Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Marketing (Business Administration)


The purpose of this study was to investigate interpersonal influence as an explanatory variable in husband-wife decision making. Self-report and observational measures of influence were compared, and the decision interaction process was also examined to detect characteristic patterns of influence. Sixty married couples were interviewed in their homes, and the entire interview was tape recorded. Couples were screened regarding purchases that they had recently made or were considering, for the purpose of identifying two product decisions that they considered (1) important, (2) salient, and (3) a source of disagreement. Couples engaged in role-played decision making with respect to the two products, and then completed a previously developed self-report instrument that assessed types of influence they had used in the two product decisions identified. Finally, couples completed questionnaires to supply demographic, psychological, and sociological information. The taped decision making interactions were coded by judges, and amounts and types of observed influence were compared with couples' self-reported influence using multitrait-multimethod (MTMM) analysis. Results of the MTMM analysis were essentially inconclusive. In addition, neither the self-report nor the observationally measured influence variables were significant predictors of decision dominance. Sequential analysis of the interaction data revealed some significant influence sequences, though the value of this analysis was limited by the infrequency with which some types of influence occurred. Classification of individuals based on their observational influence profiles bore some similarity to previous classification efforts using self-reported influence profiles. The study was limited by the difficulty of dealing with observational data, but it nevertheless demonstrated that (1) there is a difference between couples' self-reported and their observed decision making interaction; (2) couples' verbal decision making interaction is structured; and (3) different interaction "styles" can be discerned within the general interaction structure.