Topic: Technological Obsolescence and Customer Replacing Trends: A Case Study of Apple
Pages: 30, Double spaced (8250 words) Sources: 55 Order type: Dissertation Subject: Management Style: Harvard Language: English (U.K.) Order Description Prеferred language style: English (U.K.) Below is the dissertation structure 1. Introduction Please include HERE your 500 words response to the above guidelines. 2. Literature review Please include HERE your 750 words response to the above guidelines. 3. Research process 4. References
This section should introduce the intended research problem and how you aim to address it including a meaningful research question/hypothesis. Your research question/hypothesis should be broken down into objectives that will allow you to identify the key areas that the dissertation will cover. The section should also briefly describe the purpose of this research for a wider audience. The section should conclude with brief account of your own motivation why you wish to undertake this research.
Technological Obsolescence and Customer Replacing Trends: A Case Study of Apple
Over the last few decades, much literature has been developed on the topic of obsolescence, with much focus on the use of planned obsolescence by manufacturers to maintain sales and profits. According to multiple scholars, who note that obsolescence is the cultural and economic foundation of capitalism and market driven economic policies. Indeed, as Maycroft (2009) noted, the logic of capitalism is to make obsolete. Almost a century ago, Webbs (1923, p. 71-72) argued that from the “interest of the glazier in hailstones” to “wayside garage in accidents,” there are more than sufficient examples to describe the fact that capitalism is unable to create interest in production, without an accompanying interest in decay and destruction (as cited in Maycroft, 2009, p. 3). The commodifying dynamics of capitalism and modernization generates obsolescence of culture technology traditions, wild genetic diversity and traditions, and so on (Aladeojebi, 2013). Important though to the current research, is obsolescence within the consumer industries.
Obsolescence in relation to consumer goods falls into five categories, planned obsolescence, functional obsolescence, technical (technological obsolescence), style obsolescence and postponement obsolescence. Technical or technological obsolescence, the most common form of obsolescence, is the primary focus of this proposal. It is mostly driven by innovation and progression of technology (Grewal, Mehta, & Kardes, 2004). When a manufacturer launches a product, they are more likely developing a newer or more advanced product that will replace the current product in the market. The most common practice, especially in the electronics market is to launch a product every year that replaces the earlier released product. Launching of new model of iPhones each year is one of the most widely known and accepted forms of technological obsolescence. The main issue that this research proposal addresses is that what Apple offers as upgrades may mismatch the actual reasons of consumers replacing trend.
Therefore, the proposed study question is to examine what are the discrepancies between Apple’s offered features and reasons of customer replacements that cause the issue of managing the technological obsolescence of its iPhones manifested by replacements purchases and what Apple should considere to manage the issue? This will how Apple launches its new products and what are the intervals and how does it compare to the replacement purchases patterns. Furthermore, to guide the proposed study, the research will address the following research questions:
1. What are the main consumers’ drives of replacing trend in relation to iPhone?
2. What are the main drivers of technological obsolescence from organizational management point in relation to iPhone?
3. What are the main patterns that Apple base their changes of new models of iPhone compared to consumers’ reasons of replacing trend?
The proposed study is motivated by the need to advance the understanding the issue of technological obsolescence in the consumer goods market. Moreover, most of the current research focuses on planned obsolescence rather than other forms of obsolescence.
This section should align with the research question/hypothesis and the identified objectives. The information contained in the review of the literature should illuminate the research question/hypothesis and highlight the theoretical background to your research.
Technological obsolescence remains an understudied topic. Indeed, most of the existing research on obsolescence mainly concentrates on planned obsolescence, a key feature of current manufacturers’ attitude. Most of the existing studies tend to focus on how manufacturers create products with a short life to influence buying behavior among consumers. However, there is an emerging literature on technological obsolescence that focus on consumer decision-making mechanisms or processes. One of the most notable contributions to the analysis of obsolescence and consumer making decisions is Guiltinan (2009), in his review on ethics and obsolescence. In his paper, he argues that technological obsolescence is mostly driven by consumer behavior and technological advancement, as well as, rapid improvement of consumer goods. Guiltinan (2009) argues that the successes and consequences of such obsolescence are solely the product of consumer behavior.
According to Guiltinan (2009), consumers decide whether and when they will replace their consumer devices for newer products. Indeed, consumers have the choice to decide whether they will replace their existing durables for newer versions. However, it is not well understood why consumers prefer replacing their existing products with newer products, despite their existing products being more valuable. While supporting this view, Grewal et al (2004) likened technological obsolescence and related replacement decisions with fashion replacement decisions (Annamma, Sherry, Venkatesh, Wang, & Chan, 2012). Grewal and colleagues, in their analysis, found that technological advancement creates products that improve performance but characterized by unforced decisions. Consumers with products that are easily upgradable and decision to replace are voluntary are more excited to replace their products.
In the study, Grewal and colleagues (2004) found that there are multiple functions served by various goods. Some of the functions include value-expressive, social, approval and utilitarian functions among others. These findings are particular interesting as they serve to indicate that technical improvement of products is not the key reason why consumers are likely to replace their existing products. Thus, it is difficult to ascertain the impact of technological improvement on replacement behavior Vis a Vis other factors such as social pressure. If the concept includes industrial aesthetics that come with new designs and improvements, then there is a high likely hood that it is a major factor in driving purchases of products that are expressive, as well as, goods whose replacement is driven by the yearning for social approval (Boone, Lemon, & Staelin, 2001).
Interestingly, there is evidence that rate of technological obsolescence affect how customers value to existing products and emerging upgrades. Rapid product improvement is likely to decrease the impatience levels among consumers as illustrated by the work of Boone et al (2001), Guiltinan (2009) and Winer (1997). According to the scholars, rapid improvement is associated with an increase in consumer discount rate, so that consumers prefer buying new products rather than delaying their purchase decisions to exploit cost saving associated with delayed purchasing. Boone et al (2001) found that even when the improvements are not evident, consumers may interpret the improvements as cues for intergenerational improvement. Therefore, constant improvement will create the perception among consumers that their existing products are outdate, even when their products can still perform. Thus, rapid improvements will motivate faster replacement regardless of whether there is any improvement in the new product.
A recent research by Echegaray (2015) supports this view that consumers are driven by other factors rather than improvements and durability. Undeniably, reviews by Guiltinan (2009) and the study by Echegaray show that durability, technological improvement is the least of consumers’ concerns. Existing economic theories generally postulate that higher quality products are associated with higher prices which signal to consumers that the products are of high quality. A study by Cooper (2004) found that consumers of expensive products rarely consider the prices of the goods they purchase. In particular, quality or durability of a product trailed other characteristics such as brand name and immediate performance of a product. These findings are collaborated by Echegaray’s (2015) survey of the Brazilian middle class, which found that the Brazilian society is more interested in disposable goods or goods with short life span rather than those that can be reused.
These studies indicate that consumer behavior and technological improvement are the most important drivers of technological obsolescence. Even when an upgrade is not superior over its predecessor in terms of durability or functionability, consumer will still replace their products. The two factors have important implications to the current study. First, they suggest management of the issue must consider consumer behavior rather than focusing on technological obsolescence attributed to the product development at Apple Inc. Secondly, it shows that any solution must focus on educating the masses on the issues of sustainability. Today, more than ever, as the current review suggests, obsolescence is not the sole result of improvement in technology, but the result of consumer driven initiated shortened lifespan, as a result of social pressure include the need to be recognized or social approval (Luchs, et al., 2011; Annamma, Sherry, Venkatesh, Wang, & Chan, 2012; Glaubitz, 2011).
This section should identify the research approach you are going to take and methods that will be most useful to respond to the research question/hypothesis. It needs to be clearly apparent as to how the methods help collect information in response to the research question/hypothesis and what are the planned sources of your data. The section should also include a work plan and a timetable.
The proposed study will employ a critical analytical review of technological obsolescence in relation to Apple’s iPhone. Although most studies in management involve collection and analysis of primary data, the current study will collect and analyse both primary and secondary data. The key reason is that data on obsolescence, as well as, consumer purchase behavior of iPhones is well known and recorded. The growing literature on obsolescence can benefit more from consolidation and analysis of existing knowledge, as supported by Glass (1976, p. 4) who argues that when the literature on a given topic grows, research synthesis “deserves higher priority” than adding new primary empirical studies. In addition to this key reason, there are other several reasons why secondary research will be also used. First, secondary research is less expensive as compared to primary research. A given time of 10 weeks will yield more information when secondary research is conducted as compared to primary research. Secondly, the approach requires less time to collect and analyze data, as compared to primary research, which involves collection of data from participants. Lastly, and importantly, secondary research allows for triangulation of data from multiple studies or research findings, which increases the reliability and validity of the study. Therefore, the research paper will use a mix of primary and secondary data. Where primary will be collected using online surveys in a confidential and anonymous approach in order to protect participants’ confidentiality. The proposed study will involve analysis of both qualitative and quantitative data.
The focus of the proposed study will be on iPhone, a mobile device developed by Apple Corporation. Since its inception in 2007, Apple has released ten generations of iPhone. The first iPhone was launched on the 29th of June 2007. Apple has released consecutive models each year since its inception, indicating a high degree of improvement. Yearly release of iPhone models makes it a suitable case study for analysing technological obsolescence, as release of each model is associated with replacement behaviours among its employees (Apple Corporation, 2017). Moreover, more than one billion iPhones have been sold to date, with most purchases being made by repeat customers, or customers upgrading their devices. Therefore, iPhone is a good case study on how improvement in design can promote obsolescence, as well as, a good case when examining trends in consumerism of electronic products.
The proposed study will collect and analyse both primary and secondary qualitative and quantitative data. Qualitative data will be essential in developing knowledge on various factors that promote replacement behaviour among the consumers of the product. On the other hand, quantitative data will support qualitative data by illustrating replacement trends among consumers of iPhones, including buying behaviour. To ensure that the most relevant data is collected, the principal research will review multiple sources that include primary research and analysis of data of old features that are used to entice the customers, which relate to improvements of the previous versions. Thus, it will demonstrate the trends over the years around planning for features becoming obsolete to prompt new purchases and keep customers loyal. Primary research will be derived by providing a selection of interviews of at least 25 repeat iPhone users to understand the reasons for getting replacements. Secondary data will be derived from analysis of technical reports, scholarly journals, reference books, as well as, other forms of secondary data, including grey literature to reduce chances of publication bias affecting the proposed review.
After selection of sources of information, quality evaluation will be conducted to determine the utility and reliability of the sources. The sources that will pass the evaluation process will be included in the study. Data will be extracted from the sources and analysed using thematic analysis method. Thematic analysis involves identifying themes in the selected sources with the aim of answering the research questions.
In the final section, you should list all the references you have included in the previous three sections. Please make sure they are properly formatted using Harvard referencing style.
Aladeojebi, T. (2013). Planned obsolescence. International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research , 4 (6), 1504.
Annamma, J., Sherry, J., Venkatesh, A., Wang, J., & Chan, R. (2012). Fast Fashion, Sustainability and Ethical Appeal of Luxury Brands. Fashion Theory , 16 (3), 273-269.
Apple Corporation. (2017). Apple celebrates one billion iPhones. Retrieved March 23rd, 2017, from http://www.apple.com/newsroom/2016/07/apple-celebrates-one-billion-iphones.html
Barrecca, S. (1998). Technology Life Cycles and Technological Obsolescence. BRCI INc .
Boone, D., Lemon, K., & Staelin, R. (2001). ‘The Impact of Firm Introductory Strategies on Consumers’ Perception of Future Product Introductions and Purchase Decisions. Journal of Product Innovation Management , 18 (1), 96-109.
Echegaray, F. (2015). Consumers’ Reactions to Product Obsolescence in Emerging Markets: The Case of Brazil. Journal of Cleaner Production , xxx (1), 1-13.
Glass, G. (1976). Primary, Secondary and Meta-Analysis of Research. Educational Researcher , 5 (10), 3-8.
Glaubitz, A. (2011). Modern Consumerism and the Waste Problem.
Grewal, R., Mehta, R., & Kardes, F. (2004). The Timing of Repeat Purchase of Consumer Durable Goods: The Role of Functional Baes of Consumer Attitudes. Journal of Marketing Research , 41, 101-115.
Guiltinan, J. (2009). Creative Destruction and Destructive Creations: Envirometnal Ethics and Planned Obsolescence. Journal of Business Ethics , 89 (1), 19-28.
Luchs, M., Naylor, W., Rose, R., Catline, J., Gau, R., Kapitan, S., et al. (2011). Toward a Sustainable Marketplace: Expanding Options and Benefits for Consumers. Journal of Research for Consumers (19), 1-12.
Maycroft, N. (2009). Consumption, Planned Obsolescence and Waste.
Winer, R. (1997). Discounting and its impact on Durables Buying Decisions. Marketing Science , 8, 109-118.
Pages: 30, Double spaced (8250 words)
Order type: Dissertation
Language: English (U.K.)
Prеferred language style: English (U.K.)
Below is the dissertation structure
Please include HERE your 500 words response to the above guidelines.
2. Literature review
Please include HERE your 750 words response to the above guidelines.
3. Research process