumer; however, this seems to be a neglected area of research in mark- 
eting. We think that the generic choice, whether to buy a car or to go on a 
vacation, for example, has more relevance for general economic policy, consumer 
education, and also for marketing mix decisions. Between the generic and 
specific choice, a "modal choice" or method choice can be distinguished in 
many cases (see, for instance, Sheth (1975) for travel mode selection). 

Figure 1 gives the sequence of the three choice levels as they occur in 
consumer decision making regarding travel. The product choice is the first 
Figure 1 . Sequence of Choices in Consumer Decision Making 

A. generic choice (travel vs. other product classes) 

J/ 

B. modal choice (airline vs. train) 

C. specific choice (American vs. United) 

to be made. Subsequently, a selection of a modal or method within the product 
class is made. Then, within the modal, the consumer selects a specific brand. 

Sheth (1975) distinguishes five utility needs. These utility needs can 
be seen as the basic needs that products satisfy. In the generic choice pro- 
cess, consumers compare the product classes on their ability to satisfy the 
basic needs. We may also conceive these utility needs as the basic dimensions 



14 

of motivation. In all cases, consumers want to reach certain goal states 
and the products are instrumental in reaching the goals. 

The five motivational dimensions are (Sheth, 1975): (1) Functional 
motives, (2) aesthetic-emotional motives, (3) social motives, (4) situation- 
al motives, and (5) curiosity motives. 

1. Functional motives are related to the technical functions the product 
performs. The combination of product attributes forms the total functional 
utility of a product. 

2. Aesthetic-emotional motives are the style, design, luxury, and comfort 
of a product (class). These motives are not only important for the specific 
(brand) choice but also for the generic (product) choice. The product class 
is evaluated in terms of the fundamental values of the consumer in the emotive 
areas of fear, social concern, respect for quality of life, appreciation of 
fine arts, religion, and other emotional feelings. Thus, it may be contended 
that individuals tend to select those product classes that match with their 
life styles and enable them to express their fundamental values. 

3. Social motives are related to the impact that consumption makes on 
relevant others. Status, prestige, and esteem may be derived from the pos- 
session and usage of products and their conspicuous features. Some products 
are selected for their conspicuousness only ("conversation pieces"), some- 
times in combination with aesthetic motives. 

4. Situational motives are not motives in the sense of long-term desires 
to reach a certain goal. The selection of a product may be triggered by 
situational determinants such as availability, price discount , and/or 
accessability. These situational factors apply usually for a specific 
brand or type. The brand choice is usually made in these cases without 

a careful evaluation of the product class (es). 



15 
5. Curiosity motives are motives that are supposed to prompt trials of new 

and/or innovative products. The consumer may try a new product; however, 
his repeat-purchase may be independent of such trials. 
Choice Modal Prediction 

It has to be emphasized that the motivational model suggested here is 
mainly applicable to consumers' product choices, involving large financial 
outlays or high perceived social and/or physical risk. Repetitive brand or 
product choice triggered by depletion of stock is not relevantly described 
and predicted by our motivational model. Further, note that within each of 
the five motivational dimensions subclasses exist for different product class- 
es. For example, the generic choice between a refrigerator and a TV set 
involves different functional utilities -cooling food versus entertainment/ 
information, respectively. In the generic choice process, the consumer 
essentially compares products on a different set of dimensions for each 
product, while in the specific choice process the same set of dimensions 
apply for all brands within the product class. The consumer necessarily, 
unlike in the specific choice situation, has to "compute" an overall utility 
for each product class to see whether it satisfies a number of motives, and 
then compare these overall utilities to make a final choice. To depict 
these relationships, we suggest a. straightforward multi-attribute model. 
In this model (eq. 1), overall preference or total utility a product class 

satisfies and the evaluation of these motives may be written as, 

m 

U. = 1 M. . x V (1). 

J i=l « X 
U. is the utility of product class j that satisfies m motives (M..), and 

V. is the evaluation of the m motives on a favorable-unfavorable scale. 

i 

M. . can be thought of as a vector of probabilities that the product class j 

satisfies a specific motive i. These probabilities are strictly zero or 

above zero, and therefore, only positive. This composite measure, U , is 

expected to cover the five dimensions outlined above. Thus the behavior or 
behavioral intention (BI) of the consumer equals the maximum of U. (j=l, .., 



16 



m) if m product classes are considered. 

B = BI = max U (j = l, m) (2). 

Usually, the number of product classes is smaller than the number of brands 

in the specific choice situation. 

Individual consumers differ not only in their evaluation of motivational 
dimensions (V.), but also in the saliency of these dimensions over time. 
Recent gratification of a motivational dimension may lead to a decrease in 
the evaluation of that motivational dimension. This is especially true for 
the functional, social, and curiosity motives. Lack of gratification of a 
motivational dimension increases the evaluation of that motive (the depriv- 
ation/domination principle) . 

Basically, motives are "means-end beliefs" (Tolman, 1932). That is, 
there is cognitive association between a specific product class or the buy- 
ing of a certain product from a set of product classes, and the expectation 
that the product contributes to the attainment of a goal or the satisfaction 
of a motivational dimension. This expectation is thought to be a subjective 
probability. Parenthetically, the strength of motives or motivational 
dimensions is largely determined by cultural and life history factors. 
Further, motives become salient if a disparity exists between a desired 
goal state and the actual state on a motvational dimension. A desired state 
is triggered in the comparison of one's own position and the position of 
"relevant others" on the various functional as well as non-functional utility 
dimension(s) . Equity theory (Adams, 1965) predicts that differences in the 
input/output ratio bring about a change in the desired goal state. Need- 
achievement theory (McClelland, 1961) attributes the strength of motivation 
to the cognitive expectation that the action will result in the consequence. 
The origin of motivation is external in equity theory (reference groups) and 
internal in need-achievement theory. We assume that an intermediate dispar- 



17 

ity between desired and actual state of the individual has the strongest 
effect on motivation. For a small disparity an assimilation effect is thought 
to occur; the disparity is rationalized away. For a large disparity, a con- 
trast effect is more likely; the disparity is too great to be bridged by the 
acquisition of a product. The desired goal state is perceived as unattain- 
able in this case. This curvilinear relationship between motive strength 
and disparity may be effectively compared with Berlyne's (1963) exploratory 
behavior theory and the level of arousal potential. 
Operationalization 

The elicitation of the motivational dimensions can be done in two sub- 
sequent pilot survey's constituting depth interviews and other non-attributive 
methods. In the depth interview method no particular forms and orders of 
motives should be established; instead, motives should be elicited with the 
help of probing questions, incomplete sentences and the Kelly grid method. 
Such elicited motives constitute a listing of the relevant needs or motives 
applicable to a specific situation. In non-attributive method the researcher 
has to start with a listing of these possible motives and request the 
consumer to indicate the ones he considers salient . 
Summar y 

Motivation-need theories are reviewed, their implications to consumer 
behavior investigated, and the various findings and concepts integrated in 
formulating : a model of choice prediction. 

In our opinion, motivational models are highly relevant for the 
generic choice process, while multi-attribute attitude models are relevant 
for the specific choice process. A motivational model for the generic 
choice is proposed, with the notion that consumer behavior in its various ramific- 
ations (i.e., from the consumer, economist, social marketer, etc., perspectives) 
can be better understood from the analysis of generic choices. 



Note ; 

*W. Fred van Raaij is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Business Admini- 
stration at the University of Illinois (1976-77), and Assistant Professor 
of Economic Psychology at Tilburg University, The Netherlands (1977-78). 

Kassaye Wandwossen is a doctoral student at the University of Illinois and 
expects to obtain his Ph.D. in 19/8. 



18 
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