Follow the Herd? Group Opinions (Do Not) Matter for Collectivists

22 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2009 Last revised: 16 Mar 2010

See all articles by Eugene Y. Chan

Eugene Y. Chan

University of Technology, Sydney

Date Written: March 13, 2010


An individual’s self-orientation in terms of individualism or collectivism influences his or her judgments and evaluations. In particular, collectivists likely follow the group opinion, thus exhibiting a heuristic processing bias in persuasion by using consensus information as a heuristic cue. Two studies test this hypothesis. As expected, individualists processed the persuasive message systematically regardless of consensus. Meanwhile, collectivists processed it heuristically when there was consensus, but systematically when there was no consensus, against the expected hypothesis. Possible explanations are offered, along with a discussion of avenues for future research and implications for marketing practice.

Keywords: persuasion, self-orientation, Elaboration Likelihood Model, cultural differences, consensus, group opinion, social influence

JEL Classification: Z00

Suggested Citation

Chan, Eugene Y., Follow the Herd? Group Opinions (Do Not) Matter for Collectivists (March 13, 2010). Available at SSRN: or

Eugene Y. Chan (Contact Author)

University of Technology, Sydney ( email )

P. O. Box 123
Broadway, NSW 2007
+61 (2) 9514 3538 (Phone)
+61 (2) 9514 3535 (Fax)


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