Doctorate - Antecedents and consequent of participants' behavior of Harley-Davidson brand communities
Advisor: Prof. Dr. José Afonso Mazzon
Comission: Prof. Dr. Edson Crescitelli, Profª Drª Giuliana Isabella, Prof. Dr. Geraldo Luciano Toledo e Prof. Dr. Edman Altheman
Class: 217, FEA-5
We find in Brazil a precise ethnographic description of the experiential meaning of owning a Harley-Davidson motorcycle in which consumers tend to emulate and appreciate the rebellious image when relating to the motorcycle and the brand.
Harley-Davidson brand communities amplify this feeling through sociability among their members, who share similar values, attitudes, and behaviors inherent in the meaning of the brand, and in many cases, this form of social organization and behavior are presented as radically different or opposites to the social organization and behaviors of the daily life of these same individuals.
Our work proposes a theoretical framework that confirms the hierarchy of the Harley-Davidson brand constructs from the "Enthusiast" by the Harley-Davidson brand, soon after to the construct "Proud" to finally conclude with the "Evangelical" construct (mediated through the construct "Tribal Pleasure") with the negative moderation of the "Educational Level" of the respondents.
For this, the structural equation modeling (SEM) technique was used to test and validate the measurement and structural models. We focused specifically on partial least squares regressions (PLS) owing to the fact that the nature of the study can be classified as more exploratory and less confirmatory.
We find clear evidence corroborating with the thesis that there are significant amounts of individuals owning Harley-Davidson motorcycles with acute tendencies to be evangelical consumers of the brand, despite significant reservations about after-sales service, quality and modernity of the product, performance and the price of parts. However, all these factors are neglected when assessing the relationship with the brand, loyalty and especially when we realize that the indices of the behavioral attributes of the brand evaluated by individuals are always significantly higher when compared to the same behavioral indices in relation to themselves.
In other words, the study suggests that owning a Harley-Davidson motorcycle for many Brazilians is a kind of "rite of passage" for a world where your opinion and assertion may be valid by simply purchasing the brand.
*Abstract provided by the author