Gender as a moderator of reciprocal consumer behavior

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to show how purchasing behavior is approached as a customer-perceived need to reciprocate for services received. The study seeks to examine involvement, knowledge, and identity as predictors of reciprocal consumer behavior. Two components of reciprocity - gratitude and obligation - are expected to mediate the relationships. The effect is expected to be different for men and women. Design/methodology/approach: Wine was chosen as a product category to test the relationships in the models. Data collection was conducted via distribution of surveys to tasting room visitors at six wineries. The data were analyzed using structural equation modeling. Findings: The impact of knowledge, identity, and involvement were important findings from the research. The differences between males and females with regard to their feelings of gratitude and obligation and the impact on purchasing are pronounced. Obligation to make a purchase had a stronger effect on the purchasing behavior of women. In contrast, gratitude (feeling appreciation and thankfulness to personnel) was a stronger reason for men to make a purchase. Practical implications: Knowledge about different ways in which men and women reciprocate could be useful for researchers and practitioners. Free samples provided to potential buyers, tours of industrial factories where products are also sold, and a variety of service situations are all possible contexts where gratitude and obligation may occur. Purchases are likely to be the result at least in part because of these feelings. Originality/value: The major contribution of this research is to highlight the role of gender in reciprocity research and to demonstrate the application of this effect in consumer behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-213
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Consumer Marketing
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2009


  • Consumer behaviour
  • Gender
  • Knowledge management


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