Discusses a research project which focuses on how decisions are made, rather than on who makes them, and in particular on the communication involved when all members of a family participate in buying a product; the family is the most important consumer buying unit in society. Outlines how respondents were recruited in northeast Scotland, with children between 13 and 15 targeted; the research consisted of a questionnaire, interviews, and a decision‐mapping tool in the form of posters. Distinguishes formal and informal communication modes, the former tending to prevail if the decision was urgent; two‐way communication or one‐way, ie parent to child; and communications pairs and subgroups, including parent communication, child communication, and parent and child communication. Concludes that the research families adopted varying degrees of formality and communication directions, and that parents and children often worked together rather than in opposition to each other, with the child focusing on the parent who was most interested in the product.
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