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Organizational and political dimensions of consumer pressure groups

Organisatorische und politische Aspekte von Interessengruppen von Konsumenten

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Abstract

Marketing researchers have traditionally treated consumers' problems as an element of the marketing mix, a problem to be overcome by the marketing manager. The paper asserts that many consumer problems are general and may only be solved in the political process through actions by organized pressure groups. Theories and empirical studies of the social exchange process, organizations, and political pressure groups provide fruitful frameworks to structure and analyze research on consumer pressure groups. A menu of research topics outlines areas that may be of interest to consumer policy researchers.

Zusammenfassung

In diesem Aufsatz wird argumentiert, daß viele Verbraucherprobleme nur kollektiv durch organisierte Interessengruppen gelöst werden können, und daß Interessengruppen von Konsumenten politische Organisationen wie viele andere auf freiwilliger Basis organisierte Aktionsgruppen auch sind. Diese Organisationen sehen sich speziellen Problemen gegenüber im Hinblick auf Mitgliederwerbung, Erhaltung der Organisation und Interaktion mit anderen Organisationen, über die bis jetzt wenig bekannt ist.

Individuen werden zum Beitritt in eine Verbrauchergruppe durch eine Vielzahl von materiellen und psychologischen Anreizen motiviert. Nutzen in Form von Warentests und Verbraucherberatung bildet die Anreize für die Mehrzahl der Mitglieder. Eine komplexere Anreizstruktur existiert jedoch vermutlich für die aktiven Mitglieder: diejenigen, die Zeit und Mühe aufwenden um Verbraucherinteressen im politischen Prozeß zu vertreten.

Die Struktur von Interessengruppen von Konsumenten und ihre Ressourcenallokation scheint in hohem Maße von der Struktur der Regierung und der anderen Organisationen abzuhängen, die Ziel der Bemühungen der Gruppe sind. Zudem muß der Nutzen für die aktiven Mitglieder hoch genung sein um sie in der Organisation zu halten. Stellt sich der Nutzen nicht ein, ist es leicht, die Organisation zu verlassen, da die meisten Aktivisten Freiwillige sind.

Der Aufsatz endet mit zahlreichen Vorschlägen für mögliche Forschungsvorhaben, die zeigen, wie wenig noch über Interessengruppen von Konsumenten bekannt ist.

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Additional information

James D. Forbes is an Associate Professor of Marketing, Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, V6T 1Y8. Research for this paper was supported in part by grants from the Canadian Humanities and Social Science Council and from Consumer and Corporate Affairs Canada.

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Forbes, J.D. Organizational and political dimensions of consumer pressure groups. J Consum Policy 8, 105–131 (1985). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00380495

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Keywords

  • Marketing
  • Economic Policy
  • Exchange Process
  • Political Process
  • Social Exchange