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4 Theoretical framework

The theorectical framework in this research is conducted by apply a concept called black
box model. Black box model is a marketing theory of consumer buying behavior in which goes on
within human mind ( the black box) is ignored, in favor of discovering which inputs 9stimuli)
produce the desired output (buying response).This theory relating the buyers behavior can be
applied on undergraduate students behavior as they make their choices on their targeted higher
education institution.
The Black Box Model

The black box model is useful to indicate the relationship of stimuli, consumer
charactheristics, decision process and consumer responses which can differentiate between
interpersonal stimuli (among people) or intrapersonal stimuli (within people).(Ahmad, 2012) The
black box model is related to the theory of behaviourism which is not emphasize on the processes of
a consumer, but the linkage between the stimuli and the response of the customer. The marketing
stimuli are designed and conducted by the companies while the environmental stimulus are
determined by social factors which based on the recent economical, politicial, land, cultural
circumstances of a society and etc. The stimulis can be advertisement on social media, internet,
broadcasting or other types of promotion about the products. There are 2 sectors included in the
buyers black box,, which are the buyer charactheristics and decision process, which used to review
the buyers response. This buyers response is considered as a result of a conscious, rational decision
process, which take an assumption that the buyer has recognized the problem. However, most of the
decision are not made in awareness and consideration, instead, they should so research for more
info on the products and services once problems are recognised.

Basically there ae 4 charactheristics which may affect the consumer buying behaviour, that
are cultural, social, personal and psychological.(Perreau, 2013) The table below show the relavant
information and details about the charactheristics.

The black box model shows the reaction of consumers such as conscious results, rational selection
process, so that the consumers has recognized the problem was assumed. However majority of the
consumer will not identify the problem before make decision.
Make decision before purchase is a more complex decision process by the consumer which
that purchase is only the visible part of it. Therefore Consumer Buying Decision Process had been
introduced to state the stages which lead consumer to make decision on their purchase.(Engel,
Blackwell and Kollat, 1968) There are basically consists of 5 stages, which are problem/need
recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives to meet the requirement, purchase
decision and post-purchase behavior. Choosing the suitable higher education institution also involve
those 5 stages:
1. problem recognition- Any purchase started with need recognition, there will be no purchase
if there is no need or demand. This recognition happens when there is a lag between the
consumers actual situation and the ideal and desired one. Students might first find out what
their favourite or interesting field to involve in future career after graduate.
2. Information search- Information and details are seek by consumer to find possible solution
solve the possible problem once the need or demand is identified. In this case, information
or the details of the institution or universites are being search for further evaluation in the
next step. They can either search the information online, ask from experienced senior or also
have a short interview with the lecturer of the respective institution. A teacher can also play
the role of information provider to the students on their future (Harris & Bell, 1996).
3. Evaluation of alternatives- Consumer now able to evaulate the different alternatives and
choose the best option and the most suitable product for them based on their attributes on
two aspecs, that are objective (function and feature) and subjective (perception and
preceived value of the brand) charactheristics. Students may compare among the universities
based on their facilities, course offered, reputation and past trend of the institution.

4. Purchase decision- The best alternatives will be choosen after evaluation on different
solution and products available for respond to need, then proceed to actual purchase. Now
the students have choose their best choices and then can apply for registeration intake for the
selected institution.

Post-purchase behavior- Product purchased will be evaluate its adequacy with original
needs and see whether the alternative choose is a right choice. They might want to review
on the course or criteria of selection based on the things that presenting by the university or
institution. . Basically there will be two outcomes on post-purchase behavior which are
either continuing study or return to the search phase. If the students found that the selected
institution or course is not suitable for them , they might choose to change course or
university rather than continue.
Literature Framework

Market Stimuli
Buyers Black Box
Buyers Chaactheristics
Teaching reputation
Careers teachers
Quality of faculty
Careers service
Academic reputation
Careers convention
Research reputation
Reputation with disabled
University open day
Competition for place
Newspaper features
Programme flexibility
University web site
Cost of package
League tables
Academic support
Peer influence
Information supplied by
Word of mouth
Decision Making
Entry requirements
Problem recognition
Accommodation for first
Information search
Alternative evaluation
Amenities of university
Purchase decision
Post-purchase behavior
Environmental Stimuli
Guidance from parents
Accommodation for first
Distance from home
Social life nearb
Own perception

Buyer' s Response
Product choice
Brand choice
Dealer choice
Purchase timing

Student placements
Graduate employment

Ahmad, M. (2012) The black box model of consumer behaviour. Available at: (Accessed: 15 July
Perreau, F. (2013) The 5 stages of consumer buying decision process. Available at: (Accessed: 17 July
Joshua (2016) Using the black box model to design better Websites. Available at: (Accessed: 14 July 2016).