9. The Social Context of Consumption

The two important aspects of business studies:

  1. Psychology - Individual cognition; Mostly to do with human resources
  2. Economics - Finance
    • Microeconomics - individual
    • Macroeconomics - economy as a whole

A. The social context of consumption

Associating a specific product or brand with a social setup, like family dinner, or a group of friends.

Always analyse a phenomenon from both individual and social perspective to better understand the phenomenon.

1. Social Norms

  • Social norms are customary rules of behaviour that coordinate ourinteractions with others

2. The Power of Social Norms

  • conformity - tendency to adjust our behaviour to match that of others
  • social proof - tendency to do something because others are doing it
Descriptive norms - what people do
Injunctive norms - what people should do

Tight cultures are focused on conformity, control, and obedience. Loose cultures are focused on individualism, freedom, and self-expression.

  • The psychoscial mechanisms of the spread of obesity may rely less on the direct influence of peers and more on the indirect influence of social norms.

B. Descriptive and Injunctive Norms

  • Descriptive norms - Beliefs about what is done by most others in one’s social group
  • Injunctive norms - Beliefs about what is appropriate to do in one’s social group