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POLISH UPPER CLASS CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR

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POLISH UPPER CLASS CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR
POLISH UPPER CLASS CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR
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This monograph constitutes an attempt to describe the representatives of the Polish upper class from the perspective of consumer analyses. In contemporary considerations concerning Polish society, the topic of the upper class is mainly touched upon in sociologic discussions. Therefore, this study presents an attempt at an economic focus.

Stratification changes in Polish society over the last two decades resulted from many factors which were based on economic transformation and complex social aspects. The phenomena of modernization - which enabled the development of a capitalist economy - intermingled with pathological phenomena (like the enfranchisement of the nomenclature and the often unpleasant stories behind the formation of large Polish fortunes). The process of the development of the entrepreneurs' class, proprietors - capitalists, described as the "returning class" took place.

The topic of this book is a result of personal observations and academic discussions. An economist, as an observer of economic life, both on the micro- and macroeconomic level, recognizes a number of linkages between social stratification changes and their consequences on the marketplace. One may also perceive that the middle class does not constitute a "monolith" anymore. It changes and stratifies, something which is reflected, for instance, in the development of diverse markets for consumer goods and services in Poland: a mass market and the luxury and high-status market.

The description of the uppermost level among Polish social classes was taken as a conceptual and investigatory challenge in this study. This level is the emergence of the Polish upper class. Obviously the first concern is the adoption of the definition that is most suitable for the Polish reality. The very term "upper class" typically arouses positive connotations and is associated with honours, elitism, impeccable manners and a certain style of behaviour.

The first serious problem which one encounters is the lack of continuity in the historical evolution of the traditional (pre-war) Polish upper class. Assuming that 1939 constitutes the border of certain era, after that time the upper class hardly existed for sixty years in Poland.

Nowadays, on the other hand, new fortunes, behaviours and habits have arisen due to changes in social and economic life. This allows us to presume that there is a new group appearing in Poland, behaviours of which are characteristic for the traditional upper class. Although it is still difficult to speak about the existence of Polish "dynasties" and families with the well-established position of traditional upper class, there is, undoubtedly, however, an increasingly hermetic group of people emerging, characterised not only by significant wealth, but for the most part by behaviour styles and represented values, which distinguish them from remaining social groups. This group is categorized by distinct patterns of behaviour and interactions and has its own identity, attitudes, norms and beliefs.

Social transformations represent a dynamic concept and therefore it might be assumed that the development of the Polish middle class would not end at the upper middle class. This study attempts to find the answer to the question of how this upper middle class is changing and whether it has already entered the path of transition that would enable it to set the foundations of upper class. Due to the difficulties in defining the size of this group, it was assumed that at the current stage of the research and knowledge base it would be suitable to introduce a term of the nucleus ("emerging") Polish upper class, which is at the stage of formation and extraction from the middle class. This group represents a new beginning not only in social but also in economic terms - affecting the characteristics of Polish business and market.

These considerations attempt to give an answer to a number of questions connected to the economic aspect of the functioning of this group, as a result of which it will be possible to establish not only the criteria that make it distinctive, but also to provide a comprehensive description of the psychographic segment represented by its members.

The emerging Polish upper class to some extent eludes the traditional distinction criteria of Western sociology; it is also very reticent when it comes to revealing information about itself. In the research presented in this study the criteria of the description of the upper class in Western understanding were applied, but taking into consideration the circumstances of the formation of Polish upper class, or rather its resurgence after a long break. The following issues should be taken into account: sources and methods for gathering of wealth, sources of current income, education and career path, authority, prestige, the attributes of its lifestyle and consumer narrative, realised consumption and its ability for developing patterns. It is essential to define which economic criteria should be employed in the investigation of the Polish upper class - both its "nucleus" and its fully developed variant.

Moreover, while aiming at recognition of the economic situation of the nucleus upper class, the following issue is worth noting: is it really possible to depict a "demarcation line" between the Polish middle class and the emergent Polish upper class, by means of analyses of economic behaviour. If so, then what criteria should be used for the demarcation?

It is worth noting that the economist is more perceptive to other forms of behaviour of the representatives of upper class than the sociologist, mainly those connected to consumption processes and market behaviours. The economist is searching for the areas that could be examined, quantified and modelled.

To some extent the secondary data was used as an empirical base (coming mainly from public statistics, market research and reports). This data presents a very aggregate and partial view, typically touching only superficial aspects connected to decision-making processes, and barely taking into account the complexity of behaviours. Therefore, the incomplete reports concerning, for example, the luxury goods market or the private banking market, do not allow one to give a reliable and complete answer to the question: what are the representatives of the emergent Polish upper class like?

In order to give a comprehensive answer to the question above, a targeted own research was designed. In the framework of this research, an attempt was made to create a map of the emerging Polish upper class in three dimensions: economic, demographic and social. As a result the author got closer to the description of the consumer profile - a representative of the emergent Polish nucleus upper class, in relation to shopping behaviours, consumption preferences and the style in which consumer identity is created. The scientific research in this study was conducted in a multidimensional way - from the analysis of dispersed secondary data, which enables us to outline a fragmentary image of the emerging upper class, through the design and carrying out own research, to the interpretation of its results and the drawing of conclusions for business practice.

The research had a double-track character. The explorative part which comprised the quantitative research was combined with qualitative individual interviews conducted by the author. The sample was chosen intentionally - the interviews were conducted with those individuals who fulfilled the high entry criteria and agreed to take part in the research.

The inspiration for such a distribution of the examined population was the division of the upper layer of the middle class from: the highly aspirational "credit bourgeoisie" (who finance consumption not only from the current income, but also from bank loans), the "ethos intelligentsia" and "businessocracy" traditionally strongly rooted in Polish social structure - a group with a high income and accumulated that is characterized by a new attitude to the consumption - less ostentatious and more sophisticated.

The quantitative research was conducted in form of computer-assisted direct interviews (CAPI). With the completion of this part of the study it was possible to depict the first "layer" of the map of consumption and economic behaviour, as well as the attitudes, values and opinions of the emerging Polish nucleus upper class. Furthermore, this is the first approximation to setting the "economic" boundary between the upper class and the middle class.

The qualitative research was carried out by in-depth interviews (IDI). The interviews were conducted among people with very high positions in the legislative bodies, central administration offices, and key institutions of business and finance, as well as with private entrepreneurs and representatives of art and media elites. The knowledge gained on the basis of qualitative research might be compared to the "magnifying glass optics" which allow the researcher to capture many details and nuances that elude the empirical recognition of the quantitative research. Additionally, at this stage questions were asked regarding the opinions and attempts to define the process of Polish upper class creation. Due to the nature of the answers received, in this study there is a number of direct citations excavating our understanding of the emerging upper class.

From the beginning of the study a relatively narrow field of research was set, with particular emphasis on economic topics. It was assumed at an early stage that the examined sample under examination would only provide the very first explorative data. In the phase in which research tools were prepared, it turned out to be possible to touch on many existing problems which significantly enhance our knowledge about the emerging upper class. Hence, the broadly defined consumer behaviour of emerging upper class was pointed out in title of this study.

The structure of this study reflects the different cross-sections of the description of the emerging Polish upper class, with particular emphasis on the economic conditions of its functioning. Moreover, it derives from the individual decisions and research considerations of the author. The use of the scientific methods developed over years of research prompted a temptation to consider the largest possible number of details. Nevertheless, in order to preserve clarity of reasoning, the structure was limited to four chapters.

In the first chapter the theoretical basis for the analysis of the formation of massive social structures is presented, with particular emphasis on the upper class. On the background of the literature studies, the definitional aspects of upper class in sociological and economic traditions are described.

The second chapter is devoted to an empirical description of the emerging Polish nucleus upper class as an extension of the transition of Polish middle class. A focal point was set on the economic aspects of the change of social position. The analyses of income, accumulated wealth and the sources of capital multiplication were conducted. The image of the middle class was supplemented by demographic and psychographic analyses. In addition to this, a detailed concept of the author's research was presented in the form of hypotheses and research fields for quantitative and qualitative research.

Chapter three refers to the issues of values and lifestyles and to selected personality aspects of representatives of the emerging Polish nucleus upper class. The author presented her own concept of the typology of lifestyles, including the universality of their occurrence, prestige, and correlation to personality features.

The fourth chapter contains considerations regarding the Polish specificity of the social imitation mechanism, including the emerging upper class as a "patterns creating" group. Furthermore, shopping habits, preferences regarding points of sale and everyday brands are also characterized. In addition to this, the analysis of shopping behaviours in correlation to personality features has been taken into consideration.

In the summary, the proposal of the definition for the emerging Polish upper class has been presented. This definition is the culmination of the research and discussions; it also constitutes an overview of the judgments regarding the legitimacy and veracity of the existence of an upper class in Poland. It contains the author's reflections on the consumer narrative and related market opportunities for providing goods and services for the consumer segment being analysed.

By providing readers with an English version of this study, the author believes it can constitute a valuable source of information about a specific aspect of the changes in Polish society which will, as such, serve as an incentive for the initiation of international comparative studies.

[[[separator]]]

Introduction

 

Chapter I. Upper class - definitional problems in Poland and worldwide

1.1. Upper class in social stratification

1.2. Definitional criteria of upper class

 

Chapter II. The emerging Polish upper class - a research project

2.1. The Polish middle class and the emerging upper class

2.2. Economic situation and sources of capital creation in the emerging Polish upper class

2.3. A "sketch" of the emerging Polish upper class - research assumptions

 

Chapter III. The emerging Polish upper class - a psychographic approach

3.1. Values and lifestyle of the emerging upper class - the empirical dimension

3.2. Personality features and belonging to the emerging Polish upper class

 

Chapter IV. Consumption, shopping behaviours and style in the emerging Polish upper class

4.1. Elite consumption and social imitation in Poland

4.2. The emerging upper class and shopping behaviours with preferences for brands

4.3. Shopping styles and personality

 

Conclusion

Opis

Wydanie: 1
Rok wydania: 2013
Wydawnictwo: Oficyna Wydawnicza
Oprawa: twarda
Format: B5
Liczba stron: 133

Wstęp

This monograph constitutes an attempt to describe the representatives of the Polish upper class from the perspective of consumer analyses. In contemporary considerations concerning Polish society, the topic of the upper class is mainly touched upon in sociologic discussions. Therefore, this study presents an attempt at an economic focus.

Stratification changes in Polish society over the last two decades resulted from many factors which were based on economic transformation and complex social aspects. The phenomena of modernization - which enabled the development of a capitalist economy - intermingled with pathological phenomena (like the enfranchisement of the nomenclature and the often unpleasant stories behind the formation of large Polish fortunes). The process of the development of the entrepreneurs' class, proprietors - capitalists, described as the "returning class" took place.

The topic of this book is a result of personal observations and academic discussions. An economist, as an observer of economic life, both on the micro- and macroeconomic level, recognizes a number of linkages between social stratification changes and their consequences on the marketplace. One may also perceive that the middle class does not constitute a "monolith" anymore. It changes and stratifies, something which is reflected, for instance, in the development of diverse markets for consumer goods and services in Poland: a mass market and the luxury and high-status market.

The description of the uppermost level among Polish social classes was taken as a conceptual and investigatory challenge in this study. This level is the emergence of the Polish upper class. Obviously the first concern is the adoption of the definition that is most suitable for the Polish reality. The very term "upper class" typically arouses positive connotations and is associated with honours, elitism, impeccable manners and a certain style of behaviour.

The first serious problem which one encounters is the lack of continuity in the historical evolution of the traditional (pre-war) Polish upper class. Assuming that 1939 constitutes the border of certain era, after that time the upper class hardly existed for sixty years in Poland.

Nowadays, on the other hand, new fortunes, behaviours and habits have arisen due to changes in social and economic life. This allows us to presume that there is a new group appearing in Poland, behaviours of which are characteristic for the traditional upper class. Although it is still difficult to speak about the existence of Polish "dynasties" and families with the well-established position of traditional upper class, there is, undoubtedly, however, an increasingly hermetic group of people emerging, characterised not only by significant wealth, but for the most part by behaviour styles and represented values, which distinguish them from remaining social groups. This group is categorized by distinct patterns of behaviour and interactions and has its own identity, attitudes, norms and beliefs.

Social transformations represent a dynamic concept and therefore it might be assumed that the development of the Polish middle class would not end at the upper middle class. This study attempts to find the answer to the question of how this upper middle class is changing and whether it has already entered the path of transition that would enable it to set the foundations of upper class. Due to the difficulties in defining the size of this group, it was assumed that at the current stage of the research and knowledge base it would be suitable to introduce a term of the nucleus ("emerging") Polish upper class, which is at the stage of formation and extraction from the middle class. This group represents a new beginning not only in social but also in economic terms - affecting the characteristics of Polish business and market.

These considerations attempt to give an answer to a number of questions connected to the economic aspect of the functioning of this group, as a result of which it will be possible to establish not only the criteria that make it distinctive, but also to provide a comprehensive description of the psychographic segment represented by its members.

The emerging Polish upper class to some extent eludes the traditional distinction criteria of Western sociology; it is also very reticent when it comes to revealing information about itself. In the research presented in this study the criteria of the description of the upper class in Western understanding were applied, but taking into consideration the circumstances of the formation of Polish upper class, or rather its resurgence after a long break. The following issues should be taken into account: sources and methods for gathering of wealth, sources of current income, education and career path, authority, prestige, the attributes of its lifestyle and consumer narrative, realised consumption and its ability for developing patterns. It is essential to define which economic criteria should be employed in the investigation of the Polish upper class - both its "nucleus" and its fully developed variant.

Moreover, while aiming at recognition of the economic situation of the nucleus upper class, the following issue is worth noting: is it really possible to depict a "demarcation line" between the Polish middle class and the emergent Polish upper class, by means of analyses of economic behaviour. If so, then what criteria should be used for the demarcation?

It is worth noting that the economist is more perceptive to other forms of behaviour of the representatives of upper class than the sociologist, mainly those connected to consumption processes and market behaviours. The economist is searching for the areas that could be examined, quantified and modelled.

To some extent the secondary data was used as an empirical base (coming mainly from public statistics, market research and reports). This data presents a very aggregate and partial view, typically touching only superficial aspects connected to decision-making processes, and barely taking into account the complexity of behaviours. Therefore, the incomplete reports concerning, for example, the luxury goods market or the private banking market, do not allow one to give a reliable and complete answer to the question: what are the representatives of the emergent Polish upper class like?

In order to give a comprehensive answer to the question above, a targeted own research was designed. In the framework of this research, an attempt was made to create a map of the emerging Polish upper class in three dimensions: economic, demographic and social. As a result the author got closer to the description of the consumer profile - a representative of the emergent Polish nucleus upper class, in relation to shopping behaviours, consumption preferences and the style in which consumer identity is created. The scientific research in this study was conducted in a multidimensional way - from the analysis of dispersed secondary data, which enables us to outline a fragmentary image of the emerging upper class, through the design and carrying out own research, to the interpretation of its results and the drawing of conclusions for business practice.

The research had a double-track character. The explorative part which comprised the quantitative research was combined with qualitative individual interviews conducted by the author. The sample was chosen intentionally - the interviews were conducted with those individuals who fulfilled the high entry criteria and agreed to take part in the research.

The inspiration for such a distribution of the examined population was the division of the upper layer of the middle class from: the highly aspirational "credit bourgeoisie" (who finance consumption not only from the current income, but also from bank loans), the "ethos intelligentsia" and "businessocracy" traditionally strongly rooted in Polish social structure - a group with a high income and accumulated that is characterized by a new attitude to the consumption - less ostentatious and more sophisticated.

The quantitative research was conducted in form of computer-assisted direct interviews (CAPI). With the completion of this part of the study it was possible to depict the first "layer" of the map of consumption and economic behaviour, as well as the attitudes, values and opinions of the emerging Polish nucleus upper class. Furthermore, this is the first approximation to setting the "economic" boundary between the upper class and the middle class.

The qualitative research was carried out by in-depth interviews (IDI). The interviews were conducted among people with very high positions in the legislative bodies, central administration offices, and key institutions of business and finance, as well as with private entrepreneurs and representatives of art and media elites. The knowledge gained on the basis of qualitative research might be compared to the "magnifying glass optics" which allow the researcher to capture many details and nuances that elude the empirical recognition of the quantitative research. Additionally, at this stage questions were asked regarding the opinions and attempts to define the process of Polish upper class creation. Due to the nature of the answers received, in this study there is a number of direct citations excavating our understanding of the emerging upper class.

From the beginning of the study a relatively narrow field of research was set, with particular emphasis on economic topics. It was assumed at an early stage that the examined sample under examination would only provide the very first explorative data. In the phase in which research tools were prepared, it turned out to be possible to touch on many existing problems which significantly enhance our knowledge about the emerging upper class. Hence, the broadly defined consumer behaviour of emerging upper class was pointed out in title of this study.

The structure of this study reflects the different cross-sections of the description of the emerging Polish upper class, with particular emphasis on the economic conditions of its functioning. Moreover, it derives from the individual decisions and research considerations of the author. The use of the scientific methods developed over years of research prompted a temptation to consider the largest possible number of details. Nevertheless, in order to preserve clarity of reasoning, the structure was limited to four chapters.

In the first chapter the theoretical basis for the analysis of the formation of massive social structures is presented, with particular emphasis on the upper class. On the background of the literature studies, the definitional aspects of upper class in sociological and economic traditions are described.

The second chapter is devoted to an empirical description of the emerging Polish nucleus upper class as an extension of the transition of Polish middle class. A focal point was set on the economic aspects of the change of social position. The analyses of income, accumulated wealth and the sources of capital multiplication were conducted. The image of the middle class was supplemented by demographic and psychographic analyses. In addition to this, a detailed concept of the author's research was presented in the form of hypotheses and research fields for quantitative and qualitative research.

Chapter three refers to the issues of values and lifestyles and to selected personality aspects of representatives of the emerging Polish nucleus upper class. The author presented her own concept of the typology of lifestyles, including the universality of their occurrence, prestige, and correlation to personality features.

The fourth chapter contains considerations regarding the Polish specificity of the social imitation mechanism, including the emerging upper class as a "patterns creating" group. Furthermore, shopping habits, preferences regarding points of sale and everyday brands are also characterized. In addition to this, the analysis of shopping behaviours in correlation to personality features has been taken into consideration.

In the summary, the proposal of the definition for the emerging Polish upper class has been presented. This definition is the culmination of the research and discussions; it also constitutes an overview of the judgments regarding the legitimacy and veracity of the existence of an upper class in Poland. It contains the author's reflections on the consumer narrative and related market opportunities for providing goods and services for the consumer segment being analysed.

By providing readers with an English version of this study, the author believes it can constitute a valuable source of information about a specific aspect of the changes in Polish society which will, as such, serve as an incentive for the initiation of international comparative studies.

Spis treści

Introduction

 

Chapter I. Upper class - definitional problems in Poland and worldwide

1.1. Upper class in social stratification

1.2. Definitional criteria of upper class

 

Chapter II. The emerging Polish upper class - a research project

2.1. The Polish middle class and the emerging upper class

2.2. Economic situation and sources of capital creation in the emerging Polish upper class

2.3. A "sketch" of the emerging Polish upper class - research assumptions

 

Chapter III. The emerging Polish upper class - a psychographic approach

3.1. Values and lifestyle of the emerging upper class - the empirical dimension

3.2. Personality features and belonging to the emerging Polish upper class

 

Chapter IV. Consumption, shopping behaviours and style in the emerging Polish upper class

4.1. Elite consumption and social imitation in Poland

4.2. The emerging upper class and shopping behaviours with preferences for brands

4.3. Shopping styles and personality

 

Conclusion

Opinie

Twoja ocena:
Wydanie: 1
Rok wydania: 2013
Wydawnictwo: Oficyna Wydawnicza
Oprawa: twarda
Format: B5
Liczba stron: 133

This monograph constitutes an attempt to describe the representatives of the Polish upper class from the perspective of consumer analyses. In contemporary considerations concerning Polish society, the topic of the upper class is mainly touched upon in sociologic discussions. Therefore, this study presents an attempt at an economic focus.

Stratification changes in Polish society over the last two decades resulted from many factors which were based on economic transformation and complex social aspects. The phenomena of modernization - which enabled the development of a capitalist economy - intermingled with pathological phenomena (like the enfranchisement of the nomenclature and the often unpleasant stories behind the formation of large Polish fortunes). The process of the development of the entrepreneurs' class, proprietors - capitalists, described as the "returning class" took place.

The topic of this book is a result of personal observations and academic discussions. An economist, as an observer of economic life, both on the micro- and macroeconomic level, recognizes a number of linkages between social stratification changes and their consequences on the marketplace. One may also perceive that the middle class does not constitute a "monolith" anymore. It changes and stratifies, something which is reflected, for instance, in the development of diverse markets for consumer goods and services in Poland: a mass market and the luxury and high-status market.

The description of the uppermost level among Polish social classes was taken as a conceptual and investigatory challenge in this study. This level is the emergence of the Polish upper class. Obviously the first concern is the adoption of the definition that is most suitable for the Polish reality. The very term "upper class" typically arouses positive connotations and is associated with honours, elitism, impeccable manners and a certain style of behaviour.

The first serious problem which one encounters is the lack of continuity in the historical evolution of the traditional (pre-war) Polish upper class. Assuming that 1939 constitutes the border of certain era, after that time the upper class hardly existed for sixty years in Poland.

Nowadays, on the other hand, new fortunes, behaviours and habits have arisen due to changes in social and economic life. This allows us to presume that there is a new group appearing in Poland, behaviours of which are characteristic for the traditional upper class. Although it is still difficult to speak about the existence of Polish "dynasties" and families with the well-established position of traditional upper class, there is, undoubtedly, however, an increasingly hermetic group of people emerging, characterised not only by significant wealth, but for the most part by behaviour styles and represented values, which distinguish them from remaining social groups. This group is categorized by distinct patterns of behaviour and interactions and has its own identity, attitudes, norms and beliefs.

Social transformations represent a dynamic concept and therefore it might be assumed that the development of the Polish middle class would not end at the upper middle class. This study attempts to find the answer to the question of how this upper middle class is changing and whether it has already entered the path of transition that would enable it to set the foundations of upper class. Due to the difficulties in defining the size of this group, it was assumed that at the current stage of the research and knowledge base it would be suitable to introduce a term of the nucleus ("emerging") Polish upper class, which is at the stage of formation and extraction from the middle class. This group represents a new beginning not only in social but also in economic terms - affecting the characteristics of Polish business and market.

These considerations attempt to give an answer to a number of questions connected to the economic aspect of the functioning of this group, as a result of which it will be possible to establish not only the criteria that make it distinctive, but also to provide a comprehensive description of the psychographic segment represented by its members.

The emerging Polish upper class to some extent eludes the traditional distinction criteria of Western sociology; it is also very reticent when it comes to revealing information about itself. In the research presented in this study the criteria of the description of the upper class in Western understanding were applied, but taking into consideration the circumstances of the formation of Polish upper class, or rather its resurgence after a long break. The following issues should be taken into account: sources and methods for gathering of wealth, sources of current income, education and career path, authority, prestige, the attributes of its lifestyle and consumer narrative, realised consumption and its ability for developing patterns. It is essential to define which economic criteria should be employed in the investigation of the Polish upper class - both its "nucleus" and its fully developed variant.

Moreover, while aiming at recognition of the economic situation of the nucleus upper class, the following issue is worth noting: is it really possible to depict a "demarcation line" between the Polish middle class and the emergent Polish upper class, by means of analyses of economic behaviour. If so, then what criteria should be used for the demarcation?

It is worth noting that the economist is more perceptive to other forms of behaviour of the representatives of upper class than the sociologist, mainly those connected to consumption processes and market behaviours. The economist is searching for the areas that could be examined, quantified and modelled.

To some extent the secondary data was used as an empirical base (coming mainly from public statistics, market research and reports). This data presents a very aggregate and partial view, typically touching only superficial aspects connected to decision-making processes, and barely taking into account the complexity of behaviours. Therefore, the incomplete reports concerning, for example, the luxury goods market or the private banking market, do not allow one to give a reliable and complete answer to the question: what are the representatives of the emergent Polish upper class like?

In order to give a comprehensive answer to the question above, a targeted own research was designed. In the framework of this research, an attempt was made to create a map of the emerging Polish upper class in three dimensions: economic, demographic and social. As a result the author got closer to the description of the consumer profile - a representative of the emergent Polish nucleus upper class, in relation to shopping behaviours, consumption preferences and the style in which consumer identity is created. The scientific research in this study was conducted in a multidimensional way - from the analysis of dispersed secondary data, which enables us to outline a fragmentary image of the emerging upper class, through the design and carrying out own research, to the interpretation of its results and the drawing of conclusions for business practice.

The research had a double-track character. The explorative part which comprised the quantitative research was combined with qualitative individual interviews conducted by the author. The sample was chosen intentionally - the interviews were conducted with those individuals who fulfilled the high entry criteria and agreed to take part in the research.

The inspiration for such a distribution of the examined population was the division of the upper layer of the middle class from: the highly aspirational "credit bourgeoisie" (who finance consumption not only from the current income, but also from bank loans), the "ethos intelligentsia" and "businessocracy" traditionally strongly rooted in Polish social structure - a group with a high income and accumulated that is characterized by a new attitude to the consumption - less ostentatious and more sophisticated.

The quantitative research was conducted in form of computer-assisted direct interviews (CAPI). With the completion of this part of the study it was possible to depict the first "layer" of the map of consumption and economic behaviour, as well as the attitudes, values and opinions of the emerging Polish nucleus upper class. Furthermore, this is the first approximation to setting the "economic" boundary between the upper class and the middle class.

The qualitative research was carried out by in-depth interviews (IDI). The interviews were conducted among people with very high positions in the legislative bodies, central administration offices, and key institutions of business and finance, as well as with private entrepreneurs and representatives of art and media elites. The knowledge gained on the basis of qualitative research might be compared to the "magnifying glass optics" which allow the researcher to capture many details and nuances that elude the empirical recognition of the quantitative research. Additionally, at this stage questions were asked regarding the opinions and attempts to define the process of Polish upper class creation. Due to the nature of the answers received, in this study there is a number of direct citations excavating our understanding of the emerging upper class.

From the beginning of the study a relatively narrow field of research was set, with particular emphasis on economic topics. It was assumed at an early stage that the examined sample under examination would only provide the very first explorative data. In the phase in which research tools were prepared, it turned out to be possible to touch on many existing problems which significantly enhance our knowledge about the emerging upper class. Hence, the broadly defined consumer behaviour of emerging upper class was pointed out in title of this study.

The structure of this study reflects the different cross-sections of the description of the emerging Polish upper class, with particular emphasis on the economic conditions of its functioning. Moreover, it derives from the individual decisions and research considerations of the author. The use of the scientific methods developed over years of research prompted a temptation to consider the largest possible number of details. Nevertheless, in order to preserve clarity of reasoning, the structure was limited to four chapters.

In the first chapter the theoretical basis for the analysis of the formation of massive social structures is presented, with particular emphasis on the upper class. On the background of the literature studies, the definitional aspects of upper class in sociological and economic traditions are described.

The second chapter is devoted to an empirical description of the emerging Polish nucleus upper class as an extension of the transition of Polish middle class. A focal point was set on the economic aspects of the change of social position. The analyses of income, accumulated wealth and the sources of capital multiplication were conducted. The image of the middle class was supplemented by demographic and psychographic analyses. In addition to this, a detailed concept of the author's research was presented in the form of hypotheses and research fields for quantitative and qualitative research.

Chapter three refers to the issues of values and lifestyles and to selected personality aspects of representatives of the emerging Polish nucleus upper class. The author presented her own concept of the typology of lifestyles, including the universality of their occurrence, prestige, and correlation to personality features.

The fourth chapter contains considerations regarding the Polish specificity of the social imitation mechanism, including the emerging upper class as a "patterns creating" group. Furthermore, shopping habits, preferences regarding points of sale and everyday brands are also characterized. In addition to this, the analysis of shopping behaviours in correlation to personality features has been taken into consideration.

In the summary, the proposal of the definition for the emerging Polish upper class has been presented. This definition is the culmination of the research and discussions; it also constitutes an overview of the judgments regarding the legitimacy and veracity of the existence of an upper class in Poland. It contains the author's reflections on the consumer narrative and related market opportunities for providing goods and services for the consumer segment being analysed.

By providing readers with an English version of this study, the author believes it can constitute a valuable source of information about a specific aspect of the changes in Polish society which will, as such, serve as an incentive for the initiation of international comparative studies.

Introduction

 

Chapter I. Upper class - definitional problems in Poland and worldwide

1.1. Upper class in social stratification

1.2. Definitional criteria of upper class

 

Chapter II. The emerging Polish upper class - a research project

2.1. The Polish middle class and the emerging upper class

2.2. Economic situation and sources of capital creation in the emerging Polish upper class

2.3. A "sketch" of the emerging Polish upper class - research assumptions

 

Chapter III. The emerging Polish upper class - a psychographic approach

3.1. Values and lifestyle of the emerging upper class - the empirical dimension

3.2. Personality features and belonging to the emerging Polish upper class

 

Chapter IV. Consumption, shopping behaviours and style in the emerging Polish upper class

4.1. Elite consumption and social imitation in Poland

4.2. The emerging upper class and shopping behaviours with preferences for brands

4.3. Shopping styles and personality

 

Conclusion

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Bezpieczne płatności
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