Date of Award

12-2002

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Human Ecology

Major Professor

Ann E. Fairhurst, David W. Schumann

Committee Members

Nancy B. Fair, Allison P. Young, Mary Sue Younger

Abstract

The general objective of this dissertation is to investigate the most current phenomenon in the Polish retail environment and the recent Polish consumers’ retail experience. Specifically, by examining information search behavior, shopping behavior, and post-purchase behavior, themes emerged in terms of how the changes in the retail environment influenced the patronage and consumption behavior of Polish consumers. An exploratory research approach is used to conduct this research due to the lack of existing knowledge on Polish consumers and the ever-changing nature of the market environment in Poland. Moreover, qualitative research method with naturalistic inquiry was used to present the Polish consumers’ point of view on their retail experiences.

The data are analyzed in two simultaneous stages: 1) an open coding analysis, and 2) a thematic analysis. The findings indicate that Polish consumers shopping behavior as well as consumption behavior have been influenced by the dramatic changes in the retail environment, retail experiences in the past, and the time perception. The data appear to provide empirical evidence that the changes in time perception appear to have an impact on Polish consumers’ consumption behavior. The findings also present that Polish consumers may have adapted the retail environment under free market economy but their attitudes and behaviors remain to be heavily influenced by their retail experiences under the planned economy.

This research presents a contribution to the body of knowledge by taking a significant step and addressing several untapped issues. This research provides a theoretical foundation for better understanding of Polish consumers’ attitudes and behaviors, which is beyond the descriptive information presented by the previous studies. For practitioners, this research highlights the need for better understanding of consumers in countries undergoing political and economic transition in order to achieve the promising performance by formulating and implementing the sufficient retail strategies. Replication of the study on consumers in the other parts of Poland would further strengthen the conclusions. Future research should also explore the alternative research methods due to the nature of the unknown group of consumers. Following research topics are also suggested for the further investigation: 1) effectiveness of retailer’s advertising/promotion campaigns in Polish market; 2) Polish consumer’s in-store shopping behavior; 3) search behavior; 4) influence of time perception on purchase behavior; and 5) conceptualization of Polish consumer satisfaction response to retail experience.

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