The Social Deconstruction of a Paradox: Using Social Theory to Succeed within a Niche Market
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This exploration into the motivations of consumers through the context of social theory was inspired by Dr. Stauffer's interest in the seemingly restrictive appeal of a healthy, vegetarian fast food restaurant. Without his initial curiosity and continuous guidance, including the suggestion of the title, I would not have been able to realize the importance and potential benefits of the project, nor would I have personally gained as much from the experience of its formation. I had been working with Ope's for a number of months before the project began and found myself repeatedly returning to my first night of orientation, when Dr. Oppenlander explained that he was purposely not advertising as a vegetarian restaurant and was trying to avoid such a label. His reasons may have been rationalized from a business perspective, but by taking it a step farther, I found a significant correlation between the advantages and disadvantages of niche marketing and the concept of social identity explored by the theories of social constructionism and social cognition. Although social cognition is a psychological theory, it has been used in conjunction with sociology before. By establishing a position of enriching a business perspective through the introduction of social theory, I was able to highlight parallels among the fields. Though the connections seemed obvious once I began, I found little work published with a similar purpose.
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