THE IMPACT OF IMPLICIT MOTIVES ON THE BUSINESS TO BUSINESS DECISION MAKING PROCESS
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Abstract THE IMPACT OF IMPLICIT MOTIVES ON THE BUSINESS TO BUSINESS DECISION MAKING PROCESS Christian Chlupsa The purpose of this thesis is to understand how implicit processes determine individual and organisational behaviour in the context of business to business (B2B) decision making. A broad literature review suggests that implicit cognition has a significantly more powerful influence than therefore assumed. The author calls for further research into the motivations driving professional behaviour in B2B situations as new study challenges the classical economic theory of the homo economicus, and focuses on the role of implicit motives as a possible driver. As a first objective, the study attempts to reveal a typical structure of implicit motives based on hierarchy and gender. The second objective is to delineate the interplay between the implicit motives and the decision making process in B2B. The third objective is to examine the consequences and implications for business to business marketing. The methodology is based on an interdisciplinary mixed method approach. To address the gaps in existing knowledge, an experiment and a survey (n=175) in different sectors were conducted. For the analysis, a variety of techniques such as operant motive tests, cluster- and multivariate analysis were employed to analyse the empirical response. Semi-structured qualitative in-depth interviews (n=8) were carried out to detect the consequences and the implications of the new findings for practice. The findings of the research indicate that marketing is much more a selective communication as assumed. The impact of marketing communication is not always consciously perceived by customers and the most part is implicit. In conclusion, there seems to be an interplay between implicit motives and the B2B decision making process. Hypotheses about the interplay of implicit motives and business to business decision making were confirmed in personal, management and group decision experiments. As a contribution to existing theory on the subject, it can be postulated that rational choice in B2B decision making may play a limited role. In addition marketing experts from various industry sectors emphasise the importance and the potential impacts for future B2B marketing. Experts stress the need to reveal the real motivational drivers in marketing communication.
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