The rationale in carrying out this research was to investigate, inquire and inspect the antecedent and impact of personality traits on Customer advocacy behavior. This paper investigates & enquires the relationship involving personality traits and customer advocacy behavior .Customer advocacy behavior is advantageous for organization in many ways as potential customers can be more influenced by the strangers instead of advertisement by the organization itself. There are many factors which effect customer advocacy behavior like communication, trust etc however personality traits of the customers can also affect their advocacy behavior and this relationship is not yet adequately and satisfactorily subsist in the present body of knowledge. Results of the study indicate that there is a significant positive relationship between personality traits and customer advocacy behavior. These results are helpful for organizations in perking up the business customer relationship.
Keywords: Customer advocacy behavior, Personality Traits, Customers, Organizations,
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Marketing has always served in providing extension to choices in products and services amongst consumers. A satisfied customer would always prefer the specific product or services (Doyle & Saunders, 1985) and satisfaction is linked with factors like brand name and effective advertising, as the significant product is determined by its unique brand image (Kim & Hyun, 2011)
Ultimate goal of marketers and companies is to create deep emotional attachment in their customers with the brand of the company so that customers repeatedly purchase these brands.(Reichheld, 1996) As when customers repurchase brands of a company it impacts positively to company's financial performance and also repute of the company (Kotha, Rajgopal & Rindova, 2001).
However this can only be done if customers develop a bond with the brand which will in return develop customer loyalty(Doyle & Saunders, 1985) and these pleased customers could be advocates of the brand of company by using word of mouth communication thus recommending the brand to other potential customers (Swan & Oliver, 1989) Likewise previous literature shows that the bond developed in customers for a brand has become a momentous ancestor for durable meaningful relationships and customer loyalty(Bagozzi & Dholakia, 2006)
In today's competitive environment relationship marketing is the key to success therefore it is worth to have understanding about the advocacy behavior of the customers and also the predictors of this customer's support (Stokburger & Sauer, 2011) concluded that brand identification is a strong predictor of customer advocacy however customers personality could be another driver of advocacy behavior (Kim & Han , 2002) as they perceive the brand according to their personality and become loyal and defendants of those brands which are closely matched to their personality.
When customers develop a strong bonding with the brand of the company and defend this brand against then it is called the customer brand backing behavior and only positive word of mouth is included in it (celuch & walz, 2010) however Word-of-mouth are correlated with different personality traits (Mooradian & Swan, 2006) because according to 3M Model traits motivate the behavior of an individual.
Different people have different personalities and thus are different from each other in many ways (Tan, Foo & Kwek, 2004) like thinking style, likeness for something or preference for something and these differences in their personalities ultimately reflects in their behaviors (Yarkoni, 2010) their personality impacts the positive or negative words they use and if personality of customers and brand are well matched they will in return spread positive word of mouth and recommend the brand to potential customers (Tan, Foo & Kwek, 2004).
Consumers prefer to use and recommend those brands which are closely related to their personalities (Carrasco & Foxall, 2006) and those customers are more loyal and better advocates of company whose personal characteristics are matched with those brands (Homburg and Giering (2001) and only those customers could be the better advocates of the brand who have same characteristics as of that brand (Mowen, Park & Zablah, 2007).
Consumers thinking style is dependent on their personality and personal characteristics and this thinking style becomes their behavior (Olver & Mooradian, 2003) and these personal values and characteristics are affected by different dimensions of personality like Openness/Intellect, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness and Extraversion generally (Zhang, 2002) however customers are different in level of attachment with any brand and this attachment is based on previous experience and personality traits (Noftle & Shaver, 2005).
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Personality traits are the key constructs to understand customer behavior and these personality traits also impact that how much customers are social and how much they spread word of mouth (Hirschi, 2008) as when customers are more social there are larger chances that they will become advocates of the company or brand. Likewise personality traits like Conscientiousness and Extraversion can impact positive and negative feelings about the brand (Bagby, Joffe, Parker, Kalemba, & Harkness, 1995).
The study of impact of personality traits on customers advocacy behavior is lacking in the literature therefore the broader aim of this research paper is to examine the impact of different personality traits on customer's advocacy behavior.
CUSTOMER ADVOCACY BEHAVIOUR
Customer advocacy behaviour according Bendapudi & Berry (as cited by Walz & Celuch, 2010) can be defined as the promotion or defence of a company, product, or brand by a customer to another. Advocacy of the services to others is one of the necessary factors that prompts and strengthens up the relationship between customers and company (Cross and Smith 1995). For services, personal sources and word of mouth are considered as crucial factors which are beneficial for company representatives (Burray 1991). Sometimes incentives are being offered to customers for performing the role of advocacy but this act may erode the trust of customer on services of the company (Festinger 1959).
Virtual work teams are now a day's using the concept of knowledge sharing, as it helps them to transfer the knowledge about different geographic regions. Individuals involved in knowledge sharing are geographically dispersed and share the knowledge about a particular geography through electronic use of media (Hertel 2005). Online communities share their knowledge in order to achieve a common goal (Preece 2005). Knowledge sharing individuals are not necessarily experts in the field; they are just supposed to solve a particular problem under investigation (Fischer 2001).
For the success of knowledge management, behaviour of knowledge sharing is considered as influential (Chowdhury 2005). Knowledge sharing is considered as behaviour of individuals through which essential knowledge is being shares within an organization (Rye, Ho and Han 2003). Two or more parties are involved in the process of knowledge sharing as it is being transferred from one party to another. Knowledge is being acquired and provisioned through this process of sharing (Usoro 2007). Besides the existence of information systems, one of the most difficult challenges for organizations is of sharing knowledge between parties (Argote 1996).
Knowledge is basically a stock that is being communicated effectively through expertise (Starbuck 1992). It is a combination of models, facts, opinions, ideas and schemes that are helpful for a decision process (Pusore and Pasmore 1992). A true belief that is being justified accounts for knowledge sharing process (Nonaka 1994). Knowledge is being shared externally and internally with the individuals of organization, thus leading towards the accomplishment of common goals (Davenport and Prusak 1998).
Supporting of a person, idea, need or group accounts for advocacy. It is an action that is taken publicly, thus ensuring social interaction between people who can't speak for themselves. Social welfare is being promoted through the process of advocacy. Results of advocacy are immediate, direct, and visible. Advocates speak to bring a certain change that contributes towards the development of organizational growth. Volunteers are recruited and later they are retained in order to perform the duties of an advocate.
One of the competitive advantage for an organization is knowledge sharing that is ambiguous, scarce and unique; however imitation is not possible while sharing knowledge within an organization (Nanda 1996). Competencies and skills are being developed through the way of knowledge sharing, thus increasing the value of the firm among competitors (Grant 1996).Through knowledge sharing process, innovation is being introduced, converting general ideas to competitive ones (Nonaka and Takeuchi 1995). In some cases conflicts of interest also arises as people do have different opinions or thoughts regarding a particular issue (Von Krogh 1998).
Knowledge sharing has received considerable attention and is considered as central process of knowledge management (Cabrera et al 2006). Sharing of an effective knowledge by individuals of an organization is considered as preconditioned as it combines both existing and new form of knowledge (Leonard Barton 1995). Knowledge sharing requires actors who play a primary role to prompt the actions towards the achievement of common objectives and goals. (Argote and Ingram 2000).
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Knowledge is being shared in hospitals by doctors for carrying out the professional tasks. Knowledge shared among them can either be technological or behavioural depending upon the nature of service. People usually do not share the knowledge until they believe it is useful and important for the individual with whom it is being shared. It is difficult to change the behaviour of others with one's own perception, so it is considered as great challenge for different organizations (Ruggles 1998). Knowledge is people to people process in which knowledge is being shared among people having different opinions and interests (Grant 1996).
Organizations usually depend upon their external environment due to which they can easily manipulate and adapt to the changing needs of environment, thus learning how to flourish and survive in competitive environment. Advocacy is considered as one of the important aspect to bring certain change into environment in order to gain maximum share of the market. Internal decisions are being taken through internal networks, which prove as helpful and supporting for advocacy process.
Business associations and corporations use advocacy process in order to present their view point on a particular issue of interest. It is used to persuade, inform and enlist about different issues to the general public. Now a day's advocacy advertising is being promoted which is considered as an essential form of public relationing. It is considered as a form of institutional advertising in which different views about business firms are being presented to make the tasks functionally operational.
One of the organizational resources that are considered as critical is knowledge sharing that promotes a competitive environment (Davenport and Prusak 1998). Exploitation of the knowledge needs to be emphasized in order to be an effective organization (Damodaran and Olphet 2000). It helps in reducing the production costs and strive to complete new product development in time (Arthur and Huntley 2005). Keeping in view the importance of knowledge sharing, many of the organizations have started to invest in order to be competitive and effective.
User involvement is considered as one of the necessary factors for the promotion of knowledge sharing (Bettencourt et al 2002). Active user participation is necessary in order to achieve success (Markus and Mao 2004). One of the important factors in user involvement is advocacy as it involves promoting system requirements from a stakeholder perspective (Seling 2008). User advocacy must dictate user behaviour as it clarify motivational skills of the user to pursue different activities (Tesch et al 2009)
Mutual exchange of the knowledge in an organization occurs when employees share their knowledge among each other, thus contributing towards the attainment of competitive advantage and innovation (Wang and Noe 2010). Explicit knowledge shared among the individuals of an organization can be easily transmitted, captured and codified. Different management mechanisms are used to promote the willingness of employees to share knowledge (Coakes 2006).
Customer co creation is considered as one of the multidimensional concept by which different issues are investigated. The paper investigates customer citizenship behaviour and customer participation behaviour. These behaviours are considered to occur voluntarily and contribute towards providing extra ordinary value to the firm or organization (Bove et al 2008). Extra role and in role behaviours are performed in order to have unique and contrasting consequences which are beneficial for an organization (Groth 2005).
Knowledge is considered as an activity that takes place in the minds of different individuals which give rise to different ideas, interpretations and concepts which are beneficial to be shared with each other (Alavi and Leidner 2001). Knowledge sharing process is taken into account so that tasks in an organization can be performed effectively (Bock and Kim 2002). It is considered as fundamental element which contributes towards the continuous development and improvement of organizational functions (Davenport and Prusak 1998).
One of the crucial factors which are considered as important for an organization is resources and competencies (Subramaniam and Youndt 2005). Elaborative management of knowledge is necessary, as it is considered one of the essential intangible assets for the firm (Jang, Hong, Bock and Kim 2002). It is considered as an essential tool towards the different organizational capabilities such as innovation which is important for the better and effective performance of an organization (Kogut and Zander 1996)
Personality can be defined as the "general tendencies of human beings to respond across time and situations. That is, two persons who differ in terms of personality behave differently irrespective of situational factors. (Schoen, 2007, p 410) or
It consists of ''those characteristics of the person that account for consistent patterns of behaviour'' (Pervin & John, 1997, p.58)
PERSONALITY AND ADVOCACY BEHAVIOUR
Customer behaviour can be strongly predicted by the personal characteristics and personality of the customers (Homburg & Giering, 2001) and customer behaviour is developed according to their personalities (Lynn, 2008) however different traits or dimensions of personality of customers could affect the behaviour of the customers differently (Carrasco & Foxall, 2006) therefore it is obvious that customers express different type of behaviours toward the company or brand according to their personality traits (Larsen & Ketelaar,1991).
Literature also shown that differences in personalities effect the emotional attachment of customers with the brand or company and also these customers could affect other potential customers (Gountas & Gountas, 2007)
There are various dimensions of personality however Big five or Five factor model is most commonly used (McCrae & Costa, 1987). Dimensions included in this model are openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.
Openness refers to the "tolerance of diversity, broadness of one's own cultural interest, and exploration of novelty" (Schoen & schumann, 2007,pg 474).
People who are low on openness usually don't want to experience new things and are like to be in their traditional ways however people scoring high on openness like to experience new things and are more friendly (Lee, 2009) these people feels both good and bad more deeply (DeNeve & Cooper, 1998) and can exert more strong behaviour and attachment to the brand also they place more value to these brands (Matzler et al. (2006). One of the research themes that have played a major role in management disciplines is knowledge sharing (Foss 2007). New products and services are being introduced through the process of knowledge sharing (Argote 2000). Relevancy of perceived knowledge gets a serious impact by personality of a certain group or people in the group as organization allows for a greater share of knowledge to the prospective customers (Bock 2005). People who are open to experience, Knowledge is being shared to customers as traits are being embedded structurally. People do participate in knowledge sharing without expecting for a certain reward in return (Wasko 2005).
Advocacy is considered as one of the well known communication technique through which a product or service is being evaluated (Engle et al, 1969). It is a process that not only informs consumers about features of product but instead it plays a major role by convincing consumers to opt for a particular product (Anderson 1998). Undertaking word of mouth is more important as it communicates the experience of consumers associated with a product (Anderson 1998). It is basically to praise and recommend other consumers about a product on behalf of suppliers (Hill et al 2006).
Therefore we can hypothesise that
Hypothesis 1: Openness of customer is positively related to their advocacy behaviour
Agreeableness can be defined as "trust, straightforwardness, altruism, compliance, modesty, and tender-mindedness" (Schoen & Schumann, 2007, pg 474).
People who are high on agreeableness are social and cooperative (Bolton, Becker and Barber, 2010) and also people who are more agreeable are more trustable (John & Srivastava, 1999) these people can support and can give positive good opinion about the company or brand (Schoen & Schumann, 2007) and these people usually share information to other potential buyers (Vela, Chou, Melcher & pearson, 2010). Hence on the basses these studies we can hypothesise that
Hypothesis 2: Agreeableness of customer is positively related to their customer advocacy behaviour.
"Neuroticism chiefly refers to controlling negative emotions such as anxiety, depression, anger, discontent, and irritation" (Schoen, 2007, pg 411).
People who are low on neuroticism can control negative emotions like feeling of depression, feeling of irritation and anger (Schoen, 2007) but others cannot control these emotions and it can affect their behaviour and they react emotionally toward anything these people having high score on neuroticism are usually not attached with the brands they use(Orth, Limon & Rose, 2010). These people are sensitive for any situation and they can be easily frustrated from these situations (Vela, Chou, Melcher & pearson, 2010) so it is expected that these people could behave actively in favour or against the brand or company hence:
Hypothesis 3: Neuroticism effects customer advocacy behaviour.
"The most commonly recurring themes [in definitions of Extraversion] are those of Ascendance and Sociability-in all of these views, extraverts are gregarious, friendly, dominant and socially facile" (Watson & Clark, 1997, p. 771)
People who are extraversion are actively involved to the word of mouth (Mooradian & Olver, 1997) they usually give opinion about the brand or company to other customers (Mooradian & Swan, 2006) also they response positively toward anything they are concerned with (Costa & McCrae, 1992) as according to (Weimann, 1999, p. 79) "A very consistent attribute of opinion leaders, from the early studies and across numerous areas of leadership and personal influence was their social activity and gregariousness". Extraverted people have a special power of word that makes them more effective in conveying any intended message thus retaining a serious attention (Bellizzi & Hite, 1992)
Hence we can hypothesize that
Hypothesis 4: Extraversion is positively related to the customer advocacy behaviour.
"Conscientiousness mainly refers to impulse control that is socially prescribed" (Schoen & Schumann, 2007, pg 474) it is the way through which one can regulate its ways of thinking toward anything (Johnson & Ostendorf, 1993).
Conscientious people are usually attached to the brands or company they are linked with and they feel it their responsibility to provide positive information to other customers about that brand (Orth, Limon & Rose, 2010).
Hence we can hypothesize that