Review of Research Article Article Reviewed: Russell-Bennett, Rebekah and McColl-Kennedy, Janet R. and Coote, Leonard V. (2007) Involvement, satisfaction, and brand loyalty in a small business services setting. Journal of Business Research 60(12): pp. 1253-1260. Research Question: The research question here involves basically finding out how attitudinal loyalty and behavioral brand loyalty are related and its implications for managerial decision making. Traditionally, analysis of consumer behavior relied more on behavioral brand loyalty but did not pay careful attention to attitudinal loyalty. The author argues that behavioral loyalty can be captured and it gets reflected in the actual decisions; however, it is the attitude that shapes up perception and hence the decision.
The nature of study is such that survey method would be the basic method of gathering information. Statement of Hypotheses: Hypotheses are essential that provide guideposts to test for relationships. In fact, statement of hypothesis helps to exposit functional relationships between concepts. At the broader level, this paper examined consumer behavior. This paper had formulated four hypotheses, after a careful examining of existing literature on consumer loyalty, satisfaction and involvement. In the ultimate analysis, it is the decision of consumers to buy a product that matters.
And such decision is central to analysis of consumer behavior. Loyalty influences consumer behavior. Satisfaction influences loyalty. Moreover, involvement in the product or services also influences loyalty. Both satisfaction and involvement determine the attitude. And therefore attitude influences behavior. Based on the aforementioned stated concepts, this paper brings out four major hypotheses, namely, there is a positive relationship between attitudinal loyalty and behavioral brand loyalty; satisfaction and attitudinal loyalty; involvement and attitudinal loyalty, and satisfaction and involvement.
It is important to mention that these hypotheses, although rooted in consumer behavior literature, has been extended to business to business context, wherein the small businesses’ behavior were examined. Most of the studies cited by the authors in fact relate to consumer market segment; at the same time, business to business context would have different behavior. This was not discussed at length, and therefore formulating hypotheses based on consumer behavior literature could be based on wrong premise. Data: The data required for present research is of both secondary and primary. Secondary data are customers’ database maintained by the leading telephone directory firm.
These customers were small business which had opted directory business services. Doing some preliminary analysis provided background information about its existing customers, and matching with the predetermined profile helped to choose sample. Samples: The research relied on business loyalty to other business. So much so the authors considered whether or not small firms were loyal to the business services demanded by them. Considering the central research question, small firms were considered were unit of analysis and hence constitute sample for present research.
Small business was the samples from whom response were solicited. To select these samples, the authors considered only those firms which were customers of business services of the telephone directory firm. There are ample reasons to believe that not all small businesses were customers of the telephone directory firms for two reaons. One, they may not be customers to any directory firm; and, two, they may be customers of other directory firm. Hence, considering the list provided by telephone directory firm could have excluded a few other small businesses which could have provided vital information. Sampling technique: Normally, sample selection requires careful attention.
Efforts are made by researchers to ensure representative sample of so that the results could be generalized. To this end, first a sample frame would have to drawn. This is a list of customers of a leading business telephone directory. Using the sample frame, as many as 1472 sample respondents were drawn. The authors did not mention about the population and hence statistical validity of the sample frame could not be determined accurately. In fact, the research process in terms of data collection by authors begun at this stage of determining samples to be drawn from the sampling frame.
As noted above, only customers of leading business directory were considered and they were contacted. Even a few of them from this original sample frame dropped out either intentionally or could not be contacted at all. This reduced the sample frame to 1331. In the research process, respondents would be selected after constructing sample frame. Both probability sampling and non-probability sampling are in vogue. Probability sampling is a process whereby every employee included in the sample frame has a known nonzero probability of selection.
This is found to be a better method whereby each member has been assigned with equal probability of being selected. As opposed to this, non-probability sampling does not give equal probability to all the units included in the sampling frame but provide for sample selection on the basis of convenience, judgment, and referral and so on. Although the authors have not mentioned whether they followed probability or non-probability sampling, it is clear that the followed latter approach.
This is so because they have considered those questionnaires duly completed and mailed back to them numbering about 267 that yielded an effective response rate of 20%. The subsequent statistical testing has proved that data collected thus were valid. Data Analysis: The authors have followed rigorous statistical analysis in the paper. In a serious research, it is important to ensure that data collected are valid and reliable. It means data collected should measure what they are suppose to measure and should be the same even if repeat exercise were made.
There are a few statistical techniques available to test the validity and reliability of the data. Data analysis begins by testing for the data fit and their validity and reliability. One factor model were used for data fit testing, and confirmatory factor models were used for checking the validity and reliability. The estimated scores were satisfactory and so the authors move on to the next stage of data analysis that is, testing for existence of the exposited relationships in terms of hypotheses testing. For the purpose of hypotheses testing, authors relied on Chi squared, correlation technique, path estimates, tit statistics, and squared multiple correlations.
The estimated coefficients of each of these factors, namely, behavioral brand loyalty, attitudinal loyalty, satisfaction and involvement provide the extent of variance. The estimates show positive relationship amongst these factors, which in turn confirms to the existence of formulated hypotheses. The details of the coefficients have been presented to the extent of what there required and inferences drawn based on the coefficients (beta values) were found to be valid. Validity of conclusion: There can be a number of reasons contributing to behavioral brand loyalty.
The administered questionnaire had stated several important statements that was aimed to capture behavioral brand loyalty. So is the case with other factors too. Two issues here are: one, there can be some other questions that would have captured brand loyalty better; and two, sample size itself may be insufficient. Authors did not mention if the ultimate sample is the appropriate size. Failure on these grounds may reduce the validity of the conclusions, although inference drawn using estimates may be found good. Implications of the findings for managerial decision making: There is no doubt that the article has some take away.
Customer behavior is central to business decision making. Efforts have been made by companies to understand why consumers behave in the way they do and what can be done to ensure consumers’ behavior to occur in the way that companies want. No doubt that customer’s behavioral loyalty, which gets reflected in their repeated purchase and referral to others, is central to business existence. Realizing this, many companies remain customer focused and spend enormous resources on building up an effective customer relationship programs. The paper under review has certainly brought out important dimension of behavioral brand loyalty.
It is clear that perception shapes up attitudinal loyalty that conditions behavioral brand loyalty of consumers. Moreover, this paper also proves a positive relationship between satisfaction and attitudinal loyalty, involvement and attitudinal loyalty, and finally, between satisfaction and attitude. From the point view of formulating appropriate marketing strategy, such findings are very important. As noted, having an effective customer relationship management would go a long way in maintaining customer satisfaction and involvement; and hence findings of this paper lend credence to such efforts of companies.