Document Type

Theses, Masters


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence

Publication Details

Successfully submitted for the award of Master of Philosophy to the Technological University Dublin in February, 2009.


This is an interpretive inquiry into the ‘parent-child purchase relationship’. This study aims to understand the parent-child purchase relationship from the consumer perspective, rather than the much reported ‘vested interest’ perspective, in order to enhance and inform an understanding of the phenomenon. Commencing with an overview of current literature, specifically that of the pester power phenomenon, to contextualise the theoretical framework, the extant construct of pester power is examined along with detailed arguments from vested interest parties supported by international studies. The child consumer is examined from a cognitive and socialisation perspective, but more pertinently in relation to their influencers; familial and non-familial. Emphasis is placed on familial influences, to capture contemporary family interactions in relation to purchases, communication and decision-making. This study focuses on a consumer perspective thus mothers, fathers and children are considered key respondents concerning the parent-child purchase relationship. In order to capture the contemporary consumer experience the use of an interpretivist approach in conjunction with phenomenology as a paradigm and methodology is employed. Philosophical principles of this approach are investigated in relation to the broader interpretive paradigm and its context. The research design incorporates the use of in-depth phenomenological interviews for parental respondents, while focus groups are employed for child respondents thus placing respondents at the centre of the inquiry. Findings are presented through emergent themes, the overall meta theme and supporting key themes, identified through the interpretive process. Unlike previous research, these thematic findings position contemporary parent-child purchase relationships in a positive light where an understanding of ‘the game’ permeates this natural familial interaction. Finally, conclusions and recommendations for future research are presented.


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