Social Identity and Consumer Preference Formation for High Involvement Products: A Study of Nigerians in the UK

PhD Thesis

Ndi Wanki, E. 2018. Social Identity and Consumer Preference Formation for High Involvement Products: A Study of Nigerians in the UK. PhD Thesis University of East London School of Business and Law
AuthorsNdi Wanki, E.
TypePhD Thesis

One stream of quest by scholars for knowledge development draws from the notion that groups and group behaviour lie at the heart of human society and proposes a social group approach. The notion contends that individuals live, work, and interact in groups and as a result are collaborative architects of the social world they inhabit. Advocates underline the need to improve the general understanding of consumer preference formation theory and the role of social groups’ behaviour on the consumption behaviour of individual members of social groups. Inspired by research gaps in this regard, this research examines how social identity / collective identity influences the preference formation of UK based Nigerians (a relatively unexplored social group) for high involvement products. Thus, this study conceptualised social identity / collective identity on the basis of nationality and ethnicity as aspects of consumer social identity. This study has utilised mainstream literature and conceptualised a framework (motivated by research gaps) that draws from identity, self-concept, extended self, culture (and acculturation), social embeddedness, symbolic consumption (clothing, necklaces, cars and mobile phones), networking [educational and employment], interaction and intermingling with other cultures. Exploratory and qualitative research approaches are used in this study and the research has followed interpretive logic that combines semi-structure interviews and observation. Based on the majority of participants in this study, culture plays a significant role in shaping the mindset of UK based Nigerians, and as a result social identity congruence behaviour is common within the Nigerian social community in the UK. Therefore, social identity congruence preference formation behaviour for high involvement products is high among UK based Nigerians. For some members of this social community, exhibiting such social identity congruence behaviour in their high involvement products preference formation is a sine-qua-non, a consequence of which is that they do not mind putting themselves through financial stress because they want to blindly follow the bandwagon. Based on purposive sampling, 34 participants were interviewed. The findings asserted that preference formation of UK based Nigerians for high involvement products is conditioned not only by social identity, but also by personal identity features, which includes personal values, religiosity-based values, and beyond own cultural domain imbibed values through networking. This study has contributed to the illumination of behavioural tendencies, social identity, factors that shape and moderate the self-concept and importance attached to membership of identity groups, and how these influence preference formations for high involvement products.

PublisherUniversity of East London
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PrintJan 2018
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Deposited14 Aug 2019
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