Marketing Letters

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 297–305 | Cite as

Using single informants to study group choice: An examination of research practice in organizational buying

  • Elizabeth J. Wilson
  • Gary L. Lilien


Purchasing agents are often employed as individual informants in studies of organizational buying. This practice occurs in spite of the fact that several researchers have identified problems with using individual informants to study group buying behavior. The purpose of this study is to examine the appropriateness of using either single or multiple informants both in non-new task and new task group buying situations. We compare the predictive accuracy of a single-informant, autocracy model with that of a multiperson, majority rule model. The study includes 104 group decisions made by buying centers in organizations. Overall, we find that data from multiple informants significantly outperforms single informant data for both new task and non-new task situations, and that single/key informant data should be used in organizational buying research only with care and caution.

Key words

Organizational Buying Single Informants Multiple Informants 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth J. Wilson
    • 1
  • Gary L. Lilien
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Marketing, 312-A CEBA, College of Business AdministrationLouisiana State UniversityBaton Rouge
  2. 2.Institute for the Study of Business MarketsPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity Park

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