Formation of JACS
Prospectus for the establishment of the Japan Association for Consumer Studies
The recent extension of and quantitative increase in research on consumer behavior have been spectacular, and an enormous number of research papers has been published in scholarly journals in various fields every year. This trend of an increase in the amount of such consumer research is expected to be even stronger in the future due to requests from companies that require a thorough understanding of a given market, as well as requests from government, which is under pressure to solve consumer issues that have become more complex and serious due to the sophistication of consumption. It is also expected that broader and greater amounts of research will be conducted as more researchers are mobilized. Although the fact that a quantitative increase in research is not necessarily associated with qualitative fulfillment applies not only to the theory of consumer behavior but also to other research areas, the 1980s, during which quantitative increases in consumer behavior research were encouraged, was also a period during which differentiation in research was encouraged. As a result, despite researchers facing the same academic challenges of understanding consumer behavior, communication between them was decidedly poor, depending on the field within which each worked, the research context, and differences in approach. There were even cases in which researchers did not refer to one another’s research results, despite investigating similar issues as topics of their research. Needless to say, the research field of consumer behavior is an area that requires a scientific approach, irrespective of the perspective a given researcher might take. In other words, in order to understand the behavior of consumers as an aspect of human behavior, it is essential to adopt a multi-perspective approach, not only by incorporating concepts and methodology of existing academic fields, such as economics, psychology, sociology, and statistics, but also by working actively with new fields of study, such as behavioral science, information science, management science, and recent cognitive science, which have been developed within their own boundaries. In addition, as the accumulation of research findings on consumer behavior has been encouraged substantially in each field, it is now time to integrate and systemize knowledge beyond the level of mere incorporation of concepts and methodology from related fields. To this end, in the United States, an academic society for consumer behavior research, named the “Association for Consumer Research (ACR),” was established as early as 1969 by organizing a group of researchers in various fields, and members have since then been actively involved in information exchange and interaction, mainly at their annual meetings. In addition, a specialized journal for interdisciplinary consumer behavior research, the “Journal of Consumer Research (JCR),” was published as of 1974, as it has been for almost 20 years since. The JCR is a formal interdisciplinary journal supported by a total of 11 academic societies, including the American Marketing Association (AMA), the American Economic Association (AEA), and the American Psychological Association (APA), as well as the above-mentioned ACR, and has played a major role in the development of consumer behavior research in the United States.
When we consider the current state of consumer behavior research in our country, setting aside the question of the level of research and the absolute number of researchers in each field, we musts admit that interaction and information exchange among researchers across different fields remains decidedly inadequate. Specifically, despite sharing the same academic challenges of understanding consumer behavior, researchers of different academic societies have enjoyed little interaction and information exchange, except at the level of personal contacts, and they have a foundation that nurtures collaborative research and academic research across different fields. Although information exchange among researchers of the same generation, who may have different points of view, and interaction with senior researchers and professionals is exceedingly important, especially for young researchers, who are to forge the future of research, in order to enrich their perspectives and to establish their own research methods, it has remained difficult for them to find suitable occasions for such interaction. In order to break out of this closed state of consumer behavior research in our country, and to create occasions for strengthening collaboration across related academic fields and encourage interaction and information exchange among researchers, the first Conference on Consumer Behavior Research was held three years ago with the help of a number of researchers. Following this, the number of participants increased rapidly with each meeting, and the need for occasions for information exchange was reconfirmed. Furthermore, there was a growing demand among participants for the establishment of an academic society as an organization that continues to host regular conferences, which led us to consider the possibility of realizing such an organization with the help of the conference organizers. In the face of the current situation, and against the background sketched above, we have established an academic research organization of researchers in fields sharing an interest in the understanding of consumer behavior, namely the “Japan Association for Consumer Studies,” by developmentally dissolving the Conference on Consumer Behavior Research. We expect that the establishment of this association will promote the strengthening of collaboration between related academic fields and interaction and information exchange among researchers, and that it will contribute significantly to the development of research and education on consumer behavior in our country.
November 21, 1992
All who are involved in the establishment