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					l                          Gender Differencesin ConsumerDecision Making
                                       for PersonalComPuters:
                                         A Test of HYPotheses

    Frederica Rudell, Iona College


    llypothesesregarding  genderdifferences decision
                                             in          criteria could result in genderdifferencesin
    maktnglor a highlechnologt product are tested        consumerdecisionmaking for technological
    tning available censtn and atwq data about           innovations.The questionto be addressed thisin
                                                 case    paper is: Are there differenccs betweenmale and
    -study cornputeruse and ownerchip. This
    personal
          reveals  gendcrdifferences involvement,
                                    in                   female consumersin their attitudes toward and
    valuesassociatedwith the product, information        decisionmakins for hieh technolo!ry   soodsand
    sources, attfibutesused to evaluatebrands,feelings   services?
    about the technologt,purchaseand wage rates,and
    spectficapplications. Strategicimplications and      Using the stages the consumerdecisionmaking
                                                                         of
    directionsfor future research discussed.
                                  are                    processas a framework, these differencesmight
                                                         include:
    The causes,  nature and role of genderdifferences
    arouse  curiosity and controversy' While the         1. Need recosnition. Do malesand females
    coversof Newsweekand Timg speak to the                  differ in their perceptions of need for new
    masses  of "Gunsand Dolls," (Shapiro 1990)and           technology, perceptionsof what is
                                                                           or
    ask "WhyAre Men and Women Different?"                   appropriate for a given task?
    (Gorman L992),the business    communitydebates       2. Informationprocessing.Are there gender
                   "mommytracks"(Schwartz1989)              differences amountsand tYPes
                                                                          in                    of
    the merits of
    and tries to target female consumerswith mixed          information usedto learn about new
    success                                   in
             (Zinn I99L). Gender differences brain          technolory?
    functioningare used to exploredifferences   in       3. Product/Brand evalqation. Do malesand
    information processing advertising
                            of           messages           femaleslook for different attributeswhen
    (Meyers-Irvy and Maheswaran1991),aswell as              evaluating   high-techproductsand forming their
                                              "Why          attitudes?
    to answerthat burning, age-oldquestion,
    Don't Men Ask Directions?"(BlakesleeL992).           4. Purchase. Are there differencesin the way
                                                            new technology purchased,
                                                                               is           e'g., rate or
    Science and technologl are also in the newsand          method of    purchase?
    in the marketplace, havingffansformedour lives       5. Post-purchase     evaluation. Do malesand
    throughpersonalcomputers,microwaveovens,                females   differ in usageof and satisfaction  with
    VCRs, and a multitude of other high'tech goods          new technology?
    and services.As marketersrecognize growing
                                          the
    importanceof women as customers suchfor              Because the important role that high-tech
                                                                 of
    products,gender differencesin their use and          productshavein our lives,the findings should
    acquisitionbecomeapparent. Jokesabout boys           haveimplicationsfor the designand diffusion of
    and their toys reveal an acknowledgeddifference      new technolorywhich will be useful to marketers,
    in male and female affinity for technology.While     consumereducatorsand public policy makers.
    genderand technologycollide in headlines-
    "Computingin America: A MasculineMystique"                      CONSUMER RESEARCH
    (Markoff f989)-PC makersare puzzledabout
    how to approachfemale customers(kwyn 1990).          Consumerbehaviorresearchers    recognizethe
                                                         importanceof difftrsionof innovation,especially
    It would seemfair to assume that differencesin       consumeradoptionof new technology. Many
    cognitivefunctioning,learning stylesand judgment     studieshavebeen done to investigate the
          situationaland product characteristics         tech products. Previousresearchby the author,
Dersonal,
                                          of             utilizing a projectivetechnique(Rudell 1989),
ihat foster or inhibit consumeracceptance
innovations.  (Seefor instanceRogersand                  detectedgreaterinterest in product information
Shoemaker    t97l;Gatignon and Robertson1985;            for a home computer on the part of younger
narn  and Sheth 1989' For a brief review of the          femalestudents. A more strucfuredattitude
literatur€,seeRudell 1989).Most experiments   or         survey(Rudell 1990)indicatedfew differencesin
turveys for thesestudiesmadeuse of all male or           statedattitudestoward technologybetweenmale
                     and where mixed samples             and femalebusiness    students. However,there
all femalesamples,
were used,data were seldomanalyzed gender.
                                      by                 were differences the types of high-techproducts
                                                                           in
                                                         owned. While equal percentages malesand
                                                                                             of
For example,Danko and Maclachlan (1983)did               femalesowned VCRs and telephoneanswering
nof haveenoughfemale adoptersof personal                 machines,   malesfar outnumberedfemalesin
computersin their sample,so they only analyzed           ownershipof personalcomputers,cellular phones,
the male responses (but made suggestions   about         and fax machines. Sincefemale students
             "support"from women by positioning          displayed  equal interest in all elevenhigh-tech
encouraging
the product in an educational, rather than               productg differences rates of adoptionwere
                                                                                in
businesscontext).Dickersonand Gentry (1983)              attributedto males'higher income and ability to
usedcomputerclub members(notoriouslymale-                purchase, greatersituationalneed.
                                                                     or
dominated)and subscribers PsvcholoplTodav
                            to
to representadoptersand   non'adoptersof                 The major attitudinal differencebetweenmales
personalcomputersrespectively, did not
                                 but                     and femalesin the 1990studywas related to
record or report on sex of respondents.In                socialization. Males had significantly higher
                                                                                            "Asa child, I
Venkateshand Vitalari's (1984)studyof                    agteement    with the statement,
householddecisionmaking for home computers,              enjoyedplayrngwith mechanicaltoys and
95Voof the resPondentswere    male.                      constructionsets."In a subsequent        paper (Rudell
                                                         1991),a review of relevantsociological,
Thus we see that little or no attentionhasbeen           psychological consumerbehaviorliterature
                                                                         and
paid in thesestudiesto the possiblerole of gender        was utilized to generate testable hlpotheses
differences attitudestoward technology, to
            in                              or           regarding the first stagein the decision-making
adoptionof new technologies.The findings of              process, perceivedneed for high-tech
                                                                   i.e.,
differences betweenadoptersand non'adopters              products. Gender differences socialization,
                                                                                           in
may in part reflect genderdifferences, and               involvement,values,    problem-solving    style and
conclusions  drawn from researchon all male or           personalefficacy   yielded six hypotheses     regarding
all female samplesmay not be applicableto                                            to
                                                         interestin and resistance high-tech         products.
consumers the oppositesex. The only studyto
            of                                           Someof thesewill be discussed        later in this
combinegenderdifferences     and innovation              paper,and all are discussed detail in Rudell
                                                                                        in
appears be that of Gentry et al. (1989),which
         to                                              (1991). The hlryotheses their sourcesare
                                                                                    and
investigatedgender differencesin technical vs.           listed in Table 1, and an overview of the picture
symbolicproduct preferences, found
                               and                       that emergedis represented Figure 1.
                                                                                        by
variationsacrossfive cultures(U.S., Korea,India,
Thailandand Senegal). For the U.S., students                             METHODOLOGY
conformedto the stereotypical   pattern of males
being more interestedin new technicalproducts            Ideally,a surveyand/or experimentwould be
(e.g.,cameras,  watches, computers),and females          designed test some of thesehypotheses,
                                                                  to                               and
more willing to try symbolicinnovations(e.g.,  new       exploie genderdifferencesin later stagesof the
clothingfashions,hair styles).                           consumerdecision-makingprocessAs a
                                                         preliminarymeansof investigating             this
                                                                                           differences,
           CURRENT RESEARCH                              paper is basedon use of secondary  data drawn
                                                         from three previousstudies. In f984 and 1989,
The purposeof this paper is to exploregender             the U.S. Cenzusincludeda seriesof questions
differences consumerdecisionmaking for high'
           in                                            about use and ownershipof computersin their


                                                     2
        PopulationSurvey. The resultingreports        In the sectionsthat follow, the available
C.urrent
                                                      quantitativeand qualitativedata will be used to
Jn ,ornput"t use (U.S. Bureau of the Census
                                        usersby       e4ploregenderdifferences each stageof the
                                                                                  in
igAS;figt) feature tablesthat categorize                                          processoutlined above.
              including sex. Thesewill be             consumer  decision'making
demographics,
refenedto as 1984and 1989Census'
                                                                         FINDINGS
                                         sets
In addition to the Censustables,two data
     been made availableto the author for re'         Staee1. Need Recoenition
have
analysis gender. The first one is a national
        by                                            h n116 andfs?lzlles &'flb in tlutrpercepttotts of
telephonesurveyof 16lhome computerowners              rcd for ww tecfuwlogl,or pe@iots of wlut is
carried out by Trendex,Inc. in 1985for the            WWfurctor a giventadc?
Newspaper   AdvertisingBureau (Newspaper
                                                      Table 1 abovelists severalhlryotheses regarding
Advertising Bureau 1988). This survey (hereafter
referred to as the NAB data) recorded                 the likely genderdifferencesin perceivedneed for
                                                      or interestin high'tech products,basedupon a
information about the owner/user's purchase                                           psychologicaland
decision(e.g.,reasonfor purchase, sourcesof           reviewof relevantsociological,
information),usageand satisfaction, and               consumer   behaviorliterature (Rudell 1991). For
demograPhics.                                         instance, sincemalesand femalesare socialized
                                                      differently,through toys,role models,and media'
The seconddata set, providedto the authorby           Hypothesis1 statesthat maleswill be more
Edward F. McQuarrie, was a 1987mail survey of         interestedin and acceptingof high-techproducts.
           voters in three countiesin Northern        As supportfor this socialization process'the NAB
registered
California (hereafter referred to as the California   data revealsdisparitiesin willingnessto share
data). Usage and attitude data were gathered          home computerswith male and female children.
                                                                   60.9Vo male respondents
                                                                          of                  sharedthe
from 964 respondents, measurethe influenceof
                        to                            Specifically,
                on attitudestoward computers          PC with a son, and 30.47o  sharedwith  a daughter.
mere exposure
(McQuanie and Iwamoto 1990).                          Femalerespondents    were more even-handed,   with
                                                       44.4%sharing with sons and 4L.7Vo  sharing with
To provide further insight into consumerdecision      daughters.
making,the Censustables,NAB data and
California data will be supplemented with             In Table 1, it is also hypothesized that the gender
anecdotal information providedby five computer        gapwill closeas socialization   of malesand
salesrepresentatives  interviewedby the author in     femalesmovedtoward equality. The 1984Census
the spring of 1991. Their experiences  and            found9.9% of males and8.37oof femaleshaving
perceptions customersoffer additionalevidence
            of                                        a computerat home. Of those, 63.17o male of.
of gender similaritiesand differences in              owners  and 42.8Vo female ownersactuallyused
                                                                           of
approaches the computerpurchase.
            to                                        it. By 1989,the figureshad almost doubled'with
                                                       78.5Vo malesand L6.2%of femaleshaving
                                                             of.
The personalcomputer (PC) will be used as a           computersat home. While usagerates for males
casestudy,to illustrate and further explore the       increased  only slightly (to 65.2Va owners),by
                                                                                         of
applicationof gender differences attitudesand
                                 to                    198951..4%  of female ownersused the computers
behaviorregardinga high-techproduct. While            at home. Among children ages3't7 who had a
the PC cannot representall high'tech products,it      computerat home,usageby malesdroppedfrom
offers the advantageof being a fairly complex,yet      80.3Vo 74.0Vo,
                                                             to          while femalesincreased   usage
familiar technology,with a wide variety of            slightlyover the sameperiod (66.47o 67.97o).
                                                                                             to
applications,which has also been the subjectof        Whether attributable to increasedavailability and
many studies. Computer technology in many
                                     is               access work, home or school,the gendergap
                                                             at
cases basisfor other high-techproductsand
      the                                             doesappearto be closing.
services (e.g.,electronicbanking),and in common
parlance,computerizationis often synonymous           The third hypothesis Table L concerns
                                                                         in
with one type of technological change.                differences involvement. It was hypothesized
                                                                 in
                                                            the sameS-pointlikert scaleto indicate the
    that maleswould havemore enduringinvolvement
                                                            degreeto which they felt personalcomputershad
    ior suchgoods,i.e.,long-termperception       of
              importancebasedon the strengthof the          a connectionwith (could help people like them to
    oioOuct
                                                            gain or to be more) 9 of Rokeach'sterminal
    iiodu"t't relationshipto an individual'scentral
                                            with            valuesand 6 instrumentalvalues. While females
    needsand values.This is contrasted
                   involvement, temporary
                                 the                        felt a slightlystrongerconnectionof computers
    instrumental
                                                  on        with "sense accomplishment," t-test of
                                                                         of                    a
    Derception product importance. Based
                 of
            of actualcomputeruse,it appearedthat            differences  was not statisticallysignificant
l   .toOiit
                                                            (p=.167). There wasvirtually no gender
    1nenare more likely to regard computer                                           "pleasure." Only the
    technologSl intrinsicallyinteresting,
                 as                          while          differencein ratingsof
                                                                        "equality,""wisdom"and "intellectual"
             judge it by its ability to accomplish needed   ratingsfor
    women
    tasks(a
              "toy-tool"distinction).                       revealedmodestbut statisticallysignificant
                                                            differences,  with femalesseeinga stronger
    gome scaleditems includedin the California              connectionin all three cases(Table 3).
    suryeyallow us to test this hypothesis.
    Respondentswere     askedto indicatethe degreeto        Given the differences socializationdiscussed
                                                                                 in
                              regardingthe effect of        above,it is perhapsnot illogical to assumethat
    which severalstatements
    computerson their relationswith other people            women hope to gain more equality through the
    appliedto them personally. A 5'point scale              computer. Sincecomputersare often associated
            "Isthis true for you?"was marked "NQl           with information and education,wisdom and
    labeled
                                                   not a    intellectualpursuitsmiglrt also be more salient
    0g 3"?3. YES!" Althoughcomputerswere
            ygg
    ;trottopic"for either gender,a t-test of differences    goalsfor women,who are not used to playingwith
    in averageratings between male and female               computersas toys.
    respondentsshowedthat males had significantly
    higher agreementwith statementsreflecting               The last two hypothesesin Table 1 theorized that
    talking about computers(Table 2).                       femaleresistance adoption of high-tech
                                                                             to
                                                            productsmight be rooted in greater inertia and
    Signsof involvement measuredby the NAB survey           higherperceivedrisk, and could not be tested
    includePC user group membership(no significant          usingthesedata.
    difference- 17.6%o males and 15'47o females
                       of                  of
    claimedto belong), and degreeto which they give         Stase2. InformationProcessine
    or receiveinformation (no significantdifference).       fue fumegendtatfrswees in onwus urrdtp
    Attentivenesstonewsabout the product classis            oftrtomatim uvd to lean abut tvw techrclogt?
    associatedwith enduringinvolvement,  and there
    was a significantdifferencebetweenmalesand              As noted abovein the context of involvement,the
    femaleshere: 39.8Vo males and L9.2Vo
                          of                  of-           NAB data revealedthat male respondentswere
    femalesclaimed to follow developments the
                                            in              more attentiveto new dwelopmentsin the
    computerfield very closely(p = .0003).                  cornputerfield. Questionsabout sourcesof
                                                            informationusedto learn about home computers
    Given the differences moral reasoning
                         in                                 were included in the NAB survey. When asked
    popularizedby Gilligan (1982),the fourth                which was the most useful source, significant
    hypothesis Table 1 statedthat malesand
               in                                           genderdifferences  were revealed(chisq.= 10.849,
    femaleswould differ in the personalvalueswhich          p= .054). Table 4 exhibitsthe results,which are
    underlie the purchaseof a high-techproduct              consistent                in
                                                                      with differences involvement.
    (Rudell 1991). For instance,basedon exploratory
    research with businessstudents, was theorized
                                   it                       Althouglr approximately  equal percentages both
                                                                                                      of
    that maleswould value pleasure, while females           genders  rely on word of mouth and media other
    would seeka senseof accomplishment.                     than computer magazines,it is clear that males
                                                            consult computer magazinesand rely on prior
    The California data offer an opportunityto test         knowledgeto a much greater extent, while female
    this hlpothesis.Respondentswere   askedto use           consumersare more likely to use the shopping
nrocess gather information. This information
        to                                           computersby marking a 7 point semantic
                                                     differentialscaleanchoredby pairs of words. No
lath"ring purposewas confirmedindependently                                        ratingswere found
                                                     genderdifferences average
                                                                         in
                                    who
6u rotpot"t salesrepresentatives, remarked
            customers  were more nervous'more        for three pairs: active- passive,
                                                                                     interested-bored,
that female
           about learningto use the computer,        reluctant-eager.  The remainingpairs and their t-
concerned
                                              and    test results are shown in Table 6'
more likely to return to the store frequently,
to ask more questions,before making a purchase'
                                                     While differences  were relativelysmall,it appears
                                                     that males have stronger associationsof
Staee3. Product/Brand Evaluation
                             dffircnt awifutes       computerswith such terms as masterful, assertive,
m rr.t"t ardlsrules le@
      anlutittg hi$ae& pdttcts and fu't'inS          calm, trust, powerful, easy,comfortable,relaxed
when
                                                     and pleasant. Femaleswere significantly more
tfuiraniadcs?
                                                     likely to be on the other end of thesescales,
                                                     associating computerswith confused,      intimidated'
The NAB survey asked computer owners for the
r€asons  why they chosea specificbrand, and          agitated,distrust,powerless,  difficult, frustrated,
askedthem to indicatewhich was the main reason       tense,and unPleasant.
for choosing the brand they bought. Table 5
displays percentage eachgenderciting each
         the            of                           Observationsby salesrepresentativesthat female
                                                     customers   seemedmore nervous,   uptight,
reallon or attribute. The differencesare                                    "fun"to deal with, asking
significant(chisq.= 17.997,p=.035),    although      suspicious, timid, less
small celt counts may affect the test.               rnore questionsand having more trouble after the
                                                     sale,can be understoodin the light of these
It appearsthat femaleswere much more likely to       attitude differences.
chooseon the basisof price, and somewhat    more
likely to cite specificoperatingsystemattributes,    Stase4. Purchase
which were coded to includespeed,power,              Are ttse atfrerace^s tle wry rcw tecfudogt is
                                                                        in
memory,compatibility,and easeof use. This last       Wclnv{    eg", mk or tnethd of Prchax?
attribute was seenby all five salesrepresentatives
interviewedto be of greaterconcernto female          Since67.5Vo the 161computer owners
                                                                    of
customers. External attributesincludingsize,         respondingto the NAB suryeywere males, and
portability and "cuteness"were  also consideredto    32.57o  females, could concludethat malesare
                                                                       we
be  a female concernby the two salesreps who         more likely to purchase     computers. The
noted any differencewith respectto that attribute.   California data,  which recordedattitudes of.954
                                                     ownersand non-owners,        found a smallerbut
Males respondingto the NAB surveymore                statistically significant difference in ownership,i.e.,
ftequently cited software,prior experience,          34.lVoof male and25.7Vo female respondents
                                                                                    of
reputation,and recommendationsby     others. This    owneda PC.
is consistentwith the observation sales
                                  by
representatives male customers
                that                 were more       Regardingmethod of purchase, significant
                                                                                      no
likely to "borrow"softwarefrom ftiends and           differenceswere found betweenmale and female
workplacethan to buy it (and might be looking        respondents the NAB surveyregardingwhere
                                                                 to
for a computer that runs the most available          they shopped(one store, severalstores,or
programs). It also conf,rmsthe finding from the      catalog)or number of visits. Most shoppedat
California data that men talk more about             severalstoresand made three visits or less. No
comput€rswith others,aid thereforewill learn         differenceswere found in type of outlet where the
more about reputations and specific                  purchase was made (e.g.,chain,independent
recommendations.                                     dealer,catalog,etc.), though it is noted that where
                                                     specificmanufacturers   were cited, 4 malesand no
How do generalattitudestoward computers              femalesbought from IBM, while 3 females and 1
differ? The California surveyaskedrespondents        male bought ftom APPIe'
to indicatehow they felt about dealingwith
                                                        work, home business, bulletin board, electronic
When askedfor up to three reasonsfor choosing
the outlet where the final purchasewas made,            mail, and telemarketing. They were closestfor
similar reasons were cited by malesand females          desktoppublishing.
(chisq= 3.160,p=.$75;. While price was equally
important when choosingan outlet, location and          Althoughthere are differences amount and
                                                                                      in
salespeople were cited more frequentlyby male           tlpe of computeruse,malesand femalesseemto
customers,  while serviceand availabilitywere of        be equallysatisfiedwith the product. The NAB
 greaterconcernto females.                              supey askedowner/userrespondents rate their
                                                                                              to
                                                        satisfaction a 4 point scale(very satisfiedto
                                                                    on
Staee5. Post-Purchase     Evaluation                    very dissatisfied).There was no difference
           andlannles difliq in uuge of and             (chisq=1.174, p=.759), vnth83.3Vo malesand
                                                                                           of
fu lrnales
 satisfactiot with tuw technologt?                       80.4Vo femalesclaiming to be very satisfied.
                                                                of.

                                                                          SUMMARY
                                                                                                               lir
The California survey asked about specific usesof
the computer by the household, the individual'
                                not
                                                        The goal of this paper was to explore gender
                                                                                                               lli
                                                                                                               ii.
so a comparisonof male and female responses
would not be useful. However,the294                     differences consumerdecisionmaking for high-
                                                                    in
                                    were asked          tech productsby testinghypotheses some
                                                                                             on                lli
respondents  who did ovm computers
about their personalusagelevel-whether they             available data setsrelating to a particular product,
were the major user, one of severalusers,or not         the personalcomputer. The investigationwas
a user. Males had a significantlyhigher usage           clearlyconstrained the instrumentsusedby the
                                                                            by
level,with 55.3Voof malesand only L9.4Vo   of-          original researchers,whoseown objectives
        perceivingthemselves be the major
                              to                        dictatedthe variablesto be measured,    t1rye and
females
                                                        format of questions,coding of answers,   sampling
user (chisq = 40.549 P=.000).
                                                        plans,etc. However,somegenderdifferences        in
                                                        aspects the decisionmaking
                                                                of                      process  were found
The NAB study revealsno differencesin
frequencyof use,location of the computerin the          in thesedata sets.
household,  and whether or not the user listensto
the radio while using the computer' However,            First, with respectto need recognition,the role of
maleswere significantlymore likely to claim to          socialization bolsteredby evidencethat male
                                                                       was
write their own programs(52.3%of malesvs.               computeruserswere more likely to sharewith
30.8%of females,p=.02)' The rather high                 sonsthan with daughters,    while Censusdata
percentages  may be attributableto nature of the        providedhope that the gap was closing. Greater
sample,which consisted purchasers
                         of           who were          male involvement this high'tech product was
                                                                           in
main usersof the comPuter.                              reflectedin significantly more talk about
                                                        computers,   and closer following of developments
The Censusprovidesdata on specificusesof                in the computerfield. Regardingpersonalvalues,
personalcomputers.While classification uses
                                         of             althoughhypotheses    regardingpleasure(male)
changed between1989and 1984,some                        and         of
                                                             sense accomplishment       (female)were not
comparisons   can still be made. Table 7 exhibits       upheld,femaleswere significantlymore likely than
the usagedata for bothyears. It appears   that          malesto connectvaluesof equality,wisdom and
equal percentages malesand femalesno longer
                   of                                   intellectualwith comPuters.
were "learningto use"the computerby 1989'
Video gameuse decreased females,and stayed
                             for                        Regardingthe secondstagein consumerdecision
about the samefor males. Both did more word             making,information processing, malesand
processing and lesshouseholdrecord keepingon                                                     of
                                                        femalesdiffered in the perceivedusefulness PC
                                       'Job             informationsourc€s. Males favoredcomputer
the computer. What were only called
related"us€sin 1984,were classified  more               magazines prior knowledge,
                                                                   and                 while females
specifically 1989. Males outstrippedfemalesin
            in                                          found the shoppingprocessitself most useful.
use of computersfor tasksclassifiedas
spreadsheet,  programming,graphics,data base,


                                                    6
                                                       to marketers,consumereducators,     and public
With respectto product/brand evaluation,
                                                       policy makers. Perhapsthe most important
iiffrt.nt"t were found in determinantattributes
                                                       implicationof this paper is that evidenceof
usedto s€lectcomputerbrands. Males were
                                                       genderdifferences three separatestudies
                                                                          in
more likely to cite software,reputation,
                    and prior experience,
                                        while          bolstersthe caseto be made for future research
recommendations
           gavemore weight to price and operating      desigrredspecifically test for genderdifferences
                                                                            to
females
         features(includingeaseof use)'                in consumerdecisionmaking for personal
system
                                                       computersand other high-techproducts.
Attitude formation is key to product evaluation,
                            significantgender          Hlryotheses testedin this paper were basedon
and small but statistically
             were found in associations  of            consumer behaviorand other literature, and
differences
           with computersin    general. Males felt     exploratorystudiesdoneby the author. Focus
adjectives
                                                       groupsand depth interviewsof male and female
more masterful,powerful, assertive,    comfortable,
      €itrit, relaxed,trust and pleasantwhen           purchasersand usersof computersand other
6nls1,
dealingwith computers. This could affect their         high-techproductsmight generateproduct-specific
cvaluationProcess.                                     hypotheses future research. An experimental
                                                                  for
                                                       designusing matchedsamples(e.g.,for age,
                                                       occupation, and product-relatedexperience)   of
In the purchasestageof the decisionprocess,      the
              greater ownershipby males.               malesand femalesmight then    yield the best test
data revealed
However, no significant gender differenceswere         of suchhypotheses.
found with regard to timing of purchase'number
of storesvisited, number of visits, outlet type, or    While limited by the data, which were not
                                                       gatheredfor this purpose,the evidence   presented
reasonfor outlet choice.
                                                       in this paper points to severalstrategieswhich
Regardingpost-purchase    evaluationof personal        marketerscould pursue to appealto female
computers,  male ownerswere more likely to             consumers personalcomputers. For example,
                                                                  of
perceivethemselves be the major user of the
                     to                                sincefemalesare lessinvolvedwith the product'
PC.   In terms of actualusag€,maleswere more           and are lesslikely to talk about computersor
likely to do their own programming,and Census          follow developments the field, word of mouth
                                                                             in
                                                       could be stimulated  via company-sponsored  clubs
data revealedgenderdifferences specificuses
                                 in
of the computer,with malesmaking greateruse of         or networks.
qpreadsheets,  graphics,data basesand video
games. Regardless usageamount or
                     of                                Given the differencein value associations  found in
application,at least one of the data sources           this data, computermarketerswishing to target
revealedequallyhigh levelsof satisfaction with the     wom€ncould stressthe benefitsof a PC in terms
product for computerus€rsof both sexes.Thus,           of greaterequality of opportunityto be gainedby
just as navigationalstylesof men and women may         the femaleconsumer. In light of women's
differ (wreakinghavocin automobileson long             apparentuse of the shoppingprocessfor
trips), methodsof choosingand using computers          information gathering,specialpoint'of?urchase
may diverge,but both arrive at the same                materialsmight be designed their use, and
                                                                                    for
destination.                                           salespeople  rnight receivespecialtraining to
                                                       address their specificconcernsin a way that will
An overviewof the findings is presentedin Figure       reducepre-purchase    anxietyand confusion.
2.                                                                               "hardware"or
                                                       Whether due to biological
                                                                 "sofilware,"genderdifferencesin
                  CONCLUSIONS                          socialized
                                                       approaches technolorycan guide marketing
                                                                   to
At the outset,it was statedthat findingsregarding      strategythrough targetedappeals.
genderdifferencesin consumerdecisionmaking
would have implications for the design and
diffusion of new technologywhichwould be useful
                REFERENCES                                              Strategies,"Joumal
                                                       Females'Processing                 of
                                                       Consumer                 No.
                                                                Research,Yol.18, 1    (June),$-74.
Blakeslee,Sandra(1992),"WhyDon'tMen Ask                                                   "Personal
Directions? They Don't Feel Lost,"New York             NewspaperAdvertisingBureau ( 1988),
Tirnes,May26,CL.                                       Computersin the Home: A Studyof Recent
                                                              unpublished
                                                       Buyers,"          report.
Danko, William D., and JamesM. Maclachlan                                                    "Consumer
       "Researchto Acceleratethe Difftrsion of a       Ram, S., and JagdishN. Sheth (L989),
(1983),
New Invention...The Caseof Personal                              To
                                                       Resistance Innovations:   The Marketing
Computers," loumal of AdvertisingResearch,                                                of
                                                       ProblernAnd Its Solutions,"Joumal Consumer
(June/July), 39'43.                                    Markzting,Vol. 6, No. 2 (Spring),5'14.

Dickerson,Mary Ire, and JamesW. Gentry                 Rogers,Everett M., and F' Floyd Shoemaker
(1983),"CharacteristicsofAdopters and Non-             (197L), Communication Innovations,2nd. ed.,
                                                                             of
Adopters of Home Computers," Joumal of                 New York The Free Press.
Consumer Research, (September)
                   l0             ,225'235.                                    "Do Boys Love Their
                                                       Rudell, Fredrica (1989),
Gatig;non, Hubert, and ThomasS. Robertson              Toys, and What Do Women Want?: An
(1985),"A PropositionalInventoryfor New                Fxploratory Investigation of Gender Differences
Diff,rsion Research,"Joumal of Consumer                in Attitudes Toward New Technology,"   Michael
Research, (March), 849'867.
           11                                          H. Morris and EugeneE. Teeple, eds.,Marluting
                                                       Theoryand Practice: Developmmtsfor the 90s'
Gentry,JamesW., Patriya Tansuhaj,Joby John,            Proceedings the Atlantic Marketing Association
                                                                    of
L.l*e Manzer, Bong'Jin Cho, and Gary Ko                5th Annual Conference,  Vol. 5: 167'172.
(1989),"Men Care About Computersand Women                                       "Vivela Difference?:
About Fashion:Only in America?"paper                    Rudell, Fredrica (1990),
presentedat AMA Macro Marketing Conference,            GenderDifferencesin AttitudesToward New
Toledo, August 1989.                                   Technology,"Rustan    Kosenkoand Robert Baer'
                                                        eds.,MarlretingTheoryand hactice: Positioning
Gilligan, Carol (1982),In a DifferentVoice,            for the 21stCenntry, Proceedings the Atlantic
                                                                                        of
Cambridge,MA: Harvard UniversityPress.                 Marketing Association, Annual Conference,
                                                                               6th
                                                        Vol.6:219-223.
                          "SizingUp the Sexes,"
Gorman, Christine (L992),                                                      "Boys'Toys and Girls'
Time, J anuary 20, 42'51.                              Rudell, Fredrica (1991),
                                                       Tools?:An Elrplorationof Gender Differencesin
                   "PCMakers, Palms                    ConsumerDecision-Making High Tech
                                                                                  for
Lewyn,Mark (1990),
        Try Talking To Women," Business
Sweating,                                              Products,"Jgneen  Arnold Costa, ed.,Genderand
Week,Jamrary1.5,48.                                    Conswner  Behavior,Proceedings, Lake City'
                                                                                       Salt
                                                       Utah: Universityof Utah Printing Service,187-
                     "Computingin America: A           198.
Markoff, John (1989),
Masculine Mystique,"New York Times, February                                      "ManagementWomen
13,1.                                                  Schwartz, FeliceN. (1989),
                                                       and the New Facts of Life," Hanard Business
McQuarrie, Edward F., and Kichiro Iwamoto              Review, Jan-Feb,65'76.
(1990),"PublicOpinion Toward Computersas a
                                                                            "Gunsand Dolls,"
Function of Exposure,"Social ScienceComputer           Shapiro,Laura (1990),
Review,8:2, Summer,221'233,                            Newsweek, May 28, 56-65.

Meyers-kvy, Joan and Durairaj Maheswaran               U.S. Bureau of the Census(1988),Robert
(1991),"ExploringDifferencesin Males' and              Kominski,Orrrent PopulationReports,SeriesP-
                                                       23, No. 155,ComputerUse in the United States:


                                                   8
                   U'S' Government
1984,Washington,D.C':
Printing Office'

U.S. Bureau of the Census(1991)'Current
-Co'rpot"t Reports,Series
Population                P-23,No' 1'71''
          Use in the United States: 1989'U'S'
                                       D'C'
Cou"tnt"nt Printing Office, Washington,

Venkatesh,  Alladi, and NicholasVitalari (1984)'
'iHouseholdsand   Technology: The Caseof Home
Computers-Some Conceptualand Theoretical
                                          H'
Issuer,"Mary Lou Roberts and Lawrence
Wortzel, eds.,Markttingto  the Changing
Household:Managementand Research
-Perspectives,
             Cambridge,MA: Ballinger Publishing
 Co., \87'203.
                   "ThisBud's for You' No' Not
Zinn,I-aura (1991),
You-'Her,"BusinessWeeft, November4, 86'90'
                                              Table 1

                                      Areas of GenderDifference
                               in PerceivedNeed for High'Tech Products
                                       and RelatedHYPotheses


Areas                                         Hwotheses

Socialization
  Cultural metaPhors                   H1.    Due to the different socialization
  Daddywill fix it                            experiences ) vis technologY,
                                                         vis
              vs.
  Consumers Producers                         maleswill be more interestedin
  Childhood toYs                                            of
                                              and accepting high-techproducts'
  Media images
  Role models                          tn.    Attitudestowardhigh'tech
                                              productswill also be influencedby age' As socialnorms
                                              move toward equality, the differencesbetween male and
                                              femaleattitudestoward technology   will decrease'

Involvement                            H3.    Females will be lessenduringly
   Enduring vs. instrumental                  involvedwith high'techproducts,regardingthem as
                                              important onlYfor sPecifictasks.
   Involvement
   Toy vs. tool


Values                                        Males and femaleswill differ
  Moral reasoning                             in the valueswhich underlie their
  Object relations                            purchase high'techProducts'
                                                        of
  Rokeachvalues

Problem SolvingSEle                    H5.     Due to greaterinertia with
   Field dependencY                            respectto habitualwaYsof
   Adaption vs. innovation                     accomplishingtasks,femaleswill
                                                                           to
                                               havegreaterinitial resistance
   Cognitiveengagement
                                               adoptionof high-techProducts.

PersonalefficacY
  Attribution of failure               H6.     Becauseof higher Perceivedrisk,
  feedback                                     femaleswill havegreaterinitial
  Confidence                                   resistance adoptionof high-tech
                                                         to
                                               products.




                                                  10
                                                Table 2

                               Effect of Computerson Relationswith Others
                                                                       and Females
                    T-Test of DifferencesBeween Mean Ratingsof Males
                                             (5 point scale)

                                       Males              Females


I often talk with other people
   about computers'                    ?,.95

I [ke talking about computers
    with mY friends.

I talk with other PeoPleabout                             1.94
    eventsin the comPuterworld'

                       of
PeopleresPectme because mY
                                                          2.79
  knowledgeof comPuters'

Computersgive me somethingto talk
  about at socialgatherings'            2.31"             2.12

Peopte seek mY advice on how to                                       .000
  solvecomPuterProblems.



                                                 Table3

                       PerceivedConnectionofComputerswithRokeach'sValuesT.
                     T-Testof Differences     MeanRatings MalesandFemales
                                        Between         of
                                               (5 Point scale)

                                                           Eemales    p
                                        Males

                                        2.86               3.02       .0L7
    Equality
                                        2.89               3.r3       .003
    Wisdom
                                        2.91,              3.18       .000
    Intellectual




                                                     11
                                             Table 4

                             Most Useful Sourceof Information

                                                                        Total

                                  78 (2e%\             t5 (33Vo\        43 (30Vo)
Word of Mouth
       magazines                  3I(32Vo)             6(L3Vo)          37 (26Vo)
Computer

    around                        18(LeEo)             14(3L%)          32 (23%)
ShoP
                                  9 (l$Va\             2(5To)           11(\Vo)
Prior knowledge
                                  7 (1c/o)             3 (7Eo)          10(1Vo)
Othermedia
                                  3 (3Vo)              5 (LtVo)         8 (6Vo)
Misc.

             Total                96                   45               141


                                             Table5

                                   for      Brandof Computer
                         Main Reason Choosing

                          Males              Females            Total

OperatingSYstem            L9(L9.4Vo)        11(?3.a%o) 30 (20'7Vo)

Software                  20 Q\.aVo)         7 (14.9%)           27 (18'67o)

Price                      8 (8.r%o)         73(27370)           2L (L45%)

Prior experience           L5(r5.3vo\        3 (6.4Vo)           18(r2'4%o)

Reputation                 r0 (10.2Vo)       3 $.aVl             13(9'0Vo)

Misc.                      r0 (10.27o)       3 (6.47o)           13(9'0Vo)

Recommended others
          bY               8 (8.2Vo)         1(2.1Vo)            9 (6'2Vo)
                                                                 '1(4'8%)
General satisfaction       3 (3.t%o\         4 (8.57o)

 External attributes -     2 (ZVo)           2 (4.2%)            4 (2.8%)

 Service                   3 (3.I%)           0 (0%)             3 (2'0vo)

     Total




                                                 t2
                                                 Table 6

                         Differencesin Mean AttitudeRatings for Males and Females

                                      Dealingwith ComPutersFeel:
                                                         I

                                         Males             Females            p
1 - 7 scale
         '                               313               4.W                 .001
Masterful Confused
                                         3.60              3.92                .002
Assertive' Intimidated
                                         3.19              3.53                .002
Calm - Agitated
                                         3.12              3.33                .04
Trust'Distrust
                                         2.6t              2.81                .035
Powerful - Powerless*
                                         2.50              2.18                .007
EasY'Difficult*
                                         2.45              2.75                .009
Comfortable- Frustrated*
                                         2.3L              2.70                .0002
Relared'Tense*
                                          2.14             2.34                .04
Pleasant- UnPleasant*



rscales
      reversed rePorting
             for




                                                     13
                                            Table 7

                  Percentages Males and FemalesUsing Computersat Home for:
                            of

                             1989
                                Census                          Census
                                                             1984

                     7o of.M       % of.F             % of.M      % of.F



                     19.7          19.3               58.8        59.2
IJarning to use

                     49.6          36.7               48.2        41.L
Video games

                     59.2          @.7                32.9        32.9
Word Processing

                     39.5          31.9               43.0        35.7
HH records
                                                      42.8        27.5
Job related

Spreadsheet          25.1           14.5

Programming          24.6           LL,7

GraPhics             22.4           13.9

Data Base             20.6          L2.5

Work                  16.1          7.9

Home business         t2.7          9.7

DesktopPubl.          8.8           8.5

Bulletin Board        7.'t          3.9

Electronic mail       6.6           3.5

Telemarketing         1.8           1.1

Other/DK              14.0          TL.7

 Home Users (N)       9,564,000     7,194,000         4,748,000    3,0@,000



                        (1988), 16,Table5 andU'S' Bureau
                              p.                        of                         (1991),
                                                                              Census
 Source:U.S.Bureau Census
                  of
 p. 16,Table5.




                                                L4
                                  Figure I

                        Overview of Gender Differences


                    Children socializedto regard technology
                         as more appropriatefor males




    Males                                             Females

More involved                                            Irss involved

More confident                                           I-ess confident

Derive greater                                           View high-tech
pleasure from                                            products as tools
toy{ike qualities                                        to accomplishtasks




Adoption may dePend                                      Adoption may dePend
on power and pleasure                                    on ability of product to
                                                         "getjob done"with
obtained from use
of product                                               minimum disruPtion or risk
                                                         of failure




                                       15
                                             Figure2

                                       Overview Findines
                                               of
                                                                       Females
                  Males
                                       1. NeedRecoenition
            Socialized fathers
                     by                                        Not socialized fathers
                                                                             bY


    Involved:Talk more about computers                 Don't talk asmuchor followdevelopments
          and follow develoPments

                with valuesof equality,
    Weaker assoc.                                                assoc. values equality'
                                                          Stronger    with       of
           wisdom,intellectual                                   wisdom,intellectual

                                     2. InformationProcessins
                   prior                        Use                               itself
                                                                    shoppingProcess
           magazines, knowledge
 Usecomputer
                                        Evaluation
                         3. ProductlBrand
                            prior experience
                  reputation,                                                   sYstem
                                                                  Price,oPerating
          Software,
Attributes:

               Masterful,      etc'                                             etc.
                                                                         powedess,
                                                                  Confused,
      Attitudes:        Powerful,
                                            4. Purchase

           More likely to Purchase                                kss likelYto Purchase
                                     5. Post.nurchaseEvaluation
                 Major user                                          Not majoruser

  Use for programming,spreadsheet,glaphics,                  Use lessfor theseaPPlications
            data base,video games

                Very satisfied                                        Very satisfied




                                                 L6

				
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