Park CW, Lessig VP. Students and housewives: differences (2011) in susceptibility to reference group influence

Sang-Hoon Kim 1, Hyun Jung Park

People nowadays prompt others to adopt what they have just bought, especially high-tech products or services. Prompters not only make recommendations by positive word-of-mouth, but they also urge other people to experience innovative new products.

However, non-voluntary or prompted adoptions are prevalent in real-life situations

Several researchers include social influence or social pressure in their technology acceptance models. Venkatesh, Davis, Morris, Davis, and Davis (2003) identify social influence as a key construct that influences both usage intention and usage behavior in their unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT) model.

Interpersonal influences come from a variety of people, such as neighbors, relatives, family members, and friends, as well as inspirational figures in the media, such as sports heroes or movie stars (Kulviwat, Bruner, & Al-Shuridah, 2009).

From the social psychological and economic perspectives, researchers distinguish two types of social influence: social norms and network effects. Theories of conformity in social psychology suggest that group members tend to complywith the group norm(Lascu & Zinkhan, 1999). On the other hand, economists believe that the effects of network externality demonstrate the impact of social influence in technology adoption behavior (Hsu & Lu, 2004).

Social influence may be a critical element in consumers’ decision making, especially in the context of prompted adoption.

The higher the social norms from the prompter, the shorter the duration until the target person’s voluntary adoption.

In general, attractiveness facilitates persuasion (McGuire, 1969).

The more attractive the prompter, the shorter the duration until the target’s voluntary adoption – Familiar / likeable /  similar

Number of prompters

The current study includes the number of prompters as a variable to address not only network effects, but also the quantity of social influence. H3: The greater the number of prompters, the shorter the duration until the target’s voluntary adoption.

  • The result shows that both informational and normative social norms do not significantly affect the duration of voluntary adoption.
  • The result supports H2. In particular, familiarity (H2-1) and likeability (H2-3) turn out to be influential in accelerating the adoption.
  • Similarity is not effective
  • The greater the number of prompters, the faster the adoption