Abstract - S of Current Research in the Area of Subcultures and Minorities

[ to cite ]:
(1974) ,"Abstract - S of Current Research in the Area of Subcultures and Minorities", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 01, eds. Scott Ward and Peter Wright, Ann Abor, MI : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 127-135.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 1, 1974    Pages 127-135

ABSTRACT - S OF CURRENT RESEARCH IN THE AREA OF SUBCULTURES AND MINORITIES

 

A STUDY OF ADVERTISING EFFECT: BLACKS AND WHITES

Arnold M. Barban, University of Illinois

In a study of Chicago middle income black and white respondents (N for whites = 121; N for blacks = 125), it was revealed that the two groups of racially structured subjects generally responded to print advertisements in an evaluatively favorable way. Black subjects, however, were considerably more favorable in their evaluation than their white counterparts. Black-white congruence of judgment tended to be the greatest for those advertisements which pictured white models, then for integrated advertisements, with least communality for ads containing black models. Among white subjects, ads with black and white models were generally preferred as much or more than the treatments with only white models. Black subjects tended to evaluate both integrated ads and black-model ads rather similarly and showed slightly less relative preference for the white-model treatments. Uniquely, though, blacks judged the white-model and black-model treatment of ads for a cigarette and a soft drink about the same, with all such advertisements being judged favorably.

 

RESEARCH PROJECT

William K. Brandt, Columbia University

Conducted a personal survey of 800 households for the National Commission on Consumer Finance to evaluate Truth in Lending and to identify constraints in the credit market for low-income and minority consumers. Problems to overcome before changes can occur in credit behavior include:

1. the relative unimportance of credit decisions vis-a-vis other purchase decisions,

2. the "captive" role of the retailer or dealer, and

3. consumer perceptions about credit availability.

Another dimension of the consumer credit study was an analysis of shopping behavior for major durable purchases. On the surface race and income were relatively unimportant as determinants of shopping activities, but the fear (real or perceived) of not obtaining credit appeared to influence the shopping patterns of many low-income and minority consumers.

 

AN EMPIRICAL ANALYSIS OF ALTERNATIVE BASES FOR MARKET SEGMENTATION AMONG BLACK AND WHITE CONSUMERS OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES

Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation

Allen A. Brogowicz, Michigan State University

Marketing strategy planners cannot afford to ignore the possible existence of a Negro market, but at the same time they need more convincing evidence that such a market really exists and that it is a useful concept for purposes of selecting target markets and developing marketing mixes. This study compares race, social class, motivation to strive, income, and benefits sought as alternative bases for segmentation among heterogeneous markets made up of both black and white consumers. The study focuses on product-choice decisions involving the selection of one type of alcoholic beverage over another (e.g., beer vs. gin vs. vodka), and on brand-choice decisions for beer and Scotch whisky. Data for the study was obtained through a survey of middle- and lower-class consumers in the Lansing, Michigan area.

 

RACIAL SIMILARITY AS A FACTOR IN SALESMAN-CUSTOMER INTERACTION

Robert H. Collins, University of Wisconsin

The basic hypothesis tested was that Black and White salesmen will not differ in performance when they sell to the general population. An observational field survey was conducted in a retail department store located in the downtown business district of Milwaukee. A combination of data-collection forms and structured questionnaires was used to obtain information on 237 salesman-customer interaction pairs. The data was analyzed using Multiple Classification Analysis to determine the effects of racial similarity, in isolation, on a salesman's effectiveness.

The results showed that the factor racial similarity was a significant predictor of a salesman's effectiveness when dealing with White customers, while no conclusions were made relative to Black customers. The White customers in this study showed no reluctance to either approach the Black salesmen for assistance or to make purchases from them. White customers rated the Black salesmen as favorably as the White salesmen. However, White customers made smaller purchases from Black salesmen than from White salesmen. This purchase was likely to contain fewer items of merchandise, and the total cost of the purchase would be less.

The limited scope of this study, in combination with the low level of the effects of racial similarity on salesman-customer interaction, makes it difficult to generalize these findings to other selling situations. The findings of this study do not support a strong case for refusing to hire Black salesmen on the basis of adverse customer reaction.

 

FEASIBILITY OF RENT AND TAX INCENTIVES FOR RENOVATION IN OLDER RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOODS

Dennis H. Gensch, Carnegie-Mellon University

Clarence F. Curry, Carnegie-Mellon University

This paper deals with the problem of providing sufficient rental housing for low-income families. The problem is first defined, indicating the current status of private and federal government activity, and then formulated and analyzed from perspectives quite different from the existing literature. The results of the empirical work indicate two important conclusions:

1. Under the current legal and economic system it is clearly not in the economic self-interest of a landlord to renovate his property in an older residential neighborhood.

2. By providing rent or tax incentives to landlords, municipalities can increase both the quality and quantity of low-income housing while surprisingly increasing their own net revenue.

 

SHOPPING OPINIONS OF MEXICAN-AMERICAN CONSUMERS: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS

Peter L. Gillett, University of Arizona

Richard A. Scott, University of Arizona

This paper explores two broad questions that the researchers believe are of importance in helping to understand Mexican-American consumer behavior. First, it explores to what extent the values, motivations, and perceptions held by Mexican-American consumers differ from those of the majority culture. Second, it seeks to determine if differences are distinctive of this subculture, or if they merely manifest the typical low socioeconomic status of this minority group. A sample of Mexican-American (N=81) and Anglo (N=450) shoppers were asked to respond to a set of opinion statements concerning shopping. The statements were categorized into three groupings: opinions concerning the shopping environment, opinions evaluating the various aspects of the shopping and buying decision making activities of the respondents, and opinions reflecting the respondents' evaluations of themselves as shoppers. The study indicated that, overall, Mexican-American shoppers do seem to have definite differences of opinion concerning shopping from those of the Anglo majority. Further, opinions appear much more likely to differ among the low-income Mexican-American and Anglo groups than among their higher-income counterparts.

 

TOWN IMAGE AND CONSUMER SERVICE LEVELS IN A SMALL COAL MINING TOWN

Waylon D. Griffin, West Virginia University

In a report on Osage, West Virginia, Business Week began the article by saying, "The mining town of Osage, West Virginia is about as poor as America gets." ("Raking Energy Over the Coals," February 17, 1973, p. 9.)

An exploratory study of Osage indicates that only ten Anglo-white families and three black families reported per member income per year below $1,010.00. The census data collected indicate that only thirteen families out of a total of 72 families fell below the $1,010.00 cut-off; this proportion is approximately eighteen percent, which is not significantly different from the proportion of 12.8 percent of the American population estimated by the Social Security Administration to be in poverty in 1968.

The contradiction in the perception of Business Week journalists and the Osage income data raised the question as to whether or not a town's perceived image affects the welfare of the town. For example, because of an unfavorable image, did entrepreneurs bypass business opportunities within the town? If so, do the residents feel under-serviced and dissatisfied with the business institutions that serve them? Moreover, are shopping and consumption costs higher because of the necessity to shop out of town?

This study in progress is attempting to answer the research question, "Is there a significant correlation between the perceived image of Osage and the perceived level of consumer services available in the town?"

 

AN ETHNOGRAPHIC STUDY OF LOW-INCOME BLACK CONSUMERS

Andrew Honeycutt, Florida A&M University

This study was conducted in Roxbury, Massachusetts using a participant observation (ethnographic) approach. The objective was to observe over a long period of time, through frequent interaction with them, the residents of a low-income housing project in order to analyze their behavior as consumers. It is expected that the study will offer new insights into the consumer behavior of low-income blacks and will generate a number of hypotheses for additional work.

 

THE INCIDENCE OF FALSE AND MISLEADING ADVERTISING AMONG FOOD CHAINS IN HIGH AND LOW DENSITY POVERTY AREAS

Norman Kangun, Federal Trade Commission

The article was based on an investigation undertaken by the FTC which found a rather high incidence of unavailability and overpricing of items featured in food chain advertisements. Furthermore, the problem appeared to be more severe in stores located in low-income neighborhoods. In Mays 1969, the FTC stated that such practices were "unfair methods of competition" and set forth a trade regulation establishing guidelines that food chains were to follow in their advertising. To determine the extent to which the trade regulation was being observed, the author conducted a study of a sample of food chains in Houston, Texas in September, 1972 to determine whether:

1. the incidence of unavailability and overpricing was lower than that found in the FTC survey of Washington and San Francisco stores, and whether

2. the frequency of advertised items being unavailable and overpriced was significantly greater in stores located in high density poverty areas than in low density poverty areas.

After collecting the data, the author found that the proportion of advertised items that were either unavailable or overpriced had not been reduced significantly from the earlier FTC studies. Utilizing chi square analysis, the extent of item unavailability and overpricing was significantly greater in those stores located in high density poverty areas. In support of these findings, subsequent FTC surveys have resulted in similar findings. One large food chain is presently facing litigation because of its failure to comply with the trade regulation. The author is now working with FTC attorneys in seeking remedies to discourage that food chain and others from not complying with the trade regulation.

Overall, the percentage of advertised products not reduced in price ranged from a low of thirteen percent in the local chain to a high of 25 percent for both the regional and national chains. Likewise, the local chain, which had the smallest overall percentage of advertised products which were not reduced in price, also had the largest overall percentage reduction in price for the advertised products. The overall percentage markdown for the local chain was 23 percent compared to sixteen and seventeen percent respectively for the regional and national chains. These and other questions pertaining to food advertising are especially pertinent in view of the past and planned Federal Trade Commission research into possible deception in the advertising of food products by supermarkets. These findings may also have special implications for the low-income and less informed consumers who may rely heavily on advertised food products as a surrogate indicator for reduced price in making their purchasing decisions.

 

INTRA-CHAIN PRICING DIFFERENTIALS WITHIN NATIONAL CHAIN SUPERMARKETS: A CASE STUDY

J. Barry Mason, University of Alabama

This is a research proposal which has been submitted to the Research Grants Committee of The University of Alabama for research which is scheduled to begin in the spring of 1974. The objectives of the planned research are as follows:

1. to determine the relationship of individual market basket prices to patterns of store location within various standard metropolitan statistical areas;

2. to determine the relationship, if any, of size of urban area to market basket prices;

3. to determine the relationship of the degree of isolation of given communities from major urban areas to market basket prices; and

4. to determine the relative availability and prices of private brands, national brands, and non-branded items for areas with differing socio-economic characteristics.

The research will focus upon the 100 stores of one major national chain which has stores throughout Alabama. The data will be collected in the spring of 1974.

 

UNAVAILABILITY AND MISPRICING OF ADVERTISED GROCERY PRODUCTS

J. Barry Mason, University of Alabama

This is an exploratory research effort which is currently under way. The data were gathered during the latter part of October, 1973. The research focused on selected grocery items in various food product categories such as meat, vegetables, canned goods, etc. The objectives were to determine unavailability rates and mispricing of advertised food products between local, regional, and national chains as well as independents and to determine unavailability and mispricing between higher and lower income socio-economic areas as defined by census data. The data were collected for 25 food outlets in Tuscaloosa, Alabama over a one-week period for grocery products which were advertised by the supermarkets during the period of the analysis.

 

RESEARCH PROJECTS

Gretchen Kettenhofen, Lee Slurzberg Research, Inc.

Ms. Kettenhofen has conducted extensive research on the black and Hispanic communities. In addition, she has been involved in several other projects for studies, many of which have come under the umbrella of the Manpower Act activities. They are as follows:

1. An in-depth study of 10,000 blacks in inner-city Baltimore on the subject of poverty--the living conditions, educational and occupational opportunities, crime problems, etc.

2. A study of the effectiveness of the New York State Narcotics Control Commission's communications to those people who are their prime targets.

3. A study of the effectiveness of the CEP in recruiting, training, and keeping employed people who, up to their involvement with the program, were considered hard-core unemployed.

4. A study of the effectiveness of the Neighborhood Youth Corps in aiding young people to stay in school and maintain the level of financial assistance that their families require.

5. A study of the effect of the outward-striving of ghetto residents on their media behavior patterns.

6. An experimental study of black consciousness--what it is and its effect on behavior.

 

RESEARCH PROJECTS

B. Ed Klinker, Jr., Anchor Hocking Corporation

During the past year Anchor Hocking has conducted several focus group sessions in the areas of life styles, apartment dwellers, "pop" wine drinkers, and related products. The company is currently planning a session on the black consumer. In all these studies the company is attempting to uncover ideas that could help improve its product offering and service to a given segment.

 

THE GROCERY SHOPPER AND FOOD SPECIALS: A CASE OF SUBJECTIVE DECEPTION?

J. Barry Mason, University of Alabama

The purposes of this research were as follows:

1. to determine whether food products advertised in newspapers tend to be a bargain in terms of specially reduced prices;

2. to determine whether patterns in the advertising of food products could be detected among different types of supermarkets in the same categories of food items; and

3. to determine differences in the apparent advertising policies of different types of chains relative to food products.

 

CLOTHING VARIABLES, SHOPPING PRACTICES, AND MATERIAL POSSESSIONS OF LOW-INCOME BLACKS, WHITES, AND CHEROKEE INDIANS IN OKLAHOMA: A PILOT STUDY

Billie G. Murphy, Oklahoma State University

Oklahoma is rich in the diversity of ethnic groups. Blacks, Spanish-speaking Americans, and the native American Indians comprise the dominant ethnic subcultures of Oklahoma. Of the native American Indians, the Cherokees of eastern Oklahoma represent a tightly knit ethnic subculture.

The present research study is designed to distinguish similarities and differences that may exist among clothing variables, shopping practices, and material possessions of low-income blacks, whites, and Cherokee Indians. Interviews are being conducted with 300 low-income tenth grade boys with a middle income control group. Procedures for collecting data include the use of line drawings enabling the respondents to indicate choice of hairstyle, hats, shoes, school attire, and clothing ornamentation. The line drawings are an attempt to simplify communication problems in what is sometimes a semiliterate segment of the PoPulation.

 

FOOD SALES MIX AND PROFITABILITY: GHETTO SUPERMARKETS REVISITED

Donald E. Sexton, Jr., Columbia University

This paper reports empirical findings concerning the effect of the mix of food sales on the gross margins of poverty area supermarkets and compares them to results implicit (but not discussed) in a recent article by Donaldson and Strangways.

 

MONOPOLY PROFITS AND GHETTO FOOD MERCHANTS: AN EMPIRICAL TEST

Donald E. Sexton, Jr., Columbia University

Much discussion has been focused on the food prices paid by inner city residents. It has been alleged that inner city grocery stores, especially the smaller stores, by charging high prices earn relatively large profits. This study tests that allegation by examining changes in the numbers of food stores in outer and inner city areas over several years.

 

A STUDY OF THE DIFFERENTIAL FOOD PURCHASING BEHAVIOR OF FEDERAL FOOD STAMP RECIPIENTS AND NON-SUBSIDIZED FOOD PURCHASERS

Gerald U. Skelly, Florida State University

An empirical investigation using consumer food purchasing diaries. This study investigated the food purchasing behavior and patterns of food stamp recipients and other, non-subsidized food purchasers for the purpose of identifying differences which may be reflected in their costs of food.

 

FASHIONS IN MINORITY CULTURES

Thesis Project

George B. Sproles, Purdue University

Minority cultures of the American population frequently have symbols of cultural identity which are unique compared to the mass population. Particularly relevant are the unique fashion symbols which may be observed In the black, American Indian, and certain ethnic cultures. A research program is currently being developed to focus on these unique fashion symbols. Initial objectives of the program are:

1. to identify fashion symbols which have a distinct cultural orientation to various subcultures;

2. to Identify the unique meanings of fashion as a part of the subcultural Identity;

3. to Investigate the dynamics by which certain subcultural fashions become adopted and diffused In the larger American culture.

 

BLACK AMERICANS AND THE BUSINESS SYSTEM: PERCEPTIONS, PRACTICES, AND PROBLEMS

Frederick D. Sturdivant, Ohio State University

James L. Ginter, Ohio State University

This study, which is in its preliminary stages of development, will attempt to assess racial attitudes and business philosophies of managers of a number of companies and correlate these findings with the practices of the firm which affect blacks.

 

Subcultures and Minorities Workshop Participants and Others Interested in Research In This Field

*Alan Andreasen, Department of Marketing, State University of New York, Buffalo

Arnold M. Barban, Department of Advertising, University of Illinois, Urbana

*Kenneth L. Bernhardt, Department of Marketing, Georgia State University, Atlanta

William K. Brandt, Graduate School of Business, Columbia University, New York, N.Y.

Andrew A. Brogowicz, Department of Marketing and Transportation Administration, Michigan State University, East Lansing

*Bobbi Clarke, Harvard Business School, Boston

*S. Clemhout, Consumer Economics & Public Policy, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.

Robert H. Collins, Department of Marketing, University of Wisconsin, Whitewater

Keith K. Cox, Department of Marketing, University of Houston, Houston, Texas

Edward W. Cundiff, Graduate School of Business, University of Texas, Austin

Clarence F. Curry, Graduate School of industrial Administration, Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh

Donald F. Dixon, School of Business Administration, Temple University, Philadelphia

Luis V. Dominguez, Department of Marketing, Indiana University, Bloomington

*Steven Farbman, Massachusetts Consumers' Council, Boston

Dennis H. Gensch, Graduate School of Industrial Administration, Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh

Peter L. Gillett, Department of Marketing, University of Arizona, Tucson

Charles S. Goodman, Department of Marketing, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

Waylon D. Griffin, College of Business and Economics, West Virginia University, Morgantown

Gerald Hills, Department of Marketing, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

*Bob Hodges, University of Richmond, Richmond, Virginia

*Andrew Honeycutt, School of Business, Florida A&M University, Tallahassee

*Norman Kangun, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, D.C.

*Gretchen Kettenhofen, Lee Slurzberg Research, Inc., New York, N.Y.

Thomas Kindel, College of Business Administration, University of Texas, Arlington

*B. Ed Klinker, Jr., Anchor Hocking Corporation, Lancaster, Ohio

Douglas Longman, Pepsico, Purchase, N.Y.

*J. Barry Mason, Graduate School of Business, University of Alabama, University

*Billie G. Murphy, Department of Clothing, Textiles, and Merchandising, University of Oklahoma, Stillwater

Eleanor Quick, Department of Design and Environmental Analysis, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.

Lee Rainwater, Department of Sociology, Harvard University, Boston

Ivan Ross, Department of Marketing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

*Shirley Schecter, Home Economics Department, Queens College, Flushing, N.Y.

Richard A. Scott, Department of Marketing, University of Arizona, Tucson

*Donald E. Sexton, Jr., Graduate School of Business, Columbia University, New York, N.Y.

Gerald U. Skelly, Department of Marketing, Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville

George B. Sproles, Department of Clothing and Textiles, School of Home Economics, Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana

Richard Staelin, Graduate School of Industrial Administration, Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh

James E. Stafford, Department of Marketing, University of Houston, Houston, Texas

Alvin D. Star, College of Business Administration, University of Illinois at Chicago Circle, Chicago

*Frederick D. Sturdivant, M. Riklis Professor of Business and Its Environment, Ohio State University, Columbus

*Maryann Tashakori, Harvard Business School, Boston

*Roberta A. Ward, Boston Regional Office, Federal Trade Commission

Scott Ward, Graduate School of Business Administration, Harvard University, Boston

Lawrence H. Wortzel, Department of Marketing, Boston University, Boston, Mass.

Stephen W. Brown, Department of Marketing, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

Gary F. McKinnon, School of Business, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah

Herschel Shosteck, Herschel Shosteck Associates, Washington, D.C.

*Indicates participant in "Subcultures and Minorities" workshop.

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