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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
This is the last issue of 2016, and this bumper offering presents you with a wide-range of nine academic papers from across the world. In addition, the methodologies used are both qualitative and quantitative, and, as the editor, I welcome an eclectic range of procedures. We have academic papers from the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Norway and India.
Cathy Jean Cobb Walgren from Georgia State University in the USA is interested in complaint behaviour in children. Dissatisfaction with a product after purchase often leads to attempts to seek redress by adult consumers, and there is research on this but the literature on children and youth consumers in this area is sparse. Cobb Walgren examined the nature of organizational responses to authentic, unsolicited letters of complaint from children and what sort of replies the children received. Using an ingenious and careful methodology with 10- to 13-year-olds, she discovered that companies have a long way to go before they can claim to be truly receiver-oriented in their managerial communication policies, especially with younger consumers.
Kathy Knox and her colleagues at Griffith University in Australia give us a perceptive and sensitive set of insights into alcohol consumption by Australian adolescents. Under-age drinking is a social problem and insights into the accounts provided by these young people will help social marketers understand the motives behind this behaviour. The exercise itself can be potentially therapeutic for the participants themselves and provides insight into their own behaviour. Using a large sample of “alcohol narratives” they give us a valuable vision of alcohol consumption from the viewpoint of a primarily non-drinking cohort.
Kirsten Jane Robertson and her colleagues at the University of Otago in New Zealand investigated mediation on children’s viewing of television commercials within the home. Although parents have always had an important role to play in coming between the viewing child and the content of television viewing, for younger preschool children the role of siblings could also be significant. Using a large sample of parents, the authors have shown that these parents of pre-schoolers are concerned about advertising to children and actively mediate their child’s exposure to it.
David Levin from The College of Management Academic Studies in Rishon LeZion, Israel, has made an original contribution to our journal with a paper on communities of consumption. The title needs a little explaining. “Wife/mother-in-law” is a classic visual illusion involving an ambiguous figure that demonstrates that our minds can only perceive the illusion one way or the other and not both at the same time and has been used to demonstrate one of the Gestalt principles of our perceptual system. Levin uses this as a metaphorical springboard into an interesting critique of the prevailing tendency to choose and argue the case for only one theory rather than accepting different theoretical views of the same thing. He looks at consumers’ communities of 9- to 11-year-old children and whether they are best thought of as subcultures, neo-tribes or brand communities. Readers who are familiar with this field will find ideas that challenge their preconceptions, while those new to the area will find valuable sources and opinions.
Ingvild Kvale Sørenssen from Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway, explored young tween girls’ perceptions and consumption of two popular Disney franchises. The qualitative research used a technique called actor-network theory or ANT and the serious student would do well to explore her explication of this and the recent sources cited. It seems to be a useful methodology and touches, on inter alia, the emerging worlds of children as they relate to people and objects.
Rashmi Singh at the Indian Institute of Technology in Roorkee, India, is interested in social network sites and when boredom occurs. Boredom and monotony with these sites can influence the advertising on that site as well and this would interest marketers. She used a sample of millennials and discovered that although there are no sex differences in the experience of monotony with these sites, there is an age difference with older users reporting significantly lower levels of social sites’ boredom as compared to younger users.
Maria Ashraf and Kaleem Khan from Aligarh Muslim University in India have given us a detailed, professionally written paper on an important aspect of family consumption negotiations in India. More cross-cultural work is required in many areas of the children, youth and consumption field, and this paper is welcome in that respect.
In an imaginative and comprehensive study using a large sample of 7- to 14-year-olds, Lisa Kiang from Wake Forest University in the USA and her colleagues explored the roles of both gratitude and materialism on spending preferences. This dependent variable was measured using a technique derived from the seminal work of Tim Kasser where children imagine a windfall and then how they would apportion it into buying for oneself, buying for others, giving, for example to charity and saving.
Caroline Kobia at Mississippi State University and her colleague Liu Chanlan at Louisiana State University both in the USA have looked at virtual fashion worlds of teen girl consumers. For the uninitiated reader, these are websites where young consumers can create an avatar or a representation of themselves and also buy clothes and other virtual assets. Children of this age are sophisticated with these sites as they are with many forms of digital technology, and the authors give us interesting results, including a finding that peer pressure has no effect.
I hope you enjoy each and every one of them. Finally many thanks to all our reviewers and contributors without whom these regular issues would not be possible.
There is one change which I have left to the last and that is this Editorial is the final one that will appear in Young Consumers. Readers of journals these days are much more likely to find papers using search engines rather than browsing particular volumes of a journal. Also, the expansion of our field means that it becomes more difficult to put together regular issues each with some thematic continuity and tell a coherent story about the various papers in the Editorial. Special issues, of course, are different, and we welcome proposals for these which can be put together and read as a whole volume. Guest Editorials are then an integral part of the package. But it is not goodbye yet, and I shall provide the occasional piece giving my opinions on where I see Young Consumers going.