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Consumer innovativeness as learned behavior: A cognitive social learning interpretation

Suresh Subramanian, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This study investigates consumer innovativeness (CI) as a socially learned behavior. Unlike previous conceptualizations of CI that view earliness of adoption as a trait that some consumers possess and some do not, this dissertation raises the question, "Is early adoption of innovations a learned behavior?"^ The study employs the Mischel (1973) Cognitive Social Learning Model as a framework to test for social learning of CI. Following Hirschman's (1981) technical/symbolic dichotomy, seven innovative software packages and seven fashion sweaters are used to represent technical and symbolic innovations. Two sets of hypotheses are posited and tested. The within-product class hypotheses investigate the relationship between the Mischel learning variables and CI separately for each product class. The between-product class hypotheses investigate the within-person between-product class differences in CI and the Mischel learning variables and any relationship between the two. To overcome the trait bias found in most existing measures of CI, the study uses the symbolic adoption measure from the Klonglan and Coward (1970) model as the dependent variable.^ As expected, symbolic adoption scores for the two product categories are not related, suggesting that CI does not hold true across product categories. In the within-product class analyses, four of the five Mischel variables are related to CI in the case of software, while for sweaters two of the five Mischel variables are related to CI. In testing the between-product class hypotheses, differences in four of the five Mischel learning variables are found to be related to differences in CI. The three sets of results taken together suggest that there is some evidence to support learning effects of CI. ^

Subject Area

Business Administration, Marketing|Psychology, Social|Psychology, Personality

Recommended Citation

Subramanian, Suresh, "Consumer innovativeness as learned behavior: A cognitive social learning interpretation" (1992). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI9237678.