Skip to main content

The 'Legitimate' Crowd

What legitimises an act for an individual is if its part of social behaviour. For example, a child who finds it normal to beat another may have either experienced or witnessed violence in the family. And such violence may have been used so often that it may seem as if its use is legitimate. Many of India's institutional problems arise from practices having survived generations only because there's crowd (read social) legitimacy backing up.

Social Behaviour by default means its general behaviour. Meaning the majority engage in it. The interesting point to note in such settings is what happens to fence-sitters who aren't quite sure of how they must behave. What the undecideds generally tend to do is follow majority (general) behaviour. A 'general' public engaging in certain behaviour paves way, and provides direction to those who are trying to make up their mind. In fact it will indeed be rare occurrence if the undecideds go against what is general behaviour. Remember, in Rome its exhorted 'we do as the Romans do'.

Take the Anna Hazare movement for example. What's dangerous about this movement is its effect on fence-sitting citizenry. It almost seems as if most people have come to believe the fasting route to legislation is perfectly legitimate. The fact it isn't is lost, drowned by a 'legitimate' crowd. Now consumption behaviour too runs on the same lines. General consumption behaviour has a legitimacy to it. If most sport sneakers, maybe I must too. If its hookah along with coffee that's in vogue, I probably should be doing the combination. Its the rare consumer who decides to the contrary.

Crowds somehow seem legitimate. Its a pity they can ruin us. Its again a pity they can decide for us our ways of consumption.


Popular posts from this blog

Situational Involvement of Consumers

There are two types of involvement that consumers have with products and services, Situational and Enduring. Situational involvement as the term suggests, occurs only in specificsituations whereas Enduring involvement is continuous and is more permanent in nature.

Decisions to buy umbrellas in India are driven by the onset of Indian monsoon. Monsoon rains arrived in India over the South Andaman Sea on May 10 and over the Kerala coast on May 28, three days ahead of schedule. But then, after a few days of rain, South India is witnessing a spate of dry weather. Temperatures are soaring in the north of India. The Umbrella companies in the state of Kerala are wishing for the skies to open up. So is the farming community and manufacturers of rural consumer products whose product sales depend totally on the farming community. The Met. department has deemed this dry spell as 'not unusual'.

India's monsoon rains have been static over the southern coast since last Tuesday because of a…

Prior Hypothesis Bias

Prior Hypothesis bias refers to the fact that decision makers who have strong prior beliefs about the relationship between two variables tend to make decisions on the basis of those beliefs, even when presented with the evidence that their beliefs are wrong. Moreover, they tend to use and seek information that is consistent with their prior beliefs, while ignoring information that contradicts these beliefs.

From a strategic perspective, a CEO who has a strong prior belief that a certain strategy makes sense might continue to pursue that strategy, despite evidence that it is inappropriate or failing.

Ref : Strategic Management : An Integrated Approach, 6e, Charles W L Hill, Gareth R Jones

Consumer Spending

Carpe Diem Blog: From Visual Economics, a graphical representation appears above (click to enlarge) of Consumer Expenditures in 2007, using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Note that total spending on food ($6,133), clothing ($1,881) and housing ($16,920) represented 50% of consumer expenditures and 30% of income before taxes in 2007. In 1997 by comparison, 51.1% of consumer expenditures were spent on food, clothing and housing, and 44.6% of income before taxes was spent on food, clothing and housing (data here).