The major goal of this study is to test the reliability and validity of the revised version of Consumer Styles Inventory (CSI), CDMS and the consumer decision-making style on co-branding products. With the aims of identifying the consumer decision-making style, we also provide a number of product categories, we could, therefore, to further examine the consumer decision-making style (CDMS) on different partner congruent co-branded product under different level of involvement.
The original consumer style inventory (CSI) comprised 8 different factors. To begin with, “Perfectionism” or “High-Quality-Conscious Consumers” - it means consumers who search carefully and systematically for the best quality in products. Often, they are not satisfied with the good enough products. Second, “Brand-consciousness” and “Price-Equals-Quality” consumers - it represents consumers who are oriented toward buying the more expensive, well-known national brands, believing that a higher price means better quality. They also prefer best-selling, advertised brands. Third, “Novelty” and “Fashion-Conscious Consumers” - it means consumers who like new and innovative products and gain excitement from seeking out new things. Keeping up to date with styles and variety seeking are important aspects of novelty and fashion-conscious consumers. Fourth, “Recreational” and “Hedonistic consumers” - it means consumers who view shopping as recreation and entertainment. These consumers find shopping a pleasant activity and shop just for the fun of it. Fifth, “Price-Conscious” and “Value-For money consumers” - it represents consumers who are particularly conscious of sale prices and lower prices in general and, more importantly, are concerned with getting the best value for their money. These consumers are likely to be comparison shoppers. Sixth, “Impulsive” and “Careless consumers” - it means consumers who tend to buy on the spur of the moment and to appear unconcerned about how much they spend or about getting best buys. Subsequently, “Confused by over-choice consumers” - it represents consumers who perceive too many brands and stores from which to choose and who likely experience information overload in the market. Finally, “Habitual” and “Brand-loyal consumers” - it refers to consumers who have favorite brands and stores and have formed habits in choosing these repetitively (Shim S. (1998) developed by Sproles and Kendall(1986)). Moreover, the applicability of consumer style inventory (CSI) has been tested and validated across different culture Americans (Sproles and Kendall, 1986; Lysonski et al. 1996), Koreans (Hafstrom et al. 1992), Chinese (Fan et al. 1997; Fan and Xiao, 1998; Hiu et al. 2001; Siu et al. 2001), New Zealanders (Durvasula et al. 1993; Lysonski et al. 1996), Greek (Lysonski et al. 1996), Indians (Lysonski et al. 1996; Canabal, 2001; Patel, 2008), Germans (Walsh et al. 2001; Walsh and Vincent, 2001), British (Mitchell and Bates, 1998), South African (Radder et al. 2006) and Turkish (Gonen and Ozmete, 2006; Kavas and Yesilada, 2007) (Mokhlis S. 2009). In the recent researches, both Siu et al. (2001) and Hui et al. (2001) have applied the CSI model on Chinese students and consumers. Subsequently, they generated a purified model of consumer decision making style (CSI) which comprised seven-factor scale and they claimed that was more relevant and applicable to Chinese consumers through confirmative factor analysis procedures. The Chinese version of the purified CSI model was validated in China and showed an acceptable level of reliability through a confirmatory factor analysis (Wang C. et al. 2004). In addition, the “impulsive” careless consumer, according to Sproles G. and Kendall E. defined this factor the consumers who likely to gain excitement and pleasure from seeking out new things and they keep up-to-date with style, being in style and seeking or trying for the different is also important to them. This factor, however, Siu et al. (2001) and Hui et al. (2001) have removed from the original CSI model due to the low reliability score. Furthermore, Wang C. et al. (2004) also suggested that these choice behaviors are particularly relevant to certain shopping attitudes of interest while purchasing the clothing, such as “fashion consciousness”, “brand conscious”. Nonetheless, Bauer H. et al. (2006) claimed that fashion consciousness of the CSI could not be regarded as product neutral since the items show a factual relationship to the subject of fashion and clothing. Moreover, Bauer H. et al. (2006) investigated the relationship between product involvement and consumer decision making style, they suggested that there are some shortcomings with regard to reliability and validity aspects in the previous research of Sproles and Kendall's consumer styles inventory (CSI). They claimed that they have concluded an unacceptable finding of the research for those who believed in the existence of a consumer decision-making styles inventory that is applicable across products, population groups, and cultures. In the research, therefore, they further generated a new, more compact, and product category-dependent model of Consumer Decision-Making Styles (CDMS) by analyzing the significantly important four factors for products with moderate involvement and medium financial investment, which are brand/store loyalty, spontaneity, price-value consciousness, and variety-seeking. They indicated that the extensive purchase decisions styles such as perfectionism and innovativeness did not form a separate dimension but blended into the indicators of brand and store loyalty. They claimed that the limitations of Consumer Style Inventory (CSI) have pointed out the importance of developing adequate Consumer Decision-Making Style (CDMS) for different product categories for example, different overall product involvement. They also concluded that the research showed that CDMS are not product-independent and the product-dependence was governed by consumers' product involvement, since they believe the CDMS to be product dependent.
As such, we already explained the weakness of the original consumer decision- making style inventory (CSI), and with the aims of reaching our major objective of this study is, therefore, to examine the reliability and validity of the revised version of Consumer Styles Inventory (CSI), CDMS and we would further apply CDMS on brand allied products to identify the consumer decision-making style on different partner congruent co-branded product by providing several products which under different level of involvement. In addition, the revised version of Consumer Style Inventory (CSI), Consumer Decision Making Style (CDMS) (Bauer H. et al., 2006), this improved instrument shares five modified factors of the forms with the original CSI: perfectionism, brand consciousness, price value consciousness, brand store loyalty, and spontaneity. In order to develop more appropriate instrument to measure those traits, it was supplemented the instrument by two additional factors, innovativeness and variety seeking, and removed three factors, confusion by over choice, recreational hedonistic shopping, and novelty fashion consciousness. Each of the seven factors consists of four to six items. The whole measurement inventory includes 32 variables.
Moreover, the standard scheme classifying products into several different categories such as convenience, shopping, and specialty goods (Bauer et al., 2006). In Saqib N. and Manchanda R. (2008) research of consumer's evaluations of co-branded products, they comprised the Nyko, Nyko licensed by Sony, Sony, IBM wireless mouse and IBM zip disk as to their product category and in Wang C. et al. (2004) chose the fashion clothing to discover consumer decision making on domestic brand and imported brand. In addition, in Bauer et al. (2006) research, they indicated that by researching and analyzing from an extensive literature, the results were generated by them which suggested that the jeans and chocolate bars located at a middle position between high and low involvement and stereo system and tooth-paste were classified on the extreme points of the five-point Likert scale. The product categories, however, the wristwatch and yoghurt were precisely follow the hypothesized factor structure of the developed involvement construct, which were viewed as high and as low involvement products on the average, respectively. Furthermore, in Walchli S. (2007) research of the effects of between partners congruent on consumer evaluation of co-branded products, which indicated that the composition of brand allies provides a natural form of congruity or incongruity that, may cause impact on evaluation of the subject product. The study also indicated that there are three levels of between-partner congruity, which are congruity, moderate incongruity and high incongruity. The research employed magazine as the product category, “People”, “Fortune” and “Business Week” to identify the effects of brand allied products under different level of congruity. The different levels of congruity were tested with identical product descriptions in the study, with the aims of to identify the impact on product evaluation. Moreover, the evaluations of product concepts in the research was tested under processing conditions that either (1) low-involvement assessment of brand similarities or (2) high-involvement theorizing concerning the brand partnership.
As such, Product category of this research was facilitated by a set of focus groups in Taiwan. By conducting focus group interview, it produced very rich and in-depth data expressing their own words and reactions. It could also give us a chance to observe reactions of people in an open and free conversation about the topic (Ghauri and Gronhaug, 1988). In addition, it also has been through an extensive pretesting, which was undertaken with several different hypothetical product concepts and real brand combinations in order to fulfill these requirements.
Therefore, based on the results which were generated from the focus group and extensively researching from previous literature. With the aim of identifying the effect of co-branding and the different level of congruity brand allied product may cause different effects. The questionnaire, therefore, include various kinds of products, the product category of this study has chosen clothing as linked to the high involvement product while dairy product was chosen as a low involvement product.
Previous CSI studies have also used small samples such as Hafstrom et al., 1992; Durvasula et al., 1993; Lysonski et al., 1996), despite the minimum recommended sample size for multivariate analysis being a ratio of 1:10 between items measured and the number of cases (Hair et al., 1995). The student samples, however, would not be appropriate for every different kind of research (e.g. Gordon et al., 1986). Unfortunately, most replications of the consumer decision making style (CSI) have used student samples (Mitchell V. and Walsh G. 2006). Moreover, the common problem of sampling whether in single-country or cross-cultural research would be not clear which subjects represent a country's central tendencies (Nasif et al., 1991). Often samples are used that represent only one segment within the culture of interest such as students or housewives (Mitchell V. and Walsh G.2006).
As such, a sample of the general public was chosen for this research and a total 250 shoppers were interviewed in the Taipei city which included 140 male and 110 female. Taipei is the capital of Taiwan where is the economic and political hub of the country with densely populated city of approximately 2,600,000 citizens and is also an open city with many immigrants from other parts of Taiwan (Cheng M. S. et al. 2007). There are vast majority of Taiwanese live in urban region, this sample from Taipei, therefore, it provided the potential to access and was could be considered adequate to represent Taiwanese. In addition, the full ranges of different brands of products are offered in Taipei through a number of shopping centers or wholesaler such as Carrefer or Costco at several levels of price range. Simple random sampling was adopted and an initial verbal filtering question of selected participants ensured their ages above 18.
Moreover, this study conduct a self-administered questionnaire was used that required approximately10 to 15 minutes for each respondent to complete. The items of Consumer decision making style (CDMS) were translated into Chinese with minor changes in wording to clarify the meaning. In addition, the Likert-scale items were used by in this questionnaire, and respondents were asked to indicate their degree of agreement or disagreement with each item on a 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree) scale and the reliabilities of the CSI Scale, according to Sproles and Kendall (1986), ranged from 0.48 to 0.76. Participants were presented with a brief instruction sheet that positioned this study as identifying “what kind of consumer decision making style on co-branded product.” This statement was aimed at providing a basic information and example about the brand alliance and co-branded products, which would avoid the misunderstanding of the brand allying by the respondents. After declared the instructions, the respondents could start from the top of the questions which are brief demographic questions which comprised (1) gender, (b) age, (c) residence and (d) level of education. Subsequently, the questions would comprise the items of consumer decision making style and the partner congruity of brand allied products. Finally, the respondents were thanked and provided with a debriefing document.