Social power of preadolescent children on influence in their mothers’ purchasing behavior Initial study in Peruvian toy stores


  • Miriam Carrillo Marketing, Universidad ESAN, Lima, Peru
  • Alicia Gonzalez Sparks Marketing, Universidad ESAN, Lima, Peru
  • Nestor U. Salcedo Information Technology and Quantitative Methods, Graduate School of Business, Universidad ESAN, Lima, Peru


Expert social power, Influence in purchasing behavior, Legitimate social power, Peruvian toy stores


Purpose. This paper aims to investigate the relationship between legitimate and expert social power types of preadolescent children on the influence perception in their mothers’ purchasing behavior in Peruvian toy stores. The literature review takes into consideration the concepts of social power and the influence on family behavior to then focus on social power within family behavior with the purpose of mainly developing four hypotheses regarding purchasing behavior.

Design/methodology/approach. The methodology followed a non-experimental transversal correlational-causal design. A pilot sample size of 67 cases was used. The sample was based on an objective population of Peruvian mothers of families that live in northern Lima and that go to purchase toys to major shopping centers with their children aged 8-11 years.

Findings. The results show that the expert social power, as well as the legitimate social power, has a strong relationship. In addition, both social powers have an impact on the influence perception in purchasing child-mother, but not on the influence perception in purchasing mother-child. Moreover, the test of moderation of the expenditure level on toy purchases did not have an effect on the context that was studied.

Originality/value. The contribution shows that important changes are happening in the consumption behavior on the aspect of children influencing mothers, and that for Latin American contexts, the level of expenditure still does not crucially affect the causality demonstrated.



Download data is not yet available.


Aldea, R.-E. and Brandabur, R.E. (2012), “Children in family purchase making a theoretical review”, Ovidius University Annals, Series Economic Sciences, Vol. 12, pp. 579-584.

Alonso, R.J. and Grande, E.I. (2013), Comportamiento del consumidor: decisiones y estrategias de marketing, 7ma. ed., Gráficas Dehon, España.

Andina (2010), “Gestión”, Junio, 17, from Gestión: (accessed 11 November 2015).

Andina (2013), “Los Andes”, April, 29, from Los Andes: (accessed 11 November 2015).

Arzu, S. (2011), “Influence of adolescents on family purchasing behavior: perceptions of adolescents and parents”, Social Behavior and Personality, pp. 747-754.

Atkin, C. (1978), “Observation of parent-child interaction in supermarket decision-making”, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 42 No. 4, pp. 41-45.

Beatty, S.E. and Talpade, S. (1994), “Adolescent influence in family decision making: a replication with extension”, Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 21 No. 2, pp. 332-341.

Cartwright, D. (1959), “A field theoretical conception of power”, Institute for Social Research, pp. 183-220.

Cartwright, D. (1965), “Influence, leadership, control”, in McNally, R. (Ed.), Handbook of Organizations, Chicago, IL, pp. 1-47.

Cartwright, D. and Zander, A. (1968), Group Dynamics: Research and Theory, 3rd ed., Harper & Row, New York, NY.

Coleman, J. (1973), The Mathematics of Collective Action, Aldine, Chicago, IL.

Corfman, K. and Lehman, D. (1987), “Models of cooperative group decision-making and relative influence: an experimental investigation of family purchase decisions”, Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 14 No. 1, pp. 1-13.

Cowan, G. and Avants, S. (1988), “Children’s influence strategies: structure, sex differences, and bilateral mother-child influence”, Child Development, Vol. 59 No. 5, pp. 1303-1313.

Cowan, G., Drinkard, J. and McGavin, L. (1984), “The effects of target, age, and gender on use of power strategies”, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 47 No. 6, pp. 1391-1398.

El Comercio, D. (2014), “Niños influyen en la compra en el 62% de los hogares limeños”, available at: (accessed 11 November 2015).

Elias, S. (2008), “Fifty years of influence in the workplace”, Journal of Management History, Vol. 14 No. 3, pp. 267-283.

Flurry, L. and Burns, A.C. (2005), “Children’s influence in purchase decisions: a social power theory approach”, Journal of Business Research, Vol. 58 No. 5, pp. 593-601.

Foxman, E., Tansuhaj, P. and Ekstrom, K. (1989a), “Adolescents’ influence in family purchase decisions: a socialization perspective”, Journal of Business Research, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 159-172.

Foxman, E., Tansuhaj, P. and Ekstrom, K. (1989b), “Family members’ perceptions of adolescents’ influence in family decision making”, Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 482-491.

French, J. (1956), “A formal theory of social power”, Psychological Review, Vol. 63 No. 3, pp. 181-194.

French, J. and Raven, B. (1959), in Cartwright, D.P. and Arbor, A. (Eds), The Bases of Social Power, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, MI.

Goodrich, K. and Mangleburg, T. (2010), “Adolescent perceptions of parent and peer influences on teen purchase: an application of social power theory”, Journal of Business Research, Vol. 63 No. 12, pp. 1328-1325.

Hair, J.F. Jr, Black, W.C., Babin, B.J. and Anderson, R.E. (2014), Multivariate Data Analysis: Pearson New International Edition, 7th ed., Pearson Education Ltd, London.

INEI (2015a), “INEI Prensa”, from INEI Prensa: (accessed 17 January 2015).

INEI (2015b), “INEI Prensa”, June 6, 2015, from INEI Prensa: (accessed 11 November 2015).

INEI (2015c), “INEI Prensa”, July 9, 2015, from INEI Prensa: (accessed 30 June 2015).

Ipsos Perú (2015), Perfiles zonales – Lima Metropolitana 2015, Ipsos Marketing, Lima.

Isler, L., Popper, E. and Ward, S. (1987), “Children’s purchase requests and parental responses: results from a diary study”, Journal of Advertisement Research, pp. 28-39.

Kim, C., Lee, H. and Hall, K. (1991), “A study of adolescents’ power, influence strategy, and influence on family purchase decisions”, Marketing Theory Applications, Vol. 2, pp. 37-45.

Lewin, K. (1951), Field Theory in Social Science, Harper, New York, NY.

McNeal, J. (1988), “Tapping the three kids’ markets”, American Demographics, pp. 37-41.

McNeal, J. (1992a), Kids as Customers: A Handbook of Marketing to Children, Lexington Books, New York, NY.

McNeal, J. (1992b), “The little shoppers”, American Demographics, pp. 48-53.

McNeal, J. (1999), The Kids Market: Myths and Realities, Paramount Market, New York, NY, p. 272.

Nicholls, A.J. and Cullen, P. (2004), “The child–parent purchase relationship: ‘pester power’, human rights and retail ethics”, Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 75-86.

Nunally, J.C. and Bernstein, I.H. (1994), Pyschometric Theory, McGraw Series in Psychology, New York, NY.

Olson, D., Cromwell, R. and Klein, D. (1975), “Beyond family power”, in Cromwell, R. and Olson, D. (Eds), Power in Families, Wiley, New York, NY, pp. 235-240.

Podsakoff, P. and Schriesheim, C. (1985), “Field studies of French and Raven’s bases of power: critique reanalysis, and suggestions for future research”, Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 97 No. 3, pp. 387-411.

Raven, B. (1993), “The bases of power: origins and recent developments”, Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 49 No. 4, pp. 227-251, doi: 10.1111/j.1540-4560.1993.tb01191.x.

Roedder, J. (1999), “Consumer socialization of children: a retrospective look at twenty-five years of research”, Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 26 No. 3, pp. 183-213.

Sellers, P. (1989), “The ABC’s of marketing to kids”, Fortune, Vol. 119 No. 10, pp. 114-118.

Sener, A. (2011), “Influences of adolescents on family purchase behaviour: perceptions of adolescents and parents”, Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, Vol. 39 No. 6, pp. 747-754.

Smith, T.E. (1970), “Foundations of parental influence upon adolescents: an application of social power theory”, American Sociological Review, Vol. 35 No. 5, pp. 860-873.

Sprey, J. (1975), “Family power and process: toward a conceptual integration”, in Cromwell, R.E. and Olson, D.H. (Eds), Power in Families, pp. 61-79.

Swasy, J.L. (1979), “Measuring the bases of social power”, Advances in Consumer Research, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 340-346.

Turčínková, J., Brychtová, J. and Urbánek, J. (2012), “Preferences of men and women in the Czech Republic when shopping for food”, Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Et Silviculturae Mendelianae Brunensis, Vol. 60 No. 7, pp. 425-432.

Turner, J., Kelly, J. and McKenna, K. (2006), “Food for thought: parents’ perspectives of child influence”, British Food Journal, Vol. 108 No. 3, pp. 181-191.

Ward, S. (1972), “Children’s reactions to commercials”, Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 12, pp. 37-45.

Weber, M. (1962), Basic Concepts in Sociology, Philosophical Library, New York, NY.

Wells, W.D. (1965), “Communicating with children”, Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 5 No. 2, pp. 2-14.

Williams, L. and Burns, A. (2000), “Exploring the dimesionality of children’s direct influence attemps”, Advertisement Consumer Research, pp. 64-71.

Wimalasiri, J. (2000), “A comparison of children’s purchase influence and parental response in Fiji and United States”, Journal of International Consumer Marketing, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 55-73.




How to Cite

Carrillo, M. ., Sparks, A. G. ., & Salcedo, N. U. . (2018). Social power of preadolescent children on influence in their mothers’ purchasing behavior Initial study in Peruvian toy stores. Journal of Economics, Finance and Administrative Science, 23(45), 150–166. Retrieved from