Do we measure what we expect to measure? Some issues in the measurement of culture in consumer research

Gong Sun, Steven D'Alessandro, Lester Johnson, Hume Winzar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)
32 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to highlight the problems in the measurement of culture in consumer studies and offers suggestions for remedies.
Design/methodology/approach: Drawing on literature from related fields, the paper discusses some general issues in the measurement of culture and draws consumer researchers’ attention to the flaws in the common cultural measures in consumer research. Implications for future research are also provided.
Findings: The paper highlights two main shortcomings of commonly used culture instruments which are seldom taken into account by consumer researchers. Specifically, the commonly used culture dimensions in consumer studies do not have clear conceptual boundaries. Moreover, important differences between the different approaches to culture measuring (self- vs group-referenced and values vs practices) are always overlooked. The paper suggests that consumer research needs more focussed and refined measures and discusses which approach is better in which context.
Originality/value: This paper explores the issues of conceptual ambiguity and approach inconsistency in order to draw consumer researchers’ attention to the flaws in common measures of culture. Only when one measures what one expects to measure will the relationship that one observe between these cultural dimensions and consumer behavior be valid.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)338-362
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Marketing Review
Volume31
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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