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Posted: February 11th, 2024

Write up a brief (approximately 250 words) summary and critique of the paper

• The goal of this assignment is to integrate a piece of primary research (in psychology or consumer behavior) with management decision-making. You should survey the literature to find a paper of interest and think about how those findings could be extended and applied to a real-world situation. Once you’ve identified an interesting paper, you should write up a summary, critique, and extension. Throughout the paper, your goal is to explain how the research questions could help a business make better decisions or create a stronger strategy.

• Find an empirical paper on any aspect of consumer behavior that you find interesting — if you are unsure about whether the paper you would like to use is suitable, run it by your professor. To get you started you can read this analysis of various topics that are often published in the field of consumer behavior (http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2158244016645638) or peruse the consumer behavior section of HBS’s Working Knowledge publication (https://hbswk.hbs.edu/Pages/browse.aspx?HBSTopic=Consumer%20Behavior). These resources are just a starting point; in both cases be sure to search for, read, and use the primary source you identify.

• Write up a brief (approximately 250 words) summary and critique of the paper.

• Based on your critique, formulate a follow-up hypothesis, and propose an experiment that could test that hypothesis.

• The experiment proposal should be approximately 500-750 words and clearly indicate your hypothesis, proposed methodology (including independent and dependent variables), and expected results. Remember when it comes to experimental design, simple does not mean that it is bad. Being able to test an important idea with a simple design is ideal.

• Throughout the paper, be sure to explain how the research questions could help a business make better decisions or create a stronger strategy.

As business majors, your communication skills are crucial — we want you to write well and expect that your work is clear, concise, and not only proofread but iterated with multiple drafts. To that end here are some reminders about writing a strong paper.

In upper-level classes we want you to focus on the LOs because they are the core components of the class. Building your paper around the LOs is a much better approach than writing a paper and then shoving in LO footnotes. You may tag LOs with a footnote to make it is clear to you and the Professor where you are trying to highlight certain concepts, but do not explain your application in a footnote. Everything you need to make your case that this is a good use of the LO should be in the main text.
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Brief Summary:
This paper surveyed 300 adults and measured their levels of impulsiveness using the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale. Participants then reported all unplanned purchases they made over a two-week period and estimated the monetary value of each. The researchers found that higher levels of impulsiveness significantly predicted the number and total cost of unplanned purchases made.
Critique:
This study provides useful insight into how personality traits influence consumer spending behaviors. However, the self-reported unplanned purchase data relies on participants accurately recalling and quantifying past decisions. Future research could track purchases in real-time using transaction records. Additionally, the sample was relatively small and did not measure potential moderating factors like income levels.
Hypothesis and Proposed Experiment:
I hypothesize that impulsiveness will have a greater impact on unplanned spending for lower-income consumers due to relatively tighter budget constraints. To test this, I would recruit a larger, more socioeconomically diverse sample and have them connect transaction account data to objectively track purchases over 6 months. Spending amounts and frequencies on unplanned vs. planned items could then be analyzed based on impulsiveness and income levels to see if their interaction has significant predictive power.
Business Application:
Understanding how traits and financial constraints interact to drive unplanned spending could help retailers strategically target relevant products and promotions toward certain consumer segments. It may also assist companies developing budgeting tools or payment plans tailored for individuals prone to impulse purchases. Overall, this research aims to provide insights that enable businesses to better serve diverse consumer needs and behaviors.

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