Decision processes preceding purchase of high involvement products are very complex. This is probably one of the main reasons why we still find unsolved research questions in this area although consumer decision making has been of interest to the research society for almost 60 years. Consumer behaviour researchers with an interest in describing and explaining decision making processes have most often used a multi-process framework. The decision making process of interest has been split into different integrated sub-processes and analyzed in a step-wise manner. We do not discuss the usefulness of this kind of step-wise approaches, but focus on another research limitation found in previous studies. We claim that to separate different decision making processes (preceding purchase of different products), especially when they are of high involvement character may seriously violate the level of external validity of the results. A research approach not often used is to study high involvement decision making processes in its right context, in a decision space where different decision processes are integrated. The research unit in focus in this study is households (and families). About 60 percent of the Finnish households own their apartment. To buy an apartment is for most households the most important decision they make during their lifetime. A decision process preceding this kind of large investments can not be analyzed in a vacuum, but studied in a real life context, meaning that one single decision may influence many other decisions for a long time. Our first purpose in this research project is to study how high involvement decisions influence the actual decision space. Information about available apartments on a specified market is important for the decision makers. Accommodation agencies have during the last four years started to use a new communication channel - the Internet. The Added value the Internet offers both apartment purchasers and accommodation agencies is large. Apartment criteria can be specified and used as search dimensions on accommodation agencies websites. Within a few seconds all matched options are listed and the households can progress in their decision making process. Internet is for accommodation agencies a very dynamic medium. Fast changes on the markets can immediately be updated on the Internet and added information can be distributed. Our second purpose in this research project is to analyze the information channels households use during their decision making processes when buying an apartment.
|Effective start/end date||01.08.2003 → 31.07.2008|
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