SITUATION INVOLVEMENT – IS IT AS IMPORTANT AS ENDURING INVOLVEMENT?

Motivation and research gaps The extant literature on product involvement has suggested a direct relationship between involvement and opinion leadership/word of mouth (Richins and Root-Shaffer 1988; Venkatraman 1990). The current view has been subjected to empirical generalization and had suggested the principle role of enduring involvement as a predictor/antecedent for creation of opinion leadership/word of mouth, but had demonstrated only a limited role of situational involvement in the context (Richins and Root-Shaffer 1988). The constructs mentioned (involvement, opinion leadership/word of mouth) are also central constructs in customer satisfaction, new product diffusion and social network literature. By accounting for recent development in these areas, I find three areas that need immediate updation in the extant involvement-opinion leadership/word of mouth path model. (1) Formation of involvement – Bloch et. al., (2009) suggest a framework for how enduring involvement originates and develops. Product study and product experimentation attributes mentioned in the Bloch et. al., (2009) framework suggests that the time spent with the product results in the formation of enduring involvement. By extending the logic as suggested by Bloch et. al., (2009), I propose that if situational involved customer end up spending more time with the product then they can also play a critical role in the formation of involvement. (2) Customer satisfaction as a mediator - I propose customer satisfaction as a mediator between involvement and opinion leadership/word of mouth relation. Much of the diffusion literature assumes the salient role of customer satisfaction, but its role as an antecedent to opinion leadership/word of mouth has been empirically proved in the services literature (Anderson 1998). Since customer satisfaction is

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social contagion (network centrality. or product usage is increased. (2009) framework suggests that more time a consumer spends with a product.are enduring customers responsible for creation of sustainable customer satisfaction or situational involved customers also play a equally important role. Product study and product experimentation attributes mentioned in the Bloch et.based on expectations and disconfirmation. Thus it becomes important to investigate the valence state of customer satisfaction and how it is affected by either of the involvement types. but if the purchase frequency is increased. Similarly. 2011). al. Enduring involvement (Bloch et al. it also raises the question . 2009) is caused by spending time and effort with the 2 . During diffusion. location of the user in the network) plays a crucial role (Iyengar et al. then a situational involved customer would also slowly attain a mild stage of enduring involvement. Empirical research has repeatedly confirmed that involvement helps in the formation of opinion leadership (Richins and Bloch 1986) but its valence state depends on the customers satisfaction (Sundaram et al. Using the same logic we can extend the reasoning that even if a situational involved customer only spends time with the product just before/during the purchase period. then by the mere act of repeating the act of purchasing groceries every month makes the person much more involved with the product categories. more enduringly involved s/he becomes with the product..Extant literature in new product diffusion suggests that opinion leadership is not only dependent on enduring users. Thus. a person who cooks regularly becomes much more involved with food products over time. For example. if a person is responsible to buy groceries for the household. 1998) with the product. a situational involved user who has high network centrality would be equally influential in the process of diffusion as compared to an enduring involved customer placed in a network with less number of ties. (3) Rate of diffusion .

Social network theory and new product diffusion literature long assumed that opinion leaders are responsible for the new product diffusion and spreading word of mouth. The findings of the study also brings to fore the importance of situation involved customers who can play a critical role in the opinion leadership provided they have high degree of network centrality and are located in a location where others are low on involvement. But recent study in the area suggest that opinion leadership is not only a factor of knowhow of the product but also is dependent on social contagion (network centrality-number of connections in a network that turn to you for an opinion. This also gives rise to familiarity of the enduring customer with the product/product class thereby providing more stable valence for the satisfaction with the product/product class. However. it becomes imperative to focus on both the groups (enduring and situational) as enduring involved customers represent the true satisfaction on a long term basis and situation involved customers satisfaction rating can be used in the short term basis as the true representation of the product/product class. 2011). Hence he or she bases his or her satisfaction on expectancy or disconfirmation. a situational-involved customer doesn’t have all the information about the product/product class. Thus either of the group can be utilized for the formation of word of mouth based on the firm’s objective. Thus addressing all the above concerns would help us to revitalize the involvement-opinion leadership path model 3 . Thus for favorable opinion leadership (Richins and Bloch 1986).product/product class. where the opinion leader is located in the social network) (Iyengar et al.

and T. Bloch (1986). Commuri. "After the new wears off: the temporal context of product involvement.. "Customer satisfaction and word of mouth. M.W. "Exploring the origins of enduring product involvement. Van den Bulte. 5. Root-Shaffer (1988). "THE ROLE OF EVOLVEMENT AND OPINION LEADERSHIP IN CONSUMER WORD-OF-MOUTH: AN IMPLICIT MODEL MADE EXPLICIT..S.Updated path model for involvement-opinion leadership Enduring involvement High Time spent with the product Low Long term focused (stable) Customer satisfaction Short term focus (large variance) Opinion leadership Situational involvement Social contagion References Anderson. 60-67. Iyengar. 30 (2). Venkatraman. Valente (2011). Arnold (2009). S.H." Advances in Consumer Research. R. D. and P." Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal. K. 17 (1). P. Mitra. M.. M.P. 32-36.L." Advances in Consumer Research." Journal of consumer Research. (1998). 49-69.J. enduring involvement and characteristics of opinion leaders: A moderating or mediating relationship. 25 (1). 527-31. (1990)." Advances in Consumer Research. Richins. "Word-of-mouth communications: A motivational analysis. E.W. "Opinion leadership. 4 .H. 280-85." Marketing Science. "Opinion leadership and social contagion in new product diffusion. Bloch.L. and T. 1 (1). C. Richins. 15. Webster (1998). 195-212. and C." Journal of Service Research. 12 (1). Sundaram. and T.