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Investigating Motivational Gender Differences in Online Consumer Decision Making (RDF20/BL/EIS/THOMSON)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 24, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Understanding consumer decision- making is crucial to the success of e-commerce, and how products are presented online plays an essential role in e-retailers’ marketing strategies. It is particularly important to understand whether market segments differ in their perception of online product presentations. Despite gender being one of the most common market segmentation variables, the effects of gender in e-commerce settings remain inadequately understood. While considerable research attention has focussed on new human-computer interface technologies designed to enhance product presentation, research focusing on gender differences in response to such technologies is scarce.

In traditional retail contexts, men and women tend to approach shopping with different motives. Men’s motives for shopping appear to be more functional, whereas women’s shopping motives tend to be hedonic (Lin et al, 2019; Meyers-Levy & Maheswaran, 1991). This suggests that to engage men, it is likely to be beneficial to get to the point quickly, focus on the products and why they should be purchased, and use statements that demonstrate value. Conversely, for women, research suggests that they would like to know more about the retailer, the brand and the lifestyle it creates, and how the product is going to make them feel. Thus, if men and women think differently about shopping, one would expect them to tackle online shopping in different ways.

Accordingly, the proposed PhD aims to provide an in-depth investigation of such motivational gender differences and their moderators in buying behaviour and, in turn, test how these findings can best be incorporated into e-retailers’ marketing strategies.

Eligibility and How to Apply

Please note eligibility requirement:

- Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
- Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
- Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see: https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/research/postgraduate-research-degrees/how-to-apply/

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF20/…) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: Friday 24 January 2020.

Start Date: 1 October 2020.

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Funding Notes

The studentship is available to Students Worldwide where a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2019/20, this is £15,009 pa) and full fees.


Lin, X, Featherman, S, Brooks, S.L., & Hajli, N. (2019): Exploring Gender Differences in Online Consumer Purchase Decision Making: An Online Product Presentation Perspective. Information Systems Frontiers https://doi.org/10.1007/s10796-018-9831-1.

Meyers-Levy J, Maheswaran D. (1991). Exploring differences in males' and females' processing strategies. J Consum Res, 18(1):63–70.

Selection of publications by supervisor focussing on human judgment and decision making behaviour:

1. Thomson, ME, Pollock , AC, Onkal, D. and Gonul MS (2019). Combining forecasts: Performance and coherence, International Journal of Forecasting, 35(2)474-484. Impact factor 2.724.

2. Onkal, D., Goodwin, P., Gonul, S., & Thomson, M.E. (2017). The influence of presumed and experienced advisor credibility on judgmental forecasts. International Journal of Forecasting, 31(1), 280-297. Impact factor 2.724.

3. Belton I, Thomson, M.E. & Dhami (2014). Lawyer and Non-Lawyer Susceptibility to Framing Effects in Out-of Court Civil Litigation Settlement. Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, 11(3) September, 578-600. Impact Factor 1.491.

4. Murray, J., Cooke, D. J., & Charles, K. E. & Thomson, M.E. (2014). Investigating the Influence of Causal Attributions on Both the Worksheet and Checklist Versions of the HCR-20. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health 13 (1), 1-15. Impact Factor: 1.25.

5. Thomson, M.E, Pollock, A.C., Gonul, M. S., & Onkal, D (2013). “Effects of trend strength and direction on performance and consistency in judgmental exchange rate forecasting.” International Journal of Forecasting, 29, 337-353.

6. Murray, J., Thomson, M.E, Cooke, D. J., & Charles, K. E. (2013). “Investigating the relationship between justice-vengeance motivations and punitive sentencing recommendations.” Legal and Criminological Psychology, 18(1), 1-15.

7. Hui-Yi Lo, Harvey, N. & Thomson, M.E (2012). “Information search and product knowledge: Differences between shopaholics and general shoppers in Britain and Taiwan.” Journal of Customer Behavior, 11(4), 349-371.

8. Dhami, M. & Thomson, M.E (2012). “On the relevance of cognitive continuum theory for understanding management judgment and decision making”. European Management Journal, 30(4), 316-326.

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