Homogenization and Cultural Differentiation of Customer Expectations in Global Segments: The Case of Business Executives
33 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2003
Date Written: October 2002
Global segments (e.g., business executives, MTV-nurtured teenagers) evolve from worldwide-shared activities that over time shape customer expectations. We argue that homogenization of expectations in global segments is not perfect. We identify forces that drive customer expectations towards homogeneity and others that hold them culturally bound. Expectations that are likely to become homogeneous are those that are instrumental to the worldwide activity that serves as a basis for formation of the global segment. Expectations that remain culturally bound and call for local adaptation relates to (1) cross-cultural variations in the centrality of the segmentation basis to one's general philosophy in life, and (2) product-related effect of the national culture from which the segment member is drawn. Hypotheses are tested by means-end analysis of expectations of international business executives from North America, East Asia, and South-Asia. Results, broadly consistent with predictions, are discussed in terms of the local-versus-global balance.
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