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Exploring the Personality traits as cause of compulsive Buying Behavior.

Byline: Farooq-e-azam cheema, iqbal a. Phanwar, sayma Zia and Mariam rasool

The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between compulsive buying and the big five personality traits (extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, intellect and neuroticism). This study is a quantitative study embodying a self-administered questionnaire with a sample of 400 respondents. All respondents were above 18 years of age. The survey was conducted in the leading shopping malls of Karachi. To analyze the data Linear Regression was applied. The analysis of the data indicated a positive relationship between compulsive buying and the big five personality traits (extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, intellect and neuroticism).

Strongest relationship was observed between conscientiousness and compulsive buying (R=.956; P=.000), followed by Neuroticism (R= .962; P=.000), intellect with R=.959; P=.000, agreeableness with R=.879; P=.000 and lastly extraversion with r=.829; P=.000. The findings from this research might help the marketers' judge compulsive buyers and can devise strategies to maximize their selling by targeting compulsive buying after studying their purchase behavior.

Keywords: Compulsive Buying Behavior, Big Five Personality Traits, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Intellect and Neuroticism.

Introduction

Research on compulsive buying dates back to the last century when it was identified by Bleuler (1924) and Kraepelin (1915), they called it as a mental disorder and named it oniomania which means buying mania compulsive shopping, an addiction. Psychologists have defined compulsive buying as a tantalizing longing to buy (Krueger, 1988; McElroy et al., 1991), followed by a feeling or relied after making the purchase (Glatt and Cook, 1987; Krueger, 1988; McElroy et al., 1991; 1994). Buying or making purchase is a regular routine task for most people, however, compulsive buyers face an inability to control their buying behavior, they do not have control over themselves. Compulsive buyers do not merely buy or purchase for the utility of the product/service but they also find satisfaction in the purchasing process (O'Guinn T, Faber R., 1989).

The tendency of a consumer to make constant purchases without considering the utility of the product or its need is compulsive buying. Compulsive buyers do not have any control over their impulse. This phenomenon was first described by Kraepelin (1915). However, with the passage of time interest of the researchers in the topic grew. Study conducted by Faber et al. (1987) was a seminal work in this regard. This and other numerous studies conducted subsequently found that compulsive behavior is a means to release tension (Valence et al., 1989), stress and anxiety rather than meeting the material needs. These studies have identified many intangible person related aspects compulsive buying. For instance, d'Astous (1990) found that compulsive buying boosts consumers' self-esteem while according to findings of the work of Edwards (1993), Ergin (2010) and O'Guinn and Faber (1989), it is a process by which consumers feel positive about themselves, their negativity reduces and stress is released.

According to other contemporary researchers including O'Guinn and Faber (1989), compulsive behavior does not depend on any single factor but on an amalgamation of several factors including social, genetic, culture, physiological and psychological. In this study, mechanism of compulsive buying was tried to explore in the light of five personality traits commonly known as Big Five Extravert, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism and Openness (Goldberg 1992) as independent variables.

trait###Description

Extraversion###Outgoing, talkative, sociable and enjoys being in social situations

Agreeableness###Affable, tolerant, sensitive, trusting, kind and warm

###Organized, systematic, punctual, achievement oriented and

Conscientiousness

###dependable

Neuroticism###Anxious, irritable, temperamental and moody

Intelect###Curious, Original, intellectual, creative and open to new ideas

Hypotheses

To address the research questions and according to the thorough understanding of literature review, following hypotheses were formulated:

h 1: There will be a positive relationship between Compulsive buying behavior and Extraversion'.

h 2: There will be a positive relationship between Compulsive buying behavior and Agreeableness'.

h 3: There will be a positive relationship between Compulsive buying behavior and Conscientiousness'.

h 4: There will be a positive relationship between Compulsive buying behavior and Neuroticism'.

h 5: There will be a positive relationship between Compulsive buying behavior and Intellect'.

Review of Literature and s tudies

Researches on compulsive buying identified its long-term as well as short- term consequences. The long-term consequence of compulsive buying is that it is generally harmful and addictive to the individuals and others surrounding them. According to Ridgway et al (2006), compulsive buying behavior leads to circumstances which are extremely negative. However, Christenson et al (1994) earlier had found that there are short-term benefits of compulsive buying also including positive feeling, emotional satisfaction, reduced anxiety and high self-esteem etc.

According to Goldenson, 1984, obsessive compulsive disorder is an anxiety disorder in which obsessions or compulsions are a significant source of distress that interferes with the individual's ability to function. Obsessions are persistent, recurrent ideas and impulses (e.g., thoughts of committing violence; ideas of contamination or doubt) that appear senseless or repugnant to the individual but force themselves on consciousness and cannot be ignored or suppressed.

There have been conducted numerous studies over a long period of time that have shown that compulsive buying is result of personality disorders. For example, earlier studies like Kraepelin (1915), Bleuler (1924) and Bergler (1958) suggested that to purchase compulsively is like substance addiction and gambling etc. Compulsive buying was also associated with other impulse disorder (McElroy et al. 1994). Study of Black (2007) also proved this point that the impulse control of compulsive buyers is extremely low that is why they cannot restrain from gratification. Latest research by Verplanken and Herabadi (2001) showed that compulsive buying is a result of shopper's propensity to purchase on impulse.

Studies of Schmitz (2005) and Dittmar (2005) show that compulsive buyer's exhibit low self-esteem and high level depression. Mueller et al., 2007 and Fernandez-Aranda et al. (2008) have found that compulsive buyers have a greater tendency to show negative approach towards life and are under depression. These studies support the findings of the earlier studies; like of Magee (1994) and Moore et al (1995) which found that compulsive buyers are usually depressed, have low self-esteem and low mood states. Finding of the study of Rindfleisch et al (1997) that compulsive buyers extract positive seek reduction of anxiety and stress supported this point. According to Hoyer and Machinnis (2001), compulsive buying behavior is a result of low self-esteem and complex hedonic psychosocial motivations. According to Hasuman, (2000), hedonic motives are fulfilled by impulsive buying.

Likewise, studies of Shapiro (1993) and Schlosser et al. (1994) showed that compulsive buyers prefer shopping alone i.e. social isolation and feelings of loneliness have been linked to compulsive shoppers. Studies conducted by McElroy et al, (1994), Christensen et al, (1994), DeSarbo and Edwards (1996) and Black (1996) concluded that compulsive buyers seek excitement and movement as compared to non-compulsive buyers. These studies could be taken as extension of the study of Jacobs (1986) that concluded a strong relation between compulsive buying and fantasizing; most compulsive buyers daydream a lot. The study found that the reason why they fantasize is because it helps them stay away from reality and assists them overcome the negative feeling of not having control over their impulse.

Lately, a study by Xu, (2008) found that compulsive buying is materialism satisfaction that is result of family stress and unsuccessful relationships Besides, personality disorders, earlier studies have also suggested a gender orientation to the problem. For example, studies conducted by O'Guinn and Faber (1992), d'Astous (1990) and Scherhorn et al.(1990) found that most compulsive buyers are women as compare to men. Likewise a survey conducted by McElroy et al. (1994) found that 80 to 95 percent of compulsive buyers were women.

Big Five Personality t raits and c ompulsive Buying

The five factor model of personality has achieved a mutual consensus of all personality trait taxonomies (Larsen and Buss, 2010), even extensive researches use the big five model to evaluate personalities and explain the personality differences including the research of Endler and Spear, 1998. The first ever attempt to understand and study personality was not that successful (Kassarjian, 1971), but since the past few years studies have yielded results to understand personality and human behavior including Lin (2010), Mowen (2000) and Egan and Taylor (2010).

The first attempt to research and study the field of personality and compulsive buying behavior was carried out by Mowen and Spears (1999). In that research, the big five was used to study and understand the need for arousal and materialism, hence, the compulsive buying behavior was predicted. In light of the personality traits, it was discovered that low conscientiousness, low stability and high agreeableness foretell compulsive buyers. This same approach of study was carried out by Mowen (2000). The central traits in the study were compulsiveness and impulsiveness. The research found that only two traits of personality predicted compulsive buying behavior, these traits were neuroticism and agreeableness.

The big five was also used by Balabanis (2001) to predict the compulsive buying behavior. Results of the study proved that high extraversion and low intellect were predictors of compulsive buying for scratch cards and lottery tickets. The study of Balabans (2001) was contradictory to the study of Mowen and Spears (1999), because the former discovered a negative relation between compulsive buying and agreeableness and no other personality variation was discovered between non-compulsive and compulsive buyers. According to a recent study conducted by Shahjehan (2012), a positive relationship between compulsive buying and neuroticism was found along with conscientiousness as a factor that triggers impulsive buying. Agreeableness, extraversion and openness were also shown as positively correlated factors by the study.

Method

Quantitative research methodology is opted for this study, where the data was gathered via self-administered questionnaire, which was then analyzed using SPSS Linear Regression by converting the questionnaires into summated scale.

This study is limited to Karachi city of Pakistan and the research. Sample size for this study was 400 out of which 50% were female 50% were male. Among the sample, 46.8% were high school graduates, 21.7 were bachelors, 28.1 were masters and only 2% were post-graduate. Age selected for the survey was 18 years and above. Frequency distribution for income of the sample shows the highest percentage of income was noticed to be less than 25,000 followed by 25,000 to 50,000 with 12.8%; whereas 34% of the samples choose I would rather not say". The survey was conducted in the shopping malls of Karachi; three malls were selected for this purpose; Park Towers, Dolmen City Mall and the Forum

Data collection instruments

Two data collection instruments were used; the Mini-IPIP measure of personality devised by Donnellan et al (2006) and Compulsive Buying Scale developed by Ridgway et al (2008). The Mini-IPIP measure of personality 20 item scale was used to evaluate the respondent's personality traits including Extraversion, Agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and intellect. This is basically a sub-part of the international personality item pool by Goldberg, 1999 which was of 50-items. On Compulsive Buying Scale a seven point scale was used to measure 4 items, the scale ranges from strongly disagree to strongly agree. There are further, two items which are measured in never to very often. Respondents having 25 or more score are said to be found compulsive buyers.

Reliability of these questionnaires were calculated using Cronbach's Alpha, where it was in ordinal scale and it was found to be .735 which indicates that both the questionnaires are reliable for the study.

table1: reliability statistics

Cronbach's Alpha###N of Items

.735###26

Data analysis

Data for the study was collected in three months duration from a sample of 400 individuals in the city of Karachi using convenience sampling (non- probability) procedure, all respondents were above 18 years of age. The survey was conducted in the three leading shopping malls of Karachi. The data gathered was then analyzed using SPSS Software.

Linear Regression has been applied on all the constructs of the questionnaires namely Compulsive Buying and Big Five Personality traits (Extraversion, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism, Openness and Agreeableness) where compulsive buying being the dependent variable. The findings from the analysis are given below,

table 2: Extraversion

Model###R###R Square Adjusted R Square###Std. Error of the Estimate

1###.892###a

###.795###.794###4.23643

###Sum of###Mean

Model###df###F###Sig.

###Squares###Square

###Regression 27668.129###1 27668.129###1541.631###.000b

1###Residual###7143.031###398###17.947

###Total###34811.160###399

The value of R for the linear regression result of Extraversion and compulsive buying show that Extraversion has a strong positive relationship with compulsive buying. As Extraversion increases so does the compulsive buying and vice versa. The value of R square show that 79.5 percent variability has been explained by the model. The p value was found to be highly significant at p less than .05 which means there is a significant positive relationship between Extraversion and compulsive buying. Hence, h 1 is verified.

table 3: a greeableness

###Adjusted R###Std. Error of

###Model###R###R Square

###Square###the Estimate

1###.879a###.773###.773###4.45140

Model###Sum of Squares###df###Mean Square###F###Sig.

###Regression###26924.809###1###26924.809 1358.813 .000b

1###Residual###7886.351 398###19.815

###Total###34811.160 399

Regression analysis has been applied on the agreeableness and compulsive buying. The value of R showed that the Agreeableness has a strong positive relationship with compulsive buying. The R square value shows that 77.3 percent variability has been explained by the model. The p value was found to be highly significant at p less than .05 which means there is a significant positive relation between agreeableness and compulsive buying. Hence, h 2 is verified.

table 4: conscientiousness

###Adjusted R###Std. Error of

Model###R###R Square

###Square###the Estimate

1###.965a###.932###.932###2.43602

###Sum of###Mean

Model###df###F###Sig.

###Squares###Square

###Regression 32449.345###1 32449.345###5468.185###.000b

1###Residual###2361.815###398###5.934

###Total###34811.160###399

The results for the Conscientiousness and compulsive buying show that, there is a very strong positive correlation between Conscientiousness and compulsive buying. The R square value shows that 93.2 percent of the variability has been explained by the model. The value of p was found to be highly significant at p less than .05 which means there is a positive relationship between Conscientiousness and compulsive buying. Hence, h 3 is verified.

table 5: neuroticism

###Adjusted R###Std. Error of

Model###R###R Square

###Square###the Estimate

1###.962a###.925###.925###2.56077

###Sum of###Mean

Model###df###F###Sig.

###Squares###Square

###Regression 32201.263###1 32201.263###4910.578###.000b

1###Residual###2609.897###398###6.558

###Total###34811.160###399

Regression analysis has been applied on the construct of Neuroticism and compulsive buying. The value of R shows a very strong positive correlation between Neuroticism and compulsive buying. The R square value shows that 92.5 percent of the variability has been explained by the model. The value of p was found to be highly significant at p less than .05 which means there is a positive relationship between Neuroticism and compulsive buying. Hence, h 4 is verified.

table 6: intellect

###Adjusted R###Std. Error of

Model###R###R Square

###Square###the Estimate

1###.959a###.920###.920###2.64273

###Sum of###Mean

Model###df###F###Sig.

###Squares###Square

1###Regression###32031.523###1 32031.523###4586.407###.000b

###Residual###2779.637###398###6.984

###Total###34811.160###399

The value of R for the Openness and compulsive buying shows a strong positive correlation between Intellect and compulsive buying. The R square value shows that 92.0 percent of the variability has been explained by the model. The p value of the model shows a figure of .000 which is highly significant, which means there is a positive relationship between Intellect and compulsive buying. Hence, h 5 is approved.

Discussion and c onclusion

The results indicated a positive relation between compulsive buying and the big five personality traits. Strongest relationship was observed between Conscientiousness and Compulsive buying (R=.956; P=.000), followed by Neuroticism (R= .962; P=.000), Intellect with (R=.959; P=.000), Agreeableness with (R=.879; P=.000) and lastly Extraversion with (R=.829; P=.000). All figures accrued show a positive relationship between the big five personality traits and compulsive buying. All 5 hypotheses were accepted which indicates that compulsive buyers are extravert, agreeable, conscious, intellectual and neurotic.

Previously no consistent findings had been drawn in any notable research work that could be expressly related to compulsive buying and the big five personality traits. Hence, main purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between the big five personality traits and compulsive buying. The results of this study are unique in the sense that they show a positive relation with all five personality traits (extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, intellect and neuroticism). According to previous research findings women are more prone to buy compulsively as compare to men (Dittmar et al., 2005; Babin et al., 1994). Likewise, extravert people were found having crave for attention and hence, opt for compulsive buying as an instant act to be liked and wanted (Balabanis, 2001). Agreeable individuals seek to maintain their relationship and give-in to their impulse (Jensen- Campbell and Graziano, 2001).

Neuroticism was found to be related positively by several researches and it was also found to be positive in this research also because people who are a victim of anxiety and depression are said to buy more compulsively as compare to people with less anxiety disorders (McCrae and Costa, 1985). Openness was found to be positively related to compulsive buying in this research; whereas, most researchers found intellect negatively related to compulsive buying due to the fact that imaginative and daring individuals do not easily give-in to their impulsive

There are certain limitations of this study, first of all this study neglected the personality traits of online shoppers. Online shoppers are a huge chunk of the market and should be kept into consideration. Further, there are also other personality traits that should have been considered including Personality Adjective Check List devised in the year 1991. Further, this study generally asked questions to respondents regarding their shopping habits, a better approach would be to limit to a particular product and then investigate their personality and behavior for better and authentic results.

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Publication:Journal of Business Strategies (Karachi)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Dec 31, 2014
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