Marketing Seminar - Professor Jeffrey Inman

Seminar Room 10.039, Level 10, The Spot Building (198 Berkeley St)


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Prof Julie Ozanne

T: +61 3 8344 9220

PRESENTER: Professor Jeffrey Inman (Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh)
TOPIC: “Is the Follower the Leader? How the First Follower Establishes the Social Norm in Sequential Behavior” 

Our research examines how social norms are determined in a sequential choice setting. When people in groups make decisions sequentially, they are conforming to social norms as they develop. We show that the social norm is determined by the behavior of the second person (i.e. the first follower) relative to the first person (i.e. the leader). In Study 1, in a restaurant field study, we show that people either order to fulfill uniformity or variety depending on the behavior of the first follower relative to the group leader. When the first follower chooses similarly (differently) to the leader, the rest of the group tends to seek uniformity (variety). In Study 2, we use a secondary dataset of online reviews to demonstrate that group variation in review valence depends on the comparison of the first follower’s review relative to the leader’s review. In Study 3, we replicate the findings in an experimental setting and show that perceptions of a social norm mediate the effect of the first follower on within-group variation. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

Jeff Inman is the Albert Wesley Frey Professor of Marketing and Associate Dean of Research and Faculty at the Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh. He is currently Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Consumer Research. He also sits on the Board of Directors of the American Marketing Association, is Past-President of the Society for Consumer Psychology, and is a former President of the Association for Consumer Research. His research focuses on consumer-relevant issues such as in-store choice, response to promotions, and the influence of technology on consumer behavior. He has over 50 journal publications across a variety of journals, including the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Marketing Research, Marketing Science, and the Journal of Marketing. He has won the MSI/H. Paul Root, which is awarded to a Journal of Marketing article based on its contribution to the advancement of the practice of marketing. He and his wife, Sandy, and son, Michael, live in Sewickley, PA.

RSVPs are not necessary.