"Tell her she's wrong" Triangulation as a spousal influence strategy

Ya'arit Bokek-Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose - The objective of this paper is to focus on a spousal influence strategy that has not been investigated previously by consumer researchers: triangulation. Triangulation is the process by which a third-party is enlisted to intervene and convince the other spouse; this person can be a friend, a relative, or one or more of the couple's children. Design/methodology/approach - A survey questionnaire was completed by 192 couples who were asked to evaluate their own and their mates' influence strategies in four different purchase decisions. Findings - It was found that, in general, men tend to triangulate more frequently than women. Men triangulate most frequently during a vacation decision. Less frequently, triangulation was found regarding a new residence place, followed by Saloon furnishing and TV set. Women tend to triangulate most frequently in a new residence place, followed by a vacation. Regarding all of the third persons which comprised this strategy, with the exception of "ask our child/children", men reported a significantly greater tendency to ask a third person to influence. Conversely, women reported a significantly greater tendency to ask the child/children to influence their husbands. The longer the marital relationship, the less the use of triangulation strategy among men. Practical implications - Advertising messages for products that are purchased by a joint decision can encourage or discourage triangulation. If there is a reason to expect that triangulated persons would have a positive attitude toward the product, the message would be more effective if it encourages triangulation, and vice versa. Originality/value - Findings documented in the paper shed light on the triangulation strategy, a hitherto unexplored aspect in consumer behavior literature. Consumer researchers should take into account the influence of close friends and relatives that might play a role in couple purchase decision processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-229
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Consumer Marketing
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Consumer behaviour
  • Decision making
  • Family
  • Influence
  • Israel
  • Systems theory


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