The paper 'External Factors of Decision-Making Process - Samsung" is a good example of a management case study. A reference group is a group that consumers associate with or compare themselves with. They help the consumer to develop values and attitudes and that guide and influence the consumers’ behaviors. Consumers look up to reference groups to help them make purchasing decisions and hence they have a profound influence on the behavior of the consumer. Everyone behaves in a certain way on the basis of the reference groups that they belong to.
Consumers often modify their behaviors so that they coincide with their group norms (Solomon et al, 2009). Communication by reference groups is through opinion leaders. The opinion leaders influence what the other people do, how they act and what they buy. Solomon et al, (2009) observed that there are two broad categories of reference groups. The first group is the normative reference groups. These influence the consumers’ general behavior and values. Consumers’ , family and friends are the best examples of normative reference groups. The friends are among the most influential reference groups that influence the consumers’ behavior.
This is because they have direct contact with the consumer. In the case of Samsung, the family of the consumer will have a great influence on the decision. The family members will influence the consumer greatly. For example, if the family members are users of Samsung phones, they will influence the consumer to purchase a Samsung phone too. Friends of the consumers will also influence the decision of the consumer to purchase Samsung phones. The second group is the comparative reference groups. These groups serve as benchmarks for specific behavior and attitude.
For example, a group of neighboring families shares common habits and attitudes. Samsung is a widely used phone brand. If the neighbors of the consumers prefer Samsung to the other brands of phones, the neighbors will influence the decision of the consumer greatly as they will encourage the consumers to go for their preferences which is Samsung Solomon et al, (2009) stated that there are also indirect reference groups. These are people with whom a person identifies, admires and associates with but they do not have face to face interactions.
Examples of indirect reference groups are TV personalities and movie stars.
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