Culture, Relationship Norm, and Dual Entitlement
58 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2018
Date Written: May 26, 2018
According to the dual entitlement principle, consumers find it fair for firms to price asymmetrically to cost changes, that is, increasing prices when costs increase but maintaining prices when costs decrease. However, we conduct a meta-analysis revealing that asymmetric pricing is less prevalent in collectivistic (vs. individualistic) countries (study 1). We propose a fairness-based explanation, demonstrating that interdependent consumers in collectivistic cultures perceive asymmetric pricing to be less fair than do independent consumers in individualistic cultures (studies 2A-2C, 4 and 5). We attribute this cultural variation in the endorsement of dual entitlement to culture-specific relationship norms. Specifically, we argue that while the practice of asymmetric pricing is consistent with the exchange norms among independent consumers that emphasize self-interest pursuit, it is inconsistent with the communal norms among interdependent consumers mandating firm benevolence. Supporting this argument, we find that (a) directly manipulating communal (vs. exchange) norms yields similar differences in fairness perceptions that mimics those due to culture (studies 3 and follow-ups), (b) the cultural differences are mediated by the communal mandate for firm benevolence (study 4), and (c) the cultural differences are mitigated when a firm frames asymmetric pricing as benevolent (study 5). We conclude by discussing the theoretical and managerial implications of these findings for dual entitlement and asymmetric pricing, as well as for the role of culture in buyer-seller relationships and price fairness.
Keywords: dual entitlement, culture, relationship norms, price fairness, asymmetric pricing
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