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INT4801 International Business

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INT4801 International Business

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Course Code: INT4801
University: University Of South Africa is not sponsored or endorsed by this college or university

Country: South Africa

Purpose of the research proposal
•The purpose of thesection is to provide a contextualization of the overall research topic.
•The section should include various industry data related to your topic or product category/consumer group.
•Define and explain which research design and method were used and why?

Research Purpose
There are different roles of different family members in making family decisions. Demand must be initiated by them and the information should be contributed. This might help them to decide better on the product to be bought, the brand that has to be selected, hoe the payment for the product must be made, the way in which the product will be consumed as well as how the product will be shared for its maintenance. From various previous researches, it has been observed that with regard to the product that has to be purchased, the influence of the opinions of husbands and wives of a family varies. The characteristics of the spouses as well as their families are also responsible for the difference in the influences and the roles played by the husbands and the wives in the family in decision making. It is expected that there will be changes in these roles based on the changes in the environmental conditions such as development of the economic condition of the family. This will be directly related to the adjustments in the decision making roles played by the family members.
Research Objectives and Research Questions
The main objective of this research is to find out how the purchasing decisions are influenced by the gender within the family. Thus, based on the above stated background and the objective of the research, on which the study has been constructed, the following research questions can be framed:

Do men enjoy spending more than women?
Are women perceived to be more dominant in making business decisions?
Does education have an effect on perceived role of women as decision makers?
Is there a difference among income group with regard to gender roles in decision making?
What is the overall perception regarding role of men and women in purchase decisions?
Does the family being nuclear or joint have an effect on perceived significance of women as decision makers?

Theoretical Foundation
There have been extensive changes in the economic environment which is one of the main reasons for the changes observed in the family roles of husbands and wives. According to different authors, these changes have brought the difference in the roles of decision making of the male and the female members of the families but the changes in the roles are not generalized to all the products (Uddin & Khan, 2016).
The orientation of sex role is indicated by the norms and the values related to the responsibilities and the duties of each of the sex. The attitude and the norms brought by each of the members in the family is responsible for the behavior of the spouses. These attitudes are affected by the behavior of the individuals, the behavior of the parents of the spouses and also the environmental factors (Abubakar, Ilkan & Sahin, 2016).
Males and females have preference towards different products because of differences in the ways they are liking different products and want to obtain these. In this sense, gender plays an important role in determining behavior of consumers. The existing differences between men and women regarding their expectation, need, wants, life style and such other attributes. These differences are reflected in their purchasing behavior (London et al., 2014).
Research paper developed by Fang et al. (2016) distinguished products based on sex type. Products classified as sex typed are defined depending on characteristics of masculine and feminine. For example, Barbie dolls are for girls while hot wheels are for boys. Researchers conducted research on decision-making process of families. The decision making process is divided into three phases; recognition of problems, searing for relevant information and final decision. The relative influence and responsibilities of husband and wives in the family differs depending upon the stages of decision-making and type of the product.
According to various studies, it has been found out that there are diminishing distinctions in the roles between men and women. This has resulted in roles that are complex and vague. It has also been observed from a study by Grewal, Roggeveen & Nordfält (2017) that the tasks that are male dominated are performed quite traditionally and thus with the increase in the autonomy, the family decisions are also influenced by the decisions of the wives. One of the aspects in which the decision of the wives is more influencing is the decision making on the consumption factors of the family. According to a study by Lissitsa & Kol (2016), it has been observed that, the husbands of the wives that are from liberal families are prone to make lesser family decisions, whereas, the husbands of the wives from conservative families are more prone to make decisions. The grocery related decisions have shown prominence by the wives in all three types of families such as, conservatives, moderates and liberals. The decisions related to investments such as life insurance are mostly taken by the husbands in all the three types of families. Other decisions such as decisions on the household goods like buying of furniture have been found to be taken jointly and are not dominated by either the husbands or the wives. The attitudes of the wives have been highly influencing on the decisions for the purchase of luxury goods such as automobiles, major appliances and planning of vacations. The husbands of the liberal families have been making lesser decisions in each of the above categories. Thus, the author has concluded that the dominance of the decision makings has been depending on the type of investment that has to be made or the type of product that has to be purchased. It has also been observed that there is a gradual decrease in the influence of the husbands in making all these family decisions and the women of the family is becoming dominant for making purchase decisions. Nowadays, it has also been observed that the decision making tasks are usually shared between the husbands and wives and none of the decisions are made only by the influence of any one of the them.
In a study conducted by Mitchell & Boustani (2015), found that younger couples with higher education and higher social standard believes in norms of sex role. Couples believing in traditional sex norms are more likely to have dominance of one spouse in their family decision. While couples having modern sex orientation are likely to take joint decision. Sex orientation relying on traditional norms has a less complicated decision-making process in the sense that roles and responsibilities of each of the spouse is simple and clear. Behavior of couples in modern sex orientation on the other hand has a less predicted behavior. Each spouse there enjoy a greater autonomy and flexibility to his or her roles. This makes the decision making process complicated.
A study based on single and dual income households suggested that in wives belonging to dual income families perceived to be less feminine than as compared to wives in single income families. However, there were no significant difference in their perception regarding masculinity. Result of this paper indicated that women having a carrier-oriented mentality having attributes regarded as traditional masculine. Women in the dual income families though constituted a different norm of traditional orientation, there however does not exist significant difference between these two types of families in structure of power. Thus, couples might have a different marital status but ideology behind marital power was not necessarily different (Mitchell & Boustani, 2015).
Division of power between spouses also depends on orientation of sex role. The financial management within the family is also influenced by the attitude towards careers of wife. This affects the sharing of responsibility in the family. Sex role orientation is the most important factor affecting roles of wives. Wives possessing a high sex modernity enjoy a relatively high influence in the family decision- making. While husbands with modern sex orientation have a less power in family decision. In families with working wives, husbands often found to help their wives in household chores as one the wives are going outside they get a relatively less time for in-house activities (Grewal, Roggeveen & Nordfält, 2017).
Methodology: Research Design and Method
In order to conduct the data analysis, the methodology that has been used is the quantitative research methodology. This methodology has been used for the analysis as the results can be easily understood. Quantitative research is mostly used so that the problem can be quantified by generating data that is numerical and that can be transformed to statistics that can be used for interpretation (Brannen, 2017). The attitudes, behaviors, opinions and other variables that can be defined are quantified and the results are generalized from a sample for a larger population. Measurable data are used in the quantitative research methodology so that facts can be formulated and research patterns can be uncovered (Creswell & Creswell, 2017).
Elements of Investigation and Measurement
The elements of the research investigation include hypothesis testing as well as general discussions of the trends of preferences. In order to address the first research question, whether men enjoy spending more than women, a chi square test of association has been performed. The null and the alternate hypothesis to conduct the above stated test is provided as follows:
Null Hypothesis (H01): There is no association between the preferences in shopping based on gender.
Alternate Hypothesis (HA1): There is significant association between the preferences in shopping based on gender.
In order to find out whether women play a dominant role in the decision making process, the trends and techniques of men and women with respect to their dominance in decision making has been presented and discussed with the help of suitable charts and diagrams.
Analysis of correlation is found to be useful to find the effect of education in the role of women in making family decisions.
Null Hypothesis (H02): There is no significant correlation between women education scores and women education.
Alternate Hypothesis (HA2): There is existence of significant correlation between women education scores and women education.
Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) test has been to test the differences among the income groups with regard to the roles of the gender in family decision making.
Null Hypothesis (H03): There is no significant difference in the mean perceptions between the various income groups.
Alternate Hypothesis (HA3): There are significant differences in the mean perceptions between the various income groups.
A comparison of the scores of the perceived significance of women in family decision making with respect to the family being joint or nuclear has been evaluated with the help of two sample t-test.  
Null Hypothesis (H04): There is no significant difference in the perceived significance scores of women as decision makers between joint and nuclear families.
Alternate Hypothesis (HA4): There are significant differences in the perceived significance scores of women as decision makers between joint and nuclear families.
Data Collection Process
In order to perform all the analysis stated and described above, data needs to be collected. Thus, the data was collected for the purpose of this research with the help of a questionnaire. The development of the questionnaire was primarily performed in a word document and circulated over a series of families and the responses of the members of the families on the designed questionnaire has been recorded as data for the analysis.   
Sample Profile
The questionnaire was distributed over 100 families selected randomly. There were various types of families such as joint families, nuclear families. The selected families belong to different ranges of incomes and expenditures. All the selected families belong to a particular South African community. A minimum number of samples are required to conduct a study which depends on the size of the population of the community selected (Hopkins, 2017).
Results and Discussions
The data of 100 data points consists of observations from the responses of 51% women and 49% men. Furthermore 44% are single and 56% are married. 58% of the participants were from Joint families and 42% were from Nuclear families. 17% of the respondents were school dropouts, 14% were high school graduates, 14% had a diploma certification as their highest educational qualification. 15% were actually graduates, 16% had completed their post-graduation and 24% had completed post doctorate. Hence the sample consists of respondents from varying literacy backgrounds, with 64% having at least completed college graduation and 21% being of the lower educated group. Moreover 33% had monthly income of less than 6500 USD, 24% had monthly income between 6500 and 12000 USD, 28% had income between 12000 and 185000 USD, 7% had income between 185000 and 25000 USD and 8% had greater than 25000 USD. Consequently, 57% had less than 12000 USD as monthly income. The following figures show the graphical representation of the characteristics of the individuals who consist the sample.
The mean age of the respondents was found to be 39.86 with minimum age 18years and maximum age 65 years. The first quartile was found to be 25 years and the median age was 38.5 years. The third quartile was found to be 56 years. The distribution is more or less evenly distributed about the mean with skewness 0.199.
The mean income per month of the respondents was 14330 USD. It was found to have a positively skewed distribution with coefficient of skewness equal to 2.895 and median value of 9251 USD. The first quartile was 6500 USD and 15751 USD as third quartile.
The monthly expenditure of the families was found to have a mean of 9294.77 USD. The distribution of the reported monthly expenditures has a positively skewed distribution of 2.074 coefficient of skewness. The first quartile is 3002 USD, The median is 4985 USD and the third quartile is 12984 USD.
The first question to be addressed which is  of interest is whether there exists a certain bias of one gender to shop or in terms of their willingness to shop. The respondents were asked to report whether  they enjoyed shopping or not. The gender of the respondent was then compared to their preferences and using Pearson’s Chi-squared it was to be tested whether there exists some association between gender and enjoyment for shopping . The p-value for the pearson’s Chi-squared test was found be 0.854 and hence no such significant association was found It could thus be said that the genders are no more enthusiatic about shopping than the other. The p-value for Fisher’s exact test was 0.506 which was still insignificant.
The following figure shows the frequency for each of the four cases.

The key point of contention for the topic was approached from the point of view that whether women have a more dominant influence over buying decisions or not. The participants were asked a list of questions dealing with their ratings of certain individual notion and perceptions on the topic of women’s role in making decisions, the role of women in buying decisions in their own family and close relations. Eight likert like scaled variable were defined to compute two separate perception scores, viz, one for the education of women which implies the perception of women development in their eyes and secondly their perception of how much role a woman has and can play in buying decisions for the family.
The distribution of the dominance score for women is given in the following table and figure:

PerDomWomen (Binned)




Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent


1.01 – 2.00





2.01 – 3.00





3.01 – 4.00










The mean score for dominance in buying decisions for women was found to be 3.21. Conducting a one sample test to check whether they rated women as more dominant than average it was seen that the p-value is less than 0.0001. Thus women were found to be more dominant.
Again the percentage of expenditure done by men and that done by women in the last month was compared to see whether the men carried out more of the expenditure or not. The mean percentage for men was 50 and the mean for women was 36.34. A two sample t-test was done to compare the mean percentage for the two groups, viz, men and women. The p-value was found to be 0.018 which is significant at 5% level. Thus it was seen that men carried out more percentage of the actual physical act of transaction than women. Therefore it can be said that although men are more likely to go out and do the actual buying, the deliberation with regard to what to actually buy is perceived to be influenced by the women of the family.
Now focusing on whether the perceived competence of women to make such decisions is influenced by how much they are educated or not, it was seen that the Pearson Correlation coefficient between the significance given to female literacy relates to the perceived notion of women’s insight regarding the choice to buy something is 0.684 which indicates a significant degree of association between the two. This suggests that households which are more liberal and associated with higher female literacy or who value gender equality are likely to include women more in their purchasing decisions than other who fall behind on such notions. Following up on this notion, whether the economic condition of the family also checked for whether it had any influence on whether female insight was valued more than make insight or not. A one way ANOVA  test was carried out with 5% level of significance to check whether the  perception of women being the more dominant and competent gender for buying decisions vary over the income categories or not. It was found to be insignificant with p-value being 0.388. However the score was seen to have increased along with the income levels of the group, despite the difference being statistically insignificant. The income groups were then merged into two groups, namely higher income with income being greater than equal to 18500 USD and lower with income being lower than that. The mean score for lower income group was found to be 2.78 and that for the higher income group was 2.92. However even in this case, having carried out ANOVA test, it was seen that the p-value is insignificant with it being equal to 0.194. Although the score clearly improves from lower to higher income group. Finally the type of family, whether joint or nuclear family had any impact on women’s role in making decisions about purchase decisions was also discerned using two sample t-test, where by the mean dominant impact score for women was compared for the respondents belonging to the two groups. It was seen that the mean for the respondents from joint families is 2.813 and that from nuclear families is 2.886. The difference between the two was not found to be statistically significant at 5% level of significance with the p-value of the test being equal to 0.491.
Conclusions and Limitations
It was seen that the women were found to have more weightage in the actual decision making rather than in the act of actually going out to buy the items themselves where it was seen that it was the men who carried out the larger portion of the expenses. The change in perception regarding role of women was seen to increase along with the income group however the difference was not found to be significant. Furthermore, the correlation between the educational level of a woman was found to be positively correlated with that of her perceived competence and say in the decision making process for buying.
Abubakar, A.M., Ilkan, M. & Sahin, P. (2016). eWOM, eReferral and gender in the virtual community. Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 34(5), pp.692-710.
Brannen, J., 2017. Mixing methods: Qualitative and quantitative research. Routledge.
Creswell, J.W. & Creswell, J.D. (2017). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Sage publications.
Fang, J., Wen, C., George, B. & Prybutok, V.R. (2016). Consumer heterogeneity, perceived value, and repurchase decision-making in online shopping: the role of gender, age, and shopping motives. Journal of Electronic Commerce Research, 17(2), p.116.
Grewal, D., Roggeveen, A.L. & Nordfält, J. (2017). The future of retailing. Journal of Retailing, 93(1), pp.1-6.
Hopkins, W. G. (2017). Estimating Sample Size for Magnitude-Based Inferences. Sportscience, 21.
Lissitsa, S. & Kol, O. (2016). Generation X vs. Generation Y–A decade of online shopping. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 31, pp.304-312.
London, T., Esper, H., Grogan?Kaylor, A. & Kistruck, G.M. (2014). Connecting poverty to purchase in informal markets. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 8(1), pp.37-55.
Mitchell, V.W. & Boustani, P. (2015). The effects of demographic variables on measuring perceived risk. In Proceedings of the 1993 Academy of Marketing Science (AMS) Annual Conference (pp. 663-669). Springer, Cham.
Uddin, S.F. & Khan, M.N. (2016). Exploring green purchasing behaviour of young urban consumers: empirical evidences from India. South Asian Journal of Global Business Research, 5(1), pp.85-103.

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