The aim of this article is to identify cultural differences in tourist buying behavior and decision process.
After completing this article the reader should be able to:
- Identify the influence of national culture on tourist personal and psychological characteristics - Understand the influence of national culture on need recognition, information search, product evaluation, purchase decision and post-purchase behavior
- Explain the influence of national culture on buyer's feelings and emotions and the factors which are beyond the purchasing decision
To date, research in the area of cross-cultural differences has identified numerous behavioral differences among tourists from different cultural groups. For example, cultural differences have been identified in the following categories: tourist motivation
(Ahmed - Krohn, 1992; Jang - Cai, 2002; Kozak, 2002; Laing - Crouch, 2005;
Sangpikul, 2008; You, O’Leary, Morrison, - Hong, 2000); preferences for travel services
(Crotts - Erdmann, 2000; Crotts - Pizam, 2003); information search (Chen,
2000; Money - Crotts, 2003); planning and purchases of international vacations
(Money -Crotts, 2003), trip characteristics (Richardson -Crompton, 1988; Sussmann
- Rashcovsky, 1997), destination perceptions (Reisinger - Mavondo, 2006a); image
(Litvin, Crotts, - Hefner, 2004); social interaction (Reisinger - Turner, 1997a, 1997b,
1998a, 1998b, 1998c, 1999a, 1999b, 2002a, 2002b); perceptions of travel risk, anxiety and safety (Dolnicar, 2005; Mitchell and Vassos, 1997; Reisinger - Mavondo, 2005,
2006a, 2006b); travel behavior (Litvin, Crotts, - Hefner, 2004); perceptions and stereotypes of tourists (Pizam - Jeong, 1996; Pizam - Reichel, 1996; Pizam - Sussmann,
1995; Pizam - Telisman-Kosuta, 1989; Pizam, Jansen-Verbeke, - Steel, 1997); perceptions and satisfaction with service quality (Mattila, 1999b, 1999c; Reisinger -
Turner, 1999a, 1997a; Tsang - Ap, 2007; Weiermair, 2000), perceptions of hotel facilities (Bauer, Jago, - Wise, 1993; Choi - Chu, 2000; Mattila, 1999a), evaluation of travel services (Crotts - Erdmann, 2000), and consumption patterns (Rosenbaum -
Numerous studies have identified cultural differences among international tourists in attaching importance to accommodation (Becker - Murmann, 1999; McClearly, Choi,
- Weaver, 1998; Sussmann - Rashcovsky, 1997), travel information (Sussmann -
Rashcovsky, 1997), service (Liu, Sudharshan, - Hamer, 2000; Mattila, 1999b, 1999c), service in hotels (Armstrong, Mok, Go, - Chan (1997), restaurants and food establishments
(Becker - Murmann, 1999; Sheldon - Fox, 1988), and many others.
The above studies have shown that tourist behavior and travel patterns are culturespecific
(You,O’Leary, Morrison,-Hong, 2000). As Pizam and Sussmann (1995) put it, behavioral differences among international tourists are attributable to cultural influences.
Below are the examples of some studies that have identified cultural differences in tourist behavior and suggested that national cultures of tourists influence their behavior, selection of tourism destinations, products and services, and decision-making.
However, before the effect of national culture on tourist behavior is discussed, the influence of national culture on tourist personal and psychological characteristics is identified. 14.1 CULTURAL INFLUENCES ON BUYER'S PERSONAL
14.1.1 Gender roles
Gender roles vary across cultures. For example, there are behavioral differences between men andwomen that reflect the culturally determined differing roles of men and women. In some cultures, the traditional values indicate the need for women to stay at home and take care of children. In these cultures women depend on men as breadwinners:
A women’s responsibility is to take care of a family and home; as a result, women are more constrained in their travel than men (Jackson - Henderson, 1995).
For example, in Mexican-American families, men dominate women more than in Anglo families (Imperia, O’Guinn, - MacAdams, 1985). The woman’s role is to stay at home, be a wife and a mother, and sacrifice for the family (Gonzales, 1982). A woman is expected to protect her children and be submissive toward her husband (Rosen - La
Raia, 1972). In comparison, the gender roles of Anglo-Americans are more autonomous and egalitarian (Woodside - Motes, 1979). In other cultures (e.g., Arab cultures), women are discouraged from engaging in certain activities such as sport or independent travel because these activities are perceived as being masculine and unsuitable for women (Henderson, Stalnaker, - Taylor, 1988). In Western cultures (e.g., the United
States, the United Kingdom) women are independent and travel frequently for holiday and business purposes.
14.1.2 Lifestyle and activities
Lifestyle refers to shared values, interests, opinions, attitudes, and behavior. Lifestyle reflects individual preferences for products and services, destinations and travel-related lifestyle. Travel-related lifestyles vary across cultures. In the feminine cultures, people feel more connected to their homes and places of residency than in masculine cultures.
Members of feminine cultures like to travel around the home and spend less money on accommodations, whereas members of the masculine cultures like to travel to more distance destinations, stay in hotels, and spend more on accommodations.
Travel preferences vary across cultures. For example, American college students prefer more than Japanese students to travel with a small number of people, and visit adventurous and different destinations. Japanese students, on the other hand, favor individually arranged travel more than American students. American and Japanese students also differ in their preferences of the allocentric type of travel (distant travel).
The more collectivistic Japanese students are, the less likely they prefer allocentric types of travel and the more likely they prefer psychocentric types of travel (close to home) (Sakakida, Cole, - Card, 2004).
Korean tourists differ from Japanese tourists in their travel patterns. Korean tourists travel as part of a group and use the packaged tour because it is an easy and quick way to arrange travel (Kim - Prideaux, 1998). Korean tourists are more adventurous than the Japanese in choosing tourism activities and more impulsive in purchasing (March,
1997). Korean tourists also have significantly shorter decision time frames than Japanese travelers (Iverson, 1997).
National culture affects tourists’ preferences for length of stay at a destination, expenditures, and preferences for accommodation and facilities. For example,
Japanese tourists prefer short holidays, while Europeans prefer longer holidays (Ritter,
1987). Japanese travelers are more likely to use all-inclusive packages for vacations, while German tourists use resorts that include facilities such as beaches, skiing, golf, and tennis (Dybka, 1988). Mainland Chinese visitors travel in groups more than the
American visitors. Mainland Chinese visitors to Hong Kong also engage in shorter trips
(four nights), whereas American visitors have a total trip duration of more than 13 nights. In addition, the Mainland Chinese visitors spend less on vacations than the
American visitors (Yoo, McKercher, - Mena, 2004).
American tourists prefer socializing with other nationals more than tourists from
Japan and Korea (Pizam - Jeong, 1996). Japanese tourists are reluctant to try new cuisine when on vacation (Sheldon - Fox, 1988). Tourists from low UAI cultures, such as Germany, and tourists from high UAI cultures, such as Japan, differ in information-search patterns, trip-planning time horizons, travel-party characteristics, and trip characteristics (Money - Crotts, 2003).
National culture also explains differences in tourists’ activities (e.g., Pizam - Jeong,
1996; Pizam - Sussmann, 1995; Sheldon - Fox, 1988). Muslims and Arabs are less active, more leisure-oriented, and more socially oriented than Europeans. Since cultural norms dictate that they protect women, they look for privacy in recreation leisure. Gender segregation prevents Muslims and Arabs from participating in many forms of activities, such as sport and play, commonly found in Europe and America
National culture explains differences in shopping. Members of the individual cultures, such as the United States, Canada, and Australia, treat shopping as a recreational or bargain-hunting activity, whereas members of collectivistic cultures, such as Asia, may treat shopping as a social activity. While customers in individualistic cultures go to a mega malls and big stores to do a bulk of shopping, Europeans and Asians make their daily routine visits to small nearby supermarkets (DeMooij, 2004).
Further, research suggests differences in tipping behaviors of casino guests from five cultural groups: Japanese, Korean, Chinese (Mainland Chinese, Taiwanese, Hong
Kong Chinese), Westerners (US Americans and Europeans) and Others (mainly Sri
Lankan, Philippine, Bangladeshi, Thai, and Malaysian). The Chinese exhibit the most disruptive behavior, while the Japanese are the least disruptive. The Japanese and
Koreans have the greatest tendency to tip the dealer, and the Japanese are the most likely to tip the drink waitresses, while the Chinese and minority guests rarely give tips.
Also, Chinese guests have the highest tendency to purchase drinks from the bar, whereas Japanese guests prefer to order drinks from waitresses. Japanese guests are also the most likely to consume alcoholic drinks in contrast to Chinese guests (Kim,
Prideaux, - Kim, 2002).
Moreover, national culture influences tourists’ destination choice (McKercher - duCross, 2003; O’Leary - Deegan, 2003). People from high individualistic cultures tend to choose culturally similar destinations, while people from high collectivistic countries tend to choose culturally dissimilar destinations (Jackson, 2001). This is because people from highly individualistic countries are less interdependentwith their in-groups and have greater need for affiliation (Franzoi, 1996).
Personality is the sum of distinct qualities and characteristics of a person, such as abilities, skills, motives, or values that lead to a consistent response to the environment.
Each person has a specific personality that influences his or her behavior. However, personality can differ across cultures.
In collectivistic cultures in Asia, South America, and Africa, where people depend on one another, their behavior depends on the social context. A person is a part of social networks and relationships. On the other hand, in individualistic cultures, a person’s behavior depends on that person and is determined by that person’s personality.
National culture influences the type of person attracted to a destination, activities pursued, and risk aversion (McKercher - Chow, 2001). Plog, 1990, 2002Plog (1990,
2002) suggested that collectivists in the East are psychocentric – less adventurous and attracted to culturally proximate destinations that are familiar and non-threatening.
Individualists in the West are in general allocentrics and venturers; they are more adventurous and are attracted to culturally distant destinations. Similarly, sunlusts (Gray,
1970), institutionalized (organized and individual) tourists (Cohen, 1972, 1974), recreational tourists (Cohen, 1979), mass tourists (Smith, 1989), low-activation tourists (Fiske
- Maddi, 1961), pleasure seekers (Plog, 1987), dependables (Plog, 2002), and group or package tourists (Mehmetoglu, 2004) are attracted to destinations that offer familiarity, home atmosphere, routine, comfort, and the safety of packaged products and services.
Traditionally, such tourists are represented by a collectivistic-oriented personality who is either other-oriented and travels to seek companionships and relationships or whose needs can be met with other travellers.
On the other hand, wanderlusts (Gray, 1970), non-institutionalized (explorers, drifters) tourists (Cohen, 1972, 1974), experiential and experimental tourists (Cohen,
1979), off-beaten-track tourists (Smith, 1989), eco-tourists (Hvenegaard, 2002), highactivation tourists (Fiske - Maddi, 1961), self-confident tourists (Plog, 1987), venturers
(Plog, 2002) and solitary travellers (Mehmetoglu, 2004) are attracted to unusual destinations that offer novelty, learning, authentic experiences, opportunities to immerse in foreign culture, a variety of activities and options to choose from, and a non-touristic atmosphere in which one can travel independently and pursue his or her own interests.
Traditionally, such tourists are represented by an individualistically oriented personality who is self-oriented and travels for the purpose of satisfying his or her own needs.
There are multiple personality types for tourists, and these types explain preferences for destinations. However, since human nature is very complex, tourist personality can be so very different that no single theory can explain the needs of all tourists.
14.1.4 The self concept
The concept of self plays an important role in the behavior of an individual. The sense of self determines who the individual is. The concept is influenced by the cultural context in which the individual grows up and affects an individual’s perceptions, evaluations, and values. The concept of self is related to the concepts of personality, identity, and attitude. In the individualistic cultures, which focus on individual autonomy, self-identity, and being different from a group, the self is independent. In collectivistic cultures, which focus on people’s dependency in very complex hierarchical social relationships and being like a group, the self is dependent on others (DeMooij,
Consequently, people from individualistic cultures see themselves as independent, whereas those from collectivistic cultures see themselves as a part of a greater group.
Individualists such as North Americans tend to focus on positive self-evaluation and their own uniqueness, whereas collectivists such as Asians focus on self-criticism, modesty, humility, and self-improvement. In North America, self-criticism and focus on negative characteristics of self are perceived as the lack of ability to be self-sufficient, independent and make one’s own way in the world (DeMooij, 2004).
In the collectivistic cultures such as the Philippines, Korea, or Thailand, the development of the self is achieved through the group, social acceptance, and social image.
For Americans, social acceptance and self-image achieved through the group is not so much important. Americans are not concerned so much about opinions of others; instead they rely more on the self, their own individual value system, and their personal opinions. 14.2 CULTURAL INFLUENCES ON BUYER'S PSYCHOLOGICAL
14.2.1 Motivation and needs
The degree of importance of motives and needs is influenced by national culture. For example, it was found that the Asian and Caucasian visitors have different motivations for attending a Cultural Expo in Korea (Lee, 2000). British and German tourists have different motivations for and satisfaction levels with visits to Mallorca and Turkey
(Kozak, 2001, 2002). Those from masculine cultures are usually more motivated by material success, position and social status, exotic vacations, and luxury resorts. Those from individualistic cultures are motivated by hedonism, convenience, the pursuit of pleasure, thrill, enjoyment, stimulation, having fun, and self-satisfaction. Those from collectivistic cultures are motivated by socializing and group activities, in particular, nature-based activities. Those from high-power-distance cultures are motivated by social status and image. Those from feminine cultures are motivated by family vacation and time spent with friends.
Also, culture itself plays a vital role in motivating international tourists to undertake travel (Hanquin - Lam, 1999; Kim - Chalip, 2004; McGehee, Loker-Murphy, - Uysal,
1996; Oh, Uysal, - Weaver, 1995). For example, culture was identified as an important destination attribute and reason for traveling (McKercher - duCross, 2003) and an important motive for the Australian leisure travel market to the United States (McGehee,
Loker-Murphy, - Uysal, 1996). A large proportion of Australian tourists seek to increase knowledge by experiencing a different culture (Oh, Uysal, - Weaver, 1995).
14.2.2 Perception and image
Different cultural groups perceive differently (Mayo - Jarvis, 1981). National culture influences local residents’ perceptions of international tourists (Pizam - Sussmann,
1995; Richardson - Crompton, 1988). For example, the Japanese are perceived as traveling in groups, bowing to everybody, spending heavily, constantly photographying
(Cho, 1991), taking short holidays to avoid separation from the family, and expecting facilities and services for larger groups (Ritter, 1987). Koreans are perceived as loyal to their cultural identity, unwilling to accept other than Korean ways of living, being proud of their Confucian philosophy, traveling in groups, spending freely (Cho, 1991), and traveling in a loose and unplanned manner relative to the Japanese and Americans, who travel in a rigid and planned manner (Pizam - Jeong, 1996).
National culture influences tourists’ perceptions of local residents (Hoffman -
Low, 1981). The perception of service personnel is a primary way in which visitors form perceptions and make judgments about their destinations and residents (Wei,
Crompton, - Reid, 1989). However, perceptions of service quality vary across cultures.
For example, Asian-Pacific and European-American visitors to Hong Kong perceive service quality differently (Luk, Leon, Leong, - Li, 1993). European, Asian and
English Heritage cultural groups significantly differ in their perceptions of service quality obtained in the Hong Kong hotel industry (Armstrong, Mok, Go, -Chan, 1997).
National culture leads to different perceptions of what constitutes proper guest treatment. For example, according to the Chinese, hosts should escort their guests everywhere and provide them with a very tight itinerary; this, they believe, is courteous and high-quality service (Sheldon - Fox, 1988). Japanese hosts take care of the affairs of their guests in advance and even fulfill their needs beyond expectations (Befu,
1971). The Japanese believe that the hosts know best what the guests’ needs are.
However, Western tourists perceive such hospitality as uncomfortable, intrusive, or lacking trust.
National culture also affects the tour guides’ perceptions of similarities and differences between international tourists. For example, Pizam and Sussmann (1995) proposed that British tour guides perceive Japanese, French, Italian, and American tourists as differing in 18 out of 20 behavioral characteristics related to social interactions, activity preferences, bargaining, knowledge of destination, and commercial transactions.
Japanese tourists are the most distinctive, whereas Italian tourists are the most like the other nationalities. The Italians and French are very similar to each other in their behavior, followed by the Americans and Italians. French and American tourists are the least similar.
Pizam and Jeong (1996) noted that Korean tour guides perceive Americans as the most distinct among Japanese, American, and Korean tourists. Koreans and Japanese are the most similar to each other, followed by Japanese–Americans. American and
Japanese tourists know more than Koreans about foreign destinations. Koreans are more interested in artifacts than people, while Americans and Japanese are more interested in people than in artifacts.
According to Pizam and Jeong (1996), Americans are perceived as the most interested in people, novelty, desire to be near nature and to visit national parks and national monuments. They plan their trips rigidly and meticulously and prefer long trips. They are the most sociable, adventuresome, and active of the three nationalities
(probably due to high risk-taking). In contrast, both Koreans and Japanese like to travel to foreign destinations that are relatively close to home, but Koreans prefer longer trips than the Japanese. Koreans and Japanese are also the least active and reserved in new social situations (probably due to their collectivistic and high-uncertainty-avoidance characteristics). Koreans and Japanese also buy more souvenirs than Americans to commemorate their visit to a particular destination and fulfill social obligations by letting the loved ones left at home know they have not been forgotten. In addition,
Japanese and Koreans travel in groups and bargain more than Americans.
Koreans are the least interested in people and the least adventurous in food. They are skeptical and distrustful. They conduct their trips in a loose and unplanned manner.
Japanese are the most adventurous in food preferences, and they plan their trips rigidly and meticulously, but choose short trips.
Further, national culture influences selective perception. Selective perception refers to observation of the selected reality related to own needs, feelings, and beliefs only. People perceive what they want to perceive. They usually perceive what is similar to their cultures and according to their cultural standards. In individualistic cultures people perceive that everybody has similar values, notice similar cues, respond to similar stimuli, and interpret messages similarly. In collectivistic cultures, on the other hand, people’s perceptions depend on the social context. Although members of the individualistic and collectivistic cultures can see the same people and objects, their interpretation of others and objects can be different because of the situation in which the interpretation occurs. Thus, perceptions are very subjective.
Consequently, misunderstanding between those from individualistic and those from collectivistic cultures may occur.
Image is how others perceive and evaluate a person or an object (e.g., how others perceive a destination). Each cultural group develops its own unique images and has its own specific definition of a positive image. In collectivistic Asian cultures, images of people, groups, objects, or genders portrayed in the media are different than in individualistic Western cultures. For example, in Korea, positive self-image and identity are associated with belonging to high-status families. In Western cultures, selfimage and others-identity is assessed based on personality and individual characteristics, such as age or occupation, and mostly material possessions. In many Western societies people buy self-image and social status. People buy tangible goods, such as cars, luxury apartments, jewelry, or luxury travel to develop a specific image and show they are from a higher social class. However, in France, numerous Asian cultures, and
India, people believe they cannot buy social status or self-image; self-image and status are inherited. In these cultures, self-identity and image are assessed based on family and ancestors’ connections, and traditions.
In addition, in Western cultures, importance is attached to the images of those who are successful. Much emphasis is put on external appearance, which it is believed to lead to success, happiness, and greater self-esteem. However, in Asian cultures, external appearance is of less importance; success and happiness are measured by the quality of social relations.
14.2.3 Learning and knowledge
Learning varies by culture. In the individualistic Western cultures, the focus of learning is on logical and verbal skills. In Japan, learning is understood in terms of social competence, sociability, and ability to sympathize with others. In Africa, learning refers to achieving wisdom – learning how to be trustworthy, social attentive, and responsible. The goal of learning in individualistic Western cultures is achievement, whereas in collectivistic cultures it is lifelong learning. In collectivistic cultures, knowledge and education are treated as among the most important investments in life, whereas in individualistic cultures people believe in different types of achievement, such as the ability to make money and buy material goods (DeMooij, 2004).
Differences in learning are determined by different communication styles. In lowcontext- direct culture, learning is more abstract, separated from the social environment, and based on verbal skills. In high-context and indirect cultures, learning is more contextual, linked to the social environment, and based on non-verbal skills.
People’s attitudes are influenced by their cultural values. Attitudes have affective
(feelings, emotions one experiences in response to an attitude object) and cognitive
(attributes, functions, knowledge, learning) components. In Western cultures, attitudes help to gain knowledge, organize one’s environment and provide frames of reference. ‘‘Proper’’ attitudes help people to achieve success, maximize rewards, enhance life enjoyment, and minimize the costs and hardships. In collectivistic cultures, where situational factors influence behavior, attitudes help to fulfill social-identity functions and obligations. People are more constrained by situations in their behavior, more under pressure to behave in a socially accepted manner and take into account attitudes of others. In individualistic cultures people are less constrained by social situations and are under less social pressure when developing attitudes. They take into account personal attitudes when making decisions (DeMooij, 2004).
Attitudes vary across cultures. For example, there are important differences in attitudes toward food. For British and Japanese tourists, food is the most important part of a good vacation. For Australians it is ranked third, for Germans it is fifth, and for the French food is not at all important (Sheldon - Fox, 1989). Those from high uncertainty- avoidance cultures have more negative attitudes to pre-cooked food because they are more concerned about the purity and quality of food than those from low-uncertainty-avoidance cultures, who frequently purchase and consume fast food
(DeMooij, 2004). Culture also influences eating habits. According to Robertson (1987),
Americans eat oysters but not snails; French eat snails but not locusts; Zulus eat locusts but not fish; Jews eat fish but not pork; Hindus eat pork but not beef; Russians eat beef but not snakes; Chinese eat snakes but not people; The Jelas of New Guinea find people delicious!
There are important differences among national cultures in attitudes toward success.
Those from individualistic and high masculine culture, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Austria, see their success in the possessions of material goods. Those from higher-uncertainty-avoidance cultures define their success and happiness more in terms of stability and social security (Austria, Germany, Japan) than material possessions. Those from feminine cultures emphasize more the quality of life (e.g., family gatherings, spending time with family) (DeMooij, 2004).
Culturally different people have different attitudes toward nationals of specific countries. Those who have positive or negative attitudes toward a particular country show favorable or unfavorable responses to its nationals. Often, Japan is admired for its technological development and the Japanese are seen as technologically competent people. Germany is regarded as a country of precision and rules, and Germans are perceived as detailed, reliable, and disciplined. France and Italy are known for good food and fashion. Thus, French and Italians are seen as good-food lovers and experts in style and design. America is known for offering opportunities, freedom, and independence.
Consequently, Americans are perceived as freedom-loving people. Europe is known for its history and culture, and Europeans are known for their culture.
According to Kang and Moscardo (2006), even attitudes toward environmental protection and conservation are culturally influenced. For example, Korean, Australian, and British tourists differ in attitudes toward responsible tourist behaviors.
The Korean tourists are the most likely to spend time before they travel studying or collecting information about the environment of the destination, the lifestyle of the local residents, and environmentally friendly tours and places to stay. They also seek to participate in environmental education programs while traveling and agree to spend some money on environmental conservation and preservation.
Attribution refers to searching for causes of a certain phenomenon or behavior. Once one knows the causes of behavior one can predict and explain the behavior of other people. According to the Attribution Theory (Heider, 1958), every individual assigns certain attributions to explain behavior of self or others. These attributions are either internal or external. The internal attribution refers to findings causes within the individual, and external attribution refers to finding causes outside the individual. In individualistic culture people assign causes of their behavior to internal attributes, such as personality characteristics, and predict behavior of others based on their personality traits and past behavior. In collectivistic cultures people assign causes of their behavior to situational factors and predict behavior of others based on situational context.
14.3 CULTURAL INFLUENCES ON BUYER'S DECISION PROCESS
The effect of national culture on the buying process and decision-making is demonstrated below. 14.3.1 Need recognition
People’s needs vary from one culture to another. People across cultures may do or buy the same things or travel to the same destination for different reasons. For example, the
Mainland Chinese and the Americans travel to Hong Kong for different reasons. Mainland
Chinese visit Hong Kong more for business/meeting purposes; American visitors come for vacation/leisure purposes (Yoo, McKercher, - Mena, 2004). People may also do or buy different things or travel to different destinations for the same reasons. For example, some people may travel to winter ski and tropical resorts for the same reason: rest and relaxation.
Although the same needs may exist in different cultures, the degree of importance people attach to these needs may vary. For example, the need for conformity is one of the significant differences between individualistic and collectivistic cultures. Collectivists are more willing to conform to a group and consider the influence of their behavior on other people. Individualists behave according to their own needs and perceived personal gains. Also, people in Confucian collectivistic cultures must meet social expectations of others in order to preserve their face and the face of others. They may lose face if their behavior does not meet the minimal socially acceptable standard.
For example, the need for gift-giving in Korea and the United States differs. Koreans give more gifts on more occasions and have a bigger gift budget than Americans.
Koreans are motivated by group-conformity pressure and face-saving, whereas Americans are motivated by altruism (Park, 1998). Koreans believe that if they do not give gifts on special occasions to members of in-groups, they may not stand up to others’ expectations. Also, collectivistic consumers make purchases to become similar with members of their in-groups, while individualistic consumers make purchases to differentiate themselves from others. While Western individuals make purchases to satisfy personal needs and emphasize their own personality and distinctiveness, the collectivists follow the principles of modesty, self-effacement, and moderation: They do not want to stand out in the group. For example, Chinese consumers are usually not demanding and tend to have few desires. Due to the importance of thrift, their awareness of their needs is restrained and the needs themselves are limited. Chinese consumers are more often in actual state of buying rather than desired state of buying, which is in contrast to the individualistic consumers who are often in desired state of buying.
14.3.2 Information search and choice of information sources
National culture influences the use of external travel information sources. In high power-distance cultures and uncertainty-avoidance-cultures, most consumers seek information from personal sources. However, the studies show that this is not always the case. For example, tourists from Japan, South Korea, and Australia traveling to the
United States have different preferences for external information sources (Chen,
2000). Business travelers from highly collectivistic Japan and Korea rely heavily on tour companies, corporate travel offices, travel guides, and advice from friends and relatives. Business travelers from the individualistic Australian society prefer obtaining their information directly from the airlines and state/city travel offices (Chen, 2000).
The Japanese rely more heavily on the print medium as an information source when compared to Germans, who rely more on word-of-mouth advice from family and friends (Mihalik, Uysal, - Pan, 1995).
National culture influences the preferences for commercials. American consumers from low-context cultures prefer commercials with high levels of information (Taylor et al., 1997). In the United States, individualistic consumers can be attracted to advertisements that emphasize individualistic benefits and are persuasive, whereas collectivistic consumers, such as the Chinese, can be attracted to advertisements that focus on family or in-group benefits (Aaker - Maheswaran, 1997).
Because of the value of family and group orientation, Chinese consumers heavily rely on word-of-mouth
(WOM) communication. Chinese also rely more on past experiences of one’s own and others than Americans (Moore, 1998). Due to the high tendency to respect authority, Chinese believe that official media are most trustworthy.
In South Korea, the dominance of collectivism influences the use of the Internet more than in the individualistic United States. Koreans spend more time online to show a high level of conformity with their peers, whose behavior and opinions are regarded as reference points (Park - Jun, 2003). The US Americans use the Internet to rely upon themselves to do the majority of the information search.
188.8.131.52 The role of reference groups
The cultural orientation toward individualism/collectivism has the strongest influence on the role of reference groups in purchasing decisions. In collectivistic cultures people do not belong to groups, clubs and associations as they do in individualistic cultures. The influence of reference groups is much less important to collectivists than individualists and those from high uncertainty cultures. Members of high-uncertainty avoidance cultures respect professional groups more than do low-uncertainty-avoidance cultures (DeMooij, 2004).
The influence of reference groups varies with the type of product purchased. If a product is expensive and luxurious, such as a travel product, the opinions of reference groups are more important than when the product purchased is a necessity.
In individualistic cultures, the influence of reference groups and peers is higher for public than for private goods. In collectivistic cultures, the influence of peers inside the group is stronger due to the extended families; numerous family members can influence the individuals’ decision-making. However, the influence of peers and reference groups outside the family groups is weaker. In contrast, in individualistic cultures the family influence is limited to private products (DeMooij,
184.108.40.206 The role of opinion leadership
The role of opinion leaders varies across cultures. In strong-uncertainty-avoidance cultures, leaders, experts, and professionals are likely to be listened to and followed.
Similarly, in masculine cultures the opinion of successful leaders, experts, professionals, and popular people are respected and listened to. In collectivistic cultures, opinions of elders and senior executives are more relevant and respected than in individualistic cultures. In high-power-distance culture, the opinion of those who hold power is important.
The sources of obtaining information by opinion leaders vary across cultures. In individualistic cultures the opinion leaders receive their information from external sources, such as the media; in collectivistic cultures, they receive information from internal sources, such as social networks. In collectivistic cultures the information received from the media is regarded as less reliable than the information received from social networks (DeMooij, 2004).
220.127.116.11 Family decision-making
The degree of influence of family is stronger in collectivistic cultures than in individualistic cultures because of the dependency on other family members. In South
Korea, the extended family, neighbors and friends have greater influence on purchase decisions in the United States (Park - Jun, 2003).
In Japan, when choosing a tourist destination, all members of the families participate in the decision. The chosen destination should be preferred by everyone to preserve group harmony (Reisinger - Turner, 1997c, 1999a).
18.104.22.168 Buying roles
In collectivistic cultures purchasing decisions are made collectively, in consensus with the group, family, friends, and colleagues. Friends and colleagues have more influence on consumers than media and advertising or sales people. Parents and grandparents initiate, influence and decide about the purchases. Children are taught to follow parental guidelines. In individualistic cultures, decisions are made on an individual basis. Although parents can be involved in decision-making, children are taught to have their own opinions and decide about their own needs. Children often initiate and influence the purchases. In high power distance cultures, elders and seniors play an important role in decision-making. They often influence and decide about the final purchases In Hispanic families, husbands dominate in the more important decision phases and decide what to buy, whereas wives dominate in the minor phases and suggest the purchase (Kenkel, 1961). Husbands decide about purchasing cars or travel, and wives decide about purchasing home appliances (Webster, 1994). Husbands decide about important and functional product attributes, such as price, whilewives concentrate on minor and aesthetic product attributes, such as color (Davis, 1970; Woodside - Motes,
1979). Although North Americans also possess masculine and feminine traditional roles that determine who buys what, these roles are not so rigid as in the collectivistic cultures. 22.214.171.124 Level of decision-making
There are variations in the individual’s involvement in the purchase decision and level of decision-making across cultures. In the collectivistic and high-context cultures, individuals actively gather information and make decisions. The context of making decisions is more important than verbal messages to convince the consumer to buy.
The level of decision-making is more extensive than in individualistic cultures. The focus is on the development of dependency and feelings in order to draw the consumer’s attention. In individualistic cultures, the focus is on arguments and rational aspects of the decision-making (DeMooij, 2004).
In individualistic and low-uncertainty-avoidance cultures, individuals are not so much involved in the decision-making process. The level of decision is more routine and limited. Purchases are often made on impulse. People go to shops with no intentions to buy, yet they always buy something. Such impulsive buying in individualistic cultures is related to the need for variety, novelty, stimulation, and thrill. On the other hand, in collectivistic cultures, where the focus is on interdependence, emotional control, and moderation, purchases are more planned
Lee (2005) noted that Chinese consumers conduct internal and external information searches and compare alternatives as much as possible; impulse purchases are not likely to happen. ‘‘Compare three shops before purchasing’’ is the most widely accepted approach of information searching in China. Before making a final buying decision, Chinese consumers spend a lot of time browsing, and therefore are disinclined to convenience or impulse buying. Chinese consumers fully plan or partially plan their purchasers. The waste of money is shameful and should be avoided (Gong,
126.96.36.199 Buying new products
The adaption of new products and acceptance of ideas varies across cultures. In individualistic and low-uncertainty cultures, adaption of new ideas and products, and traveling to new places and meeting new people happens faster than in collectivistic and high-uncertainty-avoidance cultures. In individualistic cultures, people want more choice and novelty; thus new ideas, products, and behavior are initiated and even demanded. The reason for such behavior is the drive for achievement and success. Without new ideas and change one cannot enhance one’s own social standing and self-esteem, and compete and succeed. In collectivistic cultures, the adaption of new ideas and products is slower. People are cautious about new ideas, traveling to new places, and meeting new people. In low-uncertainty-avoidance cultures, the percentage of early adapters is higher than in high-uncertainty-avoidance cultures. In high-uncertainty-avoidance and collectivistic cultures there is a higher percentage of late adapters.
For example, in Japanese cultures (high collectivistic and high-uncertainty-avoidance) people are very cautious about new products, ideas and strangers. Also, Chinese consumers are reluctant to try new products or services, and traveling to new destinations due to risk aversion.
Chinese consumers tend to enjoy available things and use products that are out of date but still in good condition. It is unlikely for a Chinese consumer to change brands or destinations for more novelty or variation. It is said that
Chinese are slow in accepting new products. However, since the Chinese belong to a low-uncertainty-avoidance culture, they seem to be the least cautious about adaption of something that is new.
14.3.3 Criteria and product evaluation
National culture influences assigning different importance weightings to the five
SERVQUAL dimensions of service quality (Furrer, Liu, - Sudharsham, 2000). Customers with a Western cultural background rely more on tangible cues from the physical environment than customers with an Asian cultural background. The hedonic dimension of the consumption experience is more important for Western consumers than for
Asians (Winsted, 1997).
According to Tsaur, Lin, - Wu (2005), there are differences in all dimensions of service quality among three cultural groups: persons of English Heritage, Asians, and
Europeans. Accordingly, the English-Heritage group perceives better service quality for ‘‘tangibles,’’ ‘‘reliability,’’ ‘‘assurance,’’ and ‘‘empathy’’ than the Asian and European groups. The English-Heritage group relies more on tangible cues from a physical environment to evaluate service quality than Asians and Europeans. The English
Heritage and European groups are more ‘‘loyal’’ in their behavioral intentions than the
Asian group, and the English Heritage group is also more willing to pay more for service than the Asian and European groups.
Quality of interpersonal relationships is a key factor in determining the Asian customers’ service-encounter evaluation, while Western customers place more emphasis on goal completion, efficiency, and time saving. Asian tourists give significantly lower ratings for all the relational quality service attributes compared to their Western counterparts. Asian tourists assess service in terms of staff understanding the guest’s problems and needs, dependability of service, and effective responsiveness. On the other hand,Western tourists assess service in terms of the ability of service providers to develop an atmosphere of welcoming and willingness to help, which suggests that
Western tourists seek more intangible aspects of service that are over and above basic service provision. (Tsang - Ap, 2007).
Since Asian countries are characterized by large power distance, they also require the providers to pay attention to social hierarchy. Since Western customers are characterized as having small power distance, customers accept less status differences and expect more egalitarian service (Mattila, 1999b, 1999c). For example, routine Western customer–employee service encounters do not satisfy Korean guests because they ignore the importance of status differences. Koreans expect a formal relationship in a service encounter, especially in upscale, expensive restaurants. Koreans avoid unnecessary involvement in service encounters; they do not desire familiarity with service providers whose social status differs from their own.
Korean service providers are required to show respect for social distance and avoid expressions of familiarity, which is in contrast to Americans (Kong - Jogaratnam,
Expectations from service also vary across cultures. For example, the Japanese are more demanding and have higher service expectations than other international tourists.
Japanese tourists demand more attention and care than American tourists (Ahmed
- Krohn, 1992). The Japanese also have higher expectations in terms of detail, aesthetics, quality, and service (Turcq - Usunier, 1985).
Tourists from Great Britain, the United States, Australia, Japan, and Taiwan have different expectations for hotel service quality. It was found that British tourists have the highest expectations, followed by tourists from the United States, Australia, Taiwan, and Japan. Japanese tourists have the lowest expectations for the tangible and the empathic dimensions of service quality. The Taiwanese tourists also have lower expectations for the empathic dimensions in terms of providing, caring, and giving individual attention to the tourist (Mok - Armstrong, 1998).
Preferences for service timing also vary across cultures. International guests in casual restaurants have different preferences for service timing. American tourists accept a longer waiting time prior to seating, whereas guests from Hong Kong accept a longer waiting time for the check upon the conclusion of the meal. The US guests perceive a prolonged wait for the check to be a sign of neglectful service (Becker -
In general, it was found that tourists from individualistic cultures demand more efficient, prompt, and error-free service than those from collectivistic cultures, where orientation toward people and sincerity shown by service employees is the most important concern. Individualistic customers have higher expectations of assurance from service providers than collectivistic customers because they expect service providers to give them confidence about the service they are receiving (Donthu -
Yoo, 1998). However, it was also argued that individualists maintain a distance between themselves and the service providers, and use the tangible elements of service to reduce the closeness of the interaction (Furrer, Liu, - Sudharshan, 2000). Individualists also consider personalized service as being important relative to those in collectivistic cultures, where consistency is more important than personalized treatment
(Kong - Jogaratnam, 2007).
Further, it was found that tourists coming from countries with greater cultural distance are less demanding and more tolerant in evaluating service quality (Weiermair,
2000). For example, Asian visitors to Hong Kong are more critical in judging the service they receive than their Western counterparts because the culture of Asian tourists is much closer to that of Hong Kong.
Buyers from Western countries place greater emphasis on product attributes designed to offer curiosity, utility (e.g., exploration of new product offerings) than buyers from Asian countries (Jones - McCleary, 2005).
Studies show that culturally different consumers have different perceptions of products made in different countries, and these diverse perceptions have impact on alternative evaluations (Lee, 2005). For example, Chinese consumers regard imported products as better than domestic ones (Tai, 1998). Chinese have more favorable attitudes toward imported consumer products than domestic ones for attributes such as quality, design, innovation, customer service, and overall value (Lee, 2005).
The acceptable price range for Chinese consumers is narrower than that for Westerners
(Gong, 2003), partly due to the relatively lower purchasing power of Chinese consumers compared to Westerners, combined with Confucian cultural influences and the strong role of thrift. However, due to the influence of large power distance and collectivism, Chinese consumers tend to put heavy weight on the social risks involved in purchasing, especially when the purchase activities are related to gift-giving. Chinese also believe that a ‘‘cheap product is never good’’; purchasing a cheap product may cause buyers to lose face and harm the relationship between individuals (Lee, 2005).
They also think that cheap products have quality problems or other defects.
Moreover, national culture influences the evaluation of travel services (Crotts -
Erdmann, 2000) and destinations. In general, visitors from Western cultures tend to rate their experiences at vacation destinations higher than those from Eastern cultures, but the strength of their ratings is not consistent. Even though visitors from Western cultures rate their satisfaction highest, the likelihood of returning to the same destinations is relatively low in comparison to other cultures (McCleary, Weaver,
- Hsu, 2006).
14.3.4 Purchase decision
Culture is being recognized as a major reason why people in different countries make different decisions (Hofstede, 1980; Kluckhohn, 1951; Rokeach, 1973). Individualists make decisions differently than the collectivists. Individualists are in control of their decisions, while collectivists allow others to make decisions for them. In fatalistic cultures people leave the decisions to uncontrollable higher-order forces such as
God, luck, or faith. In some other cultures, people postpone decisions (manana syndrome = do it tomorrow) (DeMooij, 2004).
Individualists make decisions on an individual basis, while collectivists make decisions in consensus with the group. Individualists attribute their behavior to their personal characteristics and emotions; their buying behavior is more emotion driven.
Collectivists, on the other hand, attribute their behavior to situational factors; their buying behavior is less emotional and more rational (McDonald, 1995; Usunier - Lee,
Studies on Chinese purchasing behavior show that the Chinese have deep roots in
Confucianism and emphasize thrift, diligence, and value consciousness. Thrift is highly advocated and the Chinese people ‘‘save for a rainy day’’ instead of ‘‘living for today’’ or ‘‘buying now and paying later.’’ It is socially desirable to save money and be a meticulous shopper in China (Lee, 2005). Chinese consumers are saving oriented.
Borrowing money is widely seen as shameful because it means living beyond one’s means. Chinese have an aversion toward using credit; they prefer to purchase products with cash instead of credit cards (Gavin, 1994). Chinese consumers watch what they buy and how they spend their hard-earned money. For the Chinese, shopping is mainly a planned, calculated task to perform. Chinese consumers are more conservative, utilitarian, and functionally oriented when compared with Western counterparts (Li,
1998). It is believed that consumers who keep using the old products never become repeat purchasers or users.
188.8.131.52 Purchase risk
A number of studies have shown that perceived risk varies across countries (
Goszczynska, Tyszka, - Slovic, 1991; Hoover, Green, - Saegert, 1978; Verhage,
Yavas, - Green, 1990).
For example, risk perceptions significantly vary between the People’s
Republic of China (PRC), the United States, Germany and Poland (Weber - Hsee,
1998). American, Mexican, Dutch, Turkish, Thai and Saudi consumers are different in their risk perception for consumer products (Yavas, Verhage, - Green, 1992).
Tourists from highly risk-adverse cultures behave differently than tourists from lowrisk- avoidance cultures. For example, Japanese travelers engage in risk/uncertaintyreducing behaviors by seeking pre-trip information from Travel Channel members, purchasing pre-paid tour packages, traveling in larger groups, staying for shorter periods, and visiting fewer destinations than the Germans (Money - Crotts, 2003).
The higher the cultural distance between visitor and host cultures, the higher the likelihood that the international visitor engages in more risk-reducing travel behaviors through the use of travel packages, tour operators and traveling in larger numbers on shorter trips to fewer destinations (Crotts, 2004).
Litvin, Crotts, and Hefner (2004) noted that tourists from the high UAI cultures
(Japanese and Greek) acquire more information from friends, relatives, state and city travel offices, and tour operators than tourists from low UAI cultures (the
Germans and British), who use travel guides and information obtained from marketing- dominated sources, such as advertisements on TV and radio. High UAI tourists also spend fewer days on trip planning, whereas those from low UAI cultures find pleasure in trip planning and choose to spend more time in arranging its details. The less-risk-avoidant tourists are more likely to travel alone, or travel with fewer parties than tourists from high UAI cultures. Those from high
UAI cultures purchase significantly more pre-packaged travel tours, whereas those from low UAI cultures are more likely to rent cars. High UAI tourists visit fewer destinations and spend fewer nights in the visited country and during the length of their journey, as compared with low UAI tourists (Litvin, Crotts, -
Travelers of different nationalities may perceive the same risk differently (Richardson
- Crompton, 1988). There are significant differences in perceived risk between
American and Chinese-Malaysian students when choosing Australia as a holiday destination (Summers - McColl-Kennedy, 1998) and among international tourists traveling to Israel (Fuchs - Reichel, 2004). Tourists from the United States, Hong Kong and
Australia perceive more travel risk, feel less safe and are more anxious and reluctant to travel than tourists from the United Kingdom, Canada, and Greece (Reisinger -
Risk perceptions influence perceptions of safety (Reisinger - Mavondo, 2005).
Safety perceptions also vary across cultures. For example, international tourists attending the 2000 America’s Cup in Auckland, New Zealand, placed a higher importance on safety than domestic tourists (Barker, Page, - Meyer, 2003). Chinese visitors feel relatively safe and Japanese visitors feel relatively unsafe compared with European visitors. The Japanese are more interested in security attributes of tourism products than North American and European business groups (Suh - Gartner, 2004). Also, the needs for safety versus adventure differ among Japanese, Korean and American tourists
(Pizam - Jeong, 1996).
14.3.5 Post-purchase behavior/decision
The degree to which consumers achieve satisfaction or experience dissatisfaction
(cognitive dissonance) is greatly influenced by national culture. In collectivistic societies, customer satisfaction often depends on trust, caring, shared duty and long-term commitment, such as provision of services beyond contract terms, attending to all concerns, expressing gratitude for the relationships and rewards loyalty, and placing customer interests at times above those of the firm. In individualistic societies it is believed that customer satisfaction depends on efficiency, promptness and error-free service. However, it was found that for American diners’ satisfaction the personalization of service is important, whereas for Korean diners individual recognition and personalization are less important. Koreans believe that service providers should be punctual, respectful, courteous, and caring, rather than personal. Koreans are also most likely to return to a restaurant where they have previously enjoyed their dining experiences
(Kong - Jogaratnam, 2007).
It was also found that those who reside in high cultural distance (CD) countries
(with more cultural differences between visitor and host cultures) and travel in fully prepackaged tours (to minimize potential friction) report higher satisfaction with travel experience and probability of repeating a visit than those who do not. Those who reside in low CD countries and engage in free and independent travel report higher satisfaction and repeat visit intent compared to those with more structure in their visit (Crotts -McKercher, 2006). Those from highly masculine societies have also higher dissatisfaction than those from low-to-moderate masculine societies (Crotts -
184.108.40.206 Loyalty and commitment
According to the reinforcement theory, pleasant outcomes tend to generate repeat behavior, whereas unpleasant outcomes do not generate repeated behavior. In order to motivate consumers for repeat purchase or visitation, one has to develop positive perceptions to enhance their satisfaction. Satisfaction, in turn, does produce loyalty and commitment.
Customer loyalty and commitment vary across cultures. The difference in customer loyalty depends on the levels of expected and perceived satisfaction after the experience.
For example, collectivistic buyers are usually more loyal and committed in their buying behaviors than individualistic buyers. The Chinese and Koreans may even sacrifice themselves for the benefits of others. However, Philippino consumers were found to be less loyal than American consumers (Sun, Horn, - Merritt, 2004). A lower level of customer loyalty for Philippinos can result from a lack of brand savvy in comparison to Americans and being less financially satisfied. Also, tourists from less masculine cultures are more loyal when evaluating travel services, while tourists from more masculine societies report strong customer defection (Crotts - Erdmann, 2000).
220.127.116.11 Criticism and complaints
Dissatisfied consumers can (1) voice their dissatisfaction, (2) spread negative word of mouth, (3) switch to another product, or (4) take legal action. In collectivistic cultures, where the focus is on maintaining social harmony and loyalty, consumers hesitate to complain by voicing their complaints or taking legal action when they experience postpurchase problems. For example, the Chinese are less likely than the Americans to conduct a formal complaint for a faulty product (Lowe - Corkindale, 1998). The Chinese believe that nature has a way by which all things become what they are, and that it is not wise to hold too tightly onto what one has gained or lost (Chan, 1963). The Chinese also believe in Yuan (Karma): things that are far beyond one’s control. While in the individualistic cultures people desire to seek control over their life, the Chinese submit to their own individual fate–fatalism. They generally have low expectations toward the purchased product and attribute failure of the product to fate rather than to the company or manufacturers (Yao, 1988).
The desire to maintain social harmony discourages Chinese consumers from showing their dissatisfaction. Even if they want to complain, they express themselves in a vague way. Chinese believe that a complaint to a certain degree is a manifestation of not making a wise decision. Also, one can lose face in front of others if no positive outcome from the complaint is obtained (Lowe - Corkindale, 1998).
Since Confucianism requires individuals to adapt to the context, control emotions, avoid competition and conflict, and maintain harmony (Lee, 2005), the Chinese follow the principles of modesty and humility which tend to increase Chinese consumers’ level of tolerance with dissatisfaction (Lowe - Corkindale, 1998). However, they are more likely to spread a negative word of mouth to in-group members. In contrast, in individualistic and masculine cultures, consumers often complain widely and even take legal actions.
Tourists from higher-uncertainty-avoidance cultures have also a higher intention to praise and compliment the service providers if they experience positive service quality. If they experience a problem, they show a lower intention to switch to another service provider, to give negative word of mouth, or to complain (Liu -
However, the study shows that young Taiwanese consumers are more likely to switch restaurant providers than the US consumers. Switching to other service providers allows them to look for new ways to satisfy the need for curiosity, novelty and variety, express their individuality, achieve stimulation in consumer choices, and escape from collectivistic, rigid core cultural values. Taiwanese are less likely than the US consumers to complain face-to-face about poor service in order to avoid hurting another person’s face, causing shame and embarrassment (Lin - Mattila, 2006).
According to Confucian beliefs, people should be guided in their lives by forgiveness and compromise to maintain social harmony. In contrast, North Americans who focus on their individual needs believe that a person in control of his or her own destiny is more likely to voice dissatisfaction than a Taiwanese counterpart (Hui - Au, 2001).
Other studies show that in response to unsatisfactory service in a hotel Americans are more likely to stop patronizing the hotel, complain to hotel management, and warn family and friends. Japanese, on the other hand, are less likely to complain to management and tell friends and relatives about unsatisfactory experiences (Huang, Huang, -
Complaint behavior also varies across cultures. For example, guests in hotel restaurants in Hong Kong, SAR, are more likely to complain about the food tastiness, temperature and freshness than the Houston guests in Houston, Texas, US. The
Hong Kong guests also complain more about the noise level, while the Houston guests complain more about temperature and decor of hotel restaurants. Service efficiency, greetings, attentiveness, and helpfulness are the top service attributes about which guests complain; however, they are also rated differently; the Hong
Kong guests rate ‘‘greetings’’ higher than the Houston guests (DeFranco, Wortman,
Lam, - Countryman, 2005).
18.104.22.168 Product disposal
National cultures have profound affect on what the consumers do with a product after the purchase. For example, the collectivistic consumers who follow the value of thrift and modesty are more likely to use the product as long as it works and delivers benefits. They also save old products for later or give the products away to children or families. In contrast, the individualistic consumers who follow the value of pleasure and immediate gratification are more likely to dispose of an old or used product and buy a new one. European consumers are more likely to repair a product rather than dispose of it. Members of cultures which are more prone to repairs and reuse than to replacement and buying new products cannot be relied upon as repeat purchasers. 14.3.6 Beyond the purchase decision
22.214.171.124 Memories and meanings
Culture affects memory. Those who are from the same culture better remember significant activities and events in their life that are consistent with their cultural background. Those from similar cultures also use similar cues to memorize messages.
For example, Asian speakers from high context cultures, such as the Chinese, rely more on visual representation, whereas English speakers from low context cultures rely more on verbal sounds. Visualization facilitates memory in high-context cultures such as Chinese and Japanese, while explicit repetition of the same word facilitates memory in low-context cultures (DeMooij, 2004).
Preferences and meanings also vary across cultures. For example, in Europe, white is associated with purity and weddings, whereas black is associated with mourning. In contrast, in Japan, white is associated with mourning, and black is associated with happiness. In Japan, China and Korea, purple is associated with expensive, whereas in the United States purple is associated with inexpensive (DeMooij, 2004).
126.96.36.199 Emotions and feelings
Emotions such as pain, joy, sadness, anger, fear, stress, or excitement represent a very important concept in tourism. Tourism is all about feeling better mentally, physically, and spiritually. Emotional responses to consumption of tourism services can explain satisfaction and repeat patronage or destination visitation. Emotions are learned by growing up in a culture or by exposure to the culture. Emotions are culturally dependent.
Although many emotions, such as happiness, fear, anger, or sadness, are universal, people in different cultures express emotions differently.
Emotions can be expressed visually (by using mimics and face expressions), vocally
(by using voice), and by using other senses (smell or touch). A smile can be used to express happiness in one culture, or distrust in another culture, or even an invitation for a social interaction in another culture. In collectivistic societies people control their emotions and often suppress expressions of negative feelings, displeasure or dissatisfaction because itwould negatively reflect on their in-group.
They always try to express politeness.
In collectivistic cultures the display of emotions depends on the context and belonging to a group. Expression of anger and frustration is more easily tolerated in individualistic than in collectivistic cultures. In low-uncertainty-avoidance cultures people have less control over the expressions of emotions, whereas in high- uncertainty- avoidance cultures people display emotions and often show embarrassment and guilt.
For example, in Japan, criticizing or complaining in public is a serious breach of social etiquette. In contrast, expressing feelings and thoughts in public and praising good and loud talkers is a normal practice in the West. In Japan, a humble, apologetic attitude is an appropriate way of showing emotions. Openly expressing emotions is regarded as rude. Westerners are perceived as too cold, too objective, and uncaring about the emotional aspect of personal relations. Those who talk too much and raise their voices are perceived to be insincere and creating friction. In Indonesian society the expression of emotions, negative and positive, is very rare, as they disrupt the smooth flow of relationships (except in the presence of family members and close friends). Expressions of love are also not accepted in public. In contrast, Australians have less control over the expression of negative and positive feelings, and more informal behavior is accepted (Reisinger - Turner,
In collectivistic culture, emotions are more relational and social, whereas in individualistic cultures emotions are more individual. In collectivistic cultures emotions are ‘‘other focused’’ (e.g., sympathy, shame, feelings of interpersonal communion, feelings of social obligations, sense of saving face), whereas in individualistic cultures, emotions are ego-focused (e.g., anger, frustration, pride) (DeMooij, 2004).
Anger, happiness and sadness are expressed differently in Western and Asian cultures. In Western cultures people smile when they are happy, cry when they face grief, and open their mouth and eyes when they are surprised. In Asian collectivistic cultures, people often smile or laugh to hide sorrows, embarrassment or shame. Such a smile is not a reflection of happiness. In Asian collectivistic cultures people often cry when they are happy.
Emotional responses to negative service encounters differ across cultures. While
UK customers blame service employees for failing to provide the required customer service, African customers who emphasize the need to conform to rules and expect the sellers to be as helpful emphasize feelings of sadness (humiliation and embarrassment).
Such feelings are more likely to influence switching service providers
In some cultures emotional words include multiple feelings. For example, the
Japanese jodo include emotions such as anger, happiness, and sadness as well as consideration, and calculations. The German Schadenfreude means malicious delight, enjoying other people’s suffering or bad luck (DeMooij, 2004).
Understanding the concept of emotions can help to determine the quality of the individual’s motivations, needs, experiences and the outcomes of these experiences.
However, emotions can be accurately understood only by members of the same national culture.
Numerous studies identified behavioral differences among tourists from different cultural groups. These studies suggest that national culture influences the individual’s personal characteristics, such as gender roles, lifestyle and activities, personality, and self, as well as psychological characteristics, such as motivations and needs, perceptions and image, learning, knowledge, and attitudes. National culture influences tourist’s decision process, including need recognition, information search and choice of information sources, product/destination evaluation and post-purchase behavior. National culture decides how the following influence the tourist: reference groups, opinion leaders and families. It also determines buying roles, levels of decision-making, and preferences for new products/destinations. National culture influences the tourist’s perceptions of purchase and travel risk, loyalty and commitment to a purchase, and its criticism. Finally, national culture affects emotions and feelings that decide about the tourist’s needs and experiences, and the outcomes of these experiences.
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