Consumer Behavior - Consumer as Decision Maker with cultural background

Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2000

21 Pages, Grade: 1,7 (A-)


Table of contents

1 Introduction
1.1 In general to the “Hauptseminar” paper consumer behavior – consumer as decision maker with cultural background
1.2 Definitions
1.2.1 Consumer behavior
1.2.2 Decision maker
1.2.3 Culture

2 The case

3 The dimensions of consumer behavior
3.1 Understanding the consumer behavior
3.1.1 Who buys?
3.1.2 How consumers buy? – The decision making process Problem recognition Information search Evaluation of alternatives Product choice Outcomes
3.1.3 Choice criteria

4 Influences on consumer behavior
4.1 The buying situation
4.1.1 Extended problem solving
4.1.2 Limited problem solving
4.1.3 Habitual problem solving
4.2 Personal influences
4.2.1 Personal factors
4.2.2 Psychological factors
4.3 Social influences
4.3.1 Cultural factors
4.3.2 Social factors

5 Summary



List of abreviations

illustration not visible in this excerpt

List of figures

figure 1: The Determinants of Culture

figure 2: Influences on consumer purchasing behavior

List of tables

table 1: Five types of perceived risk

table 2: Choice criteria used when evaluating alternatives

1 Introduction

1.1 In general to the “Hauptseminar” paper consumer behavior – consumer as decision maker with cultural background

The target of this “Hauptseminar” paper is, to show the decision making process of consumers with different cultural background and also the influences on the choice of the product or service. Consumers have to make decisions all the time. Sometimes decisions are made on habits, and sometimes consumers first have to collect information before deciding, because the purchase is a deal with risk. One of the main objectives of this paper are to understand how consumers process information into decisions and the strategic implication of this process, and to gain an insight into the continuum of factors that affect consumer decisions. In the case “‘But where are the French?’ – The trials and tribulations of Euro Disneyland” I have chosen the difference between Americans and Europeans in the decision making process is described.

Textual this “Hauptseminar” paper is structured as the following:

After advancing to the topic, the terms “consumer behavior”, “decision maker”, and “culture” are defined within the introduction. The main part is divided into three blocks, the case, the dimensions of consumer behavior, and the influences on consumer behavior. In the first main part the case of Eurodisney is described and analyzed. The difference between Europeans and Americans in spending money in theme parks, the difference in their tastes and the different vacation situation is shown in this case. In the second main part the dimensions of consumer behavior are explained and discussed on the basis of the case. The three dimensions who buys, how consumers buy (the decision making process) and the choice criteria are discussed in more detail. The decision making process is subdivided into five steps: the problem recognition, the information search, the evaluation of alternatives, the product choice, and the outcomes like costumer satisfaction. The influences on consumer behavior are forming the third main part of this “Hauptseminar” paper, which is subdivided into the buying situation, personal influences, such like lifestyle, stage in the life cycle, or beliefs and attitudes, and the social influences, such like family, culture, and geodemographics. The summary forms the closing of the text of this hauptseminarpaper, followed by the appendices, and the bibliography.

1.2 Definitions

1.2.1 Consumer behavior

Consumers are individuals who are buying products or services for personal consumption. Their behavior is defined as the following.

“Consumer behavior is the study of the process involved when individuals or groups select, purchase, use or dispose of products, services, ideas or experiences to satisfy needs and desires.”[1]

“Consumer behavior is defined as the study of the buying untis and the exchange processes involved in acquiring, consuming, and disposing of goods, services, experiences, and ideas.”[2]

1.2.2 Decision maker

Decision-maker is a person who has to make a choice between alternatives. In the purchasing process this is for example choosing the right lipstick color among a dozen of lipsticks. Or like in the Euro Disney case, choosing the right and cheapest accomodation. Decision-making is the choice of a solution from alternative solutions generated, which trigger a whole process from estimating the problem up to evaluating the decision.

1.2.3 Culture

“Culture is the complex whole that includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, customs, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by humans as members of society.”[3]

Culture is also defined as “a system of values and norms that are shared among a group of people and that when taken together constitute a design for living”[4].

In the case I described there are two different cultures and their different behaviors in the decision making process. On the one hand, is the American culture and on the other hand, the European culture. Even through globalization, there still remain many cultural differences.

figure 1: The Determinants of Culture

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

source: Charles W. L. Hill, International Business – Competing in the Global Marketplace, 2nd Edition, Irwin McGraw-Hill 1998, p.69.

2 The case

“’But where are the French?’ – The trials and tribulations of Euro Disneyland”[5]

In the mid 1980s Disney made his plans official that Walt Disney corporation was interested in creating a Disneyland-type theme park in Europe. The location near Paris in France was chosen, because it was the perfect center place for tourist vacations. The location in Marne-la-Vallee was only 20 miles from one of Europe’s most important tourism magnet Paris. The theme park Euro Disney was expected to be a great success, and a gold mine for the parent company in USA. But it wasn’t a gold mine. In 1993 Euro Disney was in financial loss.

There had been several mistakes, which the planers of Euro Disney didn’t think of when creating Euro Disney.

First of all the prices on products, services, admission and accommodations were too high. That’s why most of the visitors tried to get as much of their money by taking as many rides as possible. The consequence was, that they were spending more time on the rides and less time in the shops and the restaurants, and therefore spending less money overall. Also hotel prices were very high, the majority of the visitors went to Paris for their overnight accomodations where rooms were typically half the price. With the high prices it comes along that the French Franc became stronger and stronger. This meant that for the non-French visitors the prices for admission, food and souvenirs rose almost 15 percent.

Another aspect was that the creaters of Euro Disney didn’t realize the difference between Americans and Europeans regarding vacations. They expected Europeans to spend like Americans. But this is not the truth. Americans usually have about 2 weeks vacations a year while Europeans have about five weeks a year. They both have the same amount of money, which they can spend on their vacations. As a consequence, Americans are spending more money per vacation day as Europeans, and so have more money left for souvenirs and food. The Americans also hoped that visitors coming to Euro Disney would stay more than 1 or 2 days. But this was not the case, because most Europeans regard theme parks as places for day excursions and they want to spend their holidays at quiet places like the beach or mountains instead of staying at such lively places like theme parks. This was another reason why hotels stayed empty. They also didn’t recognize the European Calender and celebrations of European holidays such as Oktoberfest or Bastille Day were neglected.

Last they were also ignorant of European tastes. They sold burgers and fries but forgot the bread, cheese and chocolate. So many visitors brought their


[1] Michael Solomon, Gary Bamossy, and Sören Askegaard, Consumer Behavior - a European Perspective, 4th edition, Prentice Hall Europe 1999, p. 34.

[2] John C. Mowen, and Michael Minor, Consumer Behavior, 5th edition, Prentice Hall 1997, Chapter 1.

[3] Del I. Hawkins, Roger J. Best, and Kenneth A. Coney, Consumer Behavior – Building Marketing Strategy, 7th edition, Irwin McGraw-Hill 1998, p. 42.

[4] Charles W. L. Hill, International Business – Competing in the Global Marketplace, 2nd Edition, Irwin McGraw-Hill 1998, p.67.

[5] Charles W. L. Hill, op.cit, pp.65.;

case e-mailed by Dr. Hal Lacoste of CSU Fresno (

Excerpt out of 21 pages


Consumer Behavior - Consumer as Decision Maker with cultural background
Nürtingen University  (University of Applied Sciences)
Hauptseminar Transnational Business
1,7 (A-)
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
File size
761 KB
Culture, Consumer Behaviour
Quote paper
Isabelle Pfeiffer (Author), 2000, Consumer Behavior - Consumer as Decision Maker with cultural background, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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