The Impact of culture on the adoption of high technology products Sue Slowpokes School of Marketing and Management, Charles Strut university, Bathurst, Australia Denies G. Gujarat School of Marketing and Management, Charles Strut University, Bathurst, Australia Although culture appears to be an important element In consumer behavior, few have researched its direct impact on the adoption of innovation. In an exploratory study, research was conducted with migrants from Vietnam and Poland to examine the Impact of culture on the adoption of high technology products.
Specifically, data were examined for differences in adoption of these products teen Vietnamese and Polish migrants to Australia; and the effect of cultural factors, specifically, “traditions”, “religion” and “fatality’ (beliefs about man’s inability to control natural on adoption. This research was a preliminary study, but the results Indicate that culture has an Important role In the adoption process of high technology products. Introduction Culture is defined as “the norms, beliefs and customs that are learned from society and lead to common patterns of behavior” (Easel, 1987, p. 97). Central to any culture is a common set of values which determine what Is considered socially acceptable behavior. These learned values also determine the forms of social organization such as the family, education and social class system which characterize a society Culture reflects the belief that people acquire values through experiences in specific situations and that behavior cannot be understood or predicted in the context of a specific environment. Vinson et al. 1977) contend that individuals arrive at (monetary) ‘ales through economic exchange and consumption, at social values through familial and peer group interaction, and at religious ‘ales through religious instruction. Understanding cultural differences is an important element in formulating marketing strategy (Munson and McIntyre, 1979). Writers cite numerous examples of the influence of cultural values in consumer decision making, and its importance in ‘drawing up” international marketing strategies (Douglas and Dubos, 1977).
Although the identification of these culturally related differences in buyer behavior is of concern for international marketers and researchers alike, there is no consistent theoretical perspective which confirms the impact of cultural forces on purchasing behavior. Rhea impact of culture on the purchase process Marketing Intelligence & Planning 15/2  97-105 O MAC University Press 0263-4503] Culture is an important factor to take into consideration when entering overseas markets.
Douglas and Dubos (1977) highlight some of the ways in which cultural factors can influence customer response patterns, and the need to consider these factors in planning international marketing strategies. They claim there is no consistent theoretical perspective about the impact of cultural forces on behavior in general, and although cultural influence has been the subject of study in many of the social sciences, different definitions of culture are often used.
The most common recurring themes central to any culture is a common set of values, that determine forms of social organization, system and roles and status positions for members of that society Elements of this definition were fairly consistent with other researchers suggesting that culture is one of the “underlying determinants of consumer behavior” (Henry, 1976, p. 121).
In marketing products internationally, therefore, understanding cultural practices can be useful in assessing whether a single strategy can be effective in different national environments, or whether several strategies would be adopted, each geared to the different cultural setting. Although Douglas and Dubos did not undertake research as such, other writers such as Henry (1976) attempted to show empirical evidence of the impact of culture on consumer behavior.
Henrys research did not investigate the possible linkages through intervening variables or hypothetical constructs through which cultural relationships could be assumed to Nor, but rather his study focused on testing specific cultural behavior and the Importance of these dimensions with respect to other demographic correlates.
His research suggests that specific cultural dimensions of Nan’s relation to nature, time, personal activity and other people are useful predictors of consumer behavior on products involving a high involvement decision process, although further research needs to be conducted to explore whether similar value dimension correlations can be observed with other durable and non-durable goods. International marketing aims to establish similar patterns of consumer behavior in culturally dissimilar markets.
As part of the scope of international marketing, Williams 11991) claims that companies have been trying to achieve economies of scale by harmonize heir manufacturing and marketing activities in different countries. That is, international marketing seeks to establish similar patterns of consumer behavior in culturally dissimilar markets. Williams argues that people from (97] adoption of high technology products 98 ] different countries react in different ways because those are physically different, and have different climates, economies, religion and history He proposes that people are influx. Once not only by their attitudes and motivations, but also by their surroundings and the context in which they make their behavior decisions. In his research, Williams adopted the nouns and Rubidium’s system of agricultural consumer characterizations (ACS) which defines a base set of core consumer motivations, or values, that are important in determining people’s purchasing behavior. These values were then classified according to their dominant shaping effect on attitudes and behavior of that individual.
Williwaw’s research aimed to classify people across cultural boundaries according to their dominant motivations in life. His findings, in a nondurable product market, indicated that it is possible to create a “robust framework for analyzing cultural similarities and differences in a market” (Williams, 1991, p. 77). Irish therefore has implications for co-ordination international marketing activities for particular product. Although attitudes and attitude change have long been acknowledged as important contributors to consumer behavior, values and the ways in which they influence the behavior of consumers is not clear.
Vinson et al. (1977) investigated the impact of orientations” which incorporates attitudes and personal motives, on the importance of product attributes, the appeal of various consumer products and a number of social issues. To do this, they undertook an exploratory study to investigate whether objects from two culturally distinct regions orientations, and, if so, the extent to which these value differences may be related to attitudes towards automobiles and the attributes of automobile differences.
Their research showed that an individual’s attitudes are based on his/her values, and changing values could have a profound effect on attitudes and behavior. This suggests that marketers must keep in tune with their markets, not Just for the entry into a new market, but on an ongoing basis. Ransack et al. (1991) investigate the role of cultural values in explaining differences in the willingness to try new products to help roared the understanding of innovation resistance across cultures.
They chose three ‘rabbles that seemed to offer a more direct explanation of the differences in innovativeness across cultures: fatality (all events are predetermined by fate) traditionalism (degree of one’s adherence to particularly cultural ‘ales) and religiosity (the role religion plays in the formation of values, attitudes and behavior). They looked at the adoption of both durable and non-durable products across five countries which represented varying degrees of societal and economic development using these three variables. In their study, Tantalus et al. 1991) found that differences across the five countries in terms of culture and innovation resistance were not particularly enlightening, and it seemed important to determine why those differences exist. Tantalus et al. Conclude that the study of innovation resistance tendencies of ‘arioso cultures may shed light on the proper design and implementation of marketing mix strategies, suggesting where efforts to reduce trade barriers might be most beneficial. There are limitations which should be taken into account when measuring culture. Vinson et al. 1977) and Clark (1990) believe hat learned values stemming from culture are not easy to measure because each individual is unique in the way specific product attributes and brands are evaluated and that the validity of research can be hindered by generalizations about people and nations. Clark suggests generalizations about people and nations are not possible, and even if they Newer possible they would be clouded by variation in national groups because such questions should be framed so they reflect the relevant dimensions of the “culture” concept and avoid the temptation to predict individual behavior.
Research objectives and research teeth Rhea purpose of this exploratory research study is to identify the relationship between the importance of learned values and the buyer adoption process, through exploring the adoption of consumer products by Polish and Vietnamese residents who have immigrated to Australia. The products selected for investigation (dishwashers, mobile phones, home computers, video players, and video cameras) are associated with new technologies readily adopted by residents of other ‘western” countries.
The “personal toll-free” system (where emigrants residing in Australia are called by family from their “home” entry) will also be examined to explore the association between culture and a new product concept. Research objectives Irish study will examine differences in adoption of new technology and determine Neither there is an association with learned ‘ales within each culture.
Matched samples Sue Kowalski and Math similar political and economic factors allow examination of the factors that contribute to differences in the adoption of the products examined in this research between each nationality Specifically, the research objectives are to: 1 explore differences in adoption of “technology’ products between Vietnamese and Polish people residing in Sydney; 2 investigate differences in cultural ties to home countries between the two groups; on the adoption of specific high technology products between the two groups. He research will examine the propositions that: Vietnamese and Polish cultures have owned high technology products and services for different lengths of time. Vietnamese and Polish migrants display different strengths of cultural ties to their ‘home” countries. Cultural, and in particular, “traditionalism”, “fatality’ and “religion”, affect the adoption rates of new products and services by each group. Research method A questionnaire was designed for data collection.
Using measures of culture evident n the literature review, the questions sought to determine the extent of culture and the adoption of innovation. The questionnaires Newer protested on a small convenient sample and designed to collect information on the length of time of residency in Australia; extent of mixing with other cultures; types of appliances owned, importance of appliance to lifestyle; frequency and methods of contact Ninth family and friends overseas; and willingness to adopt the concept of personal toll-free telephone calling. E data were collected by personal interviews in the native language of the respondent, conducted through interpreters who spoke Vietnamese or Polish, but Newer not from a market research fieldwork company Although attempts were made to match the two populations in terms of length of time in Australia, income, sex and age, the only screening criterion used was that respondents had migrated to Australia. Therefore the sample was that of a non-probability design, a factor that could affect the reliability of the output. There were 50 completed questionnaires, 29 Vietnamese and 21 Polish.
The nationalities Newer not similar in income, although they Newer fairly well matched in terms of sex and age. The difference in income levels could be an influencing factor in deciding to purchase technology product such as a mobile phone regression analysis. Emigrants from Poland and Vietnam to Australia were chosen because these two countries have experienced constant military and political upheaval with borders constantly being shifted through war territorial settlements. In addition, both had communist governments but are moving towards market economies.
As a result, Nesters countries are lifting some of the sanctions imposed. Neither country has a high standard of living (The World in Figures, 1987), although there is a high level of literacy A total of 85-90 per cent of Vietnamese and 98 per cent of Polish are literate. Technologies are antiquated and professionals such as university professors and doctors are lower paid than those in the industrial sectors. 30th countries display strong ties to the family (Cohen, 1991; Duncan, 1983; Kim, 1978; Unguent, 1988; Robinson and Cummings, 1991), and there is a strong influence of religion.
There is an obvious difference between rural and city dwellers because of outdated communications and infrastructure. The urban dwellers tend to be more affected by Nesters influences. Emigrants from both countries tend to spend substantial money and send gifts to families and friends still residing in the “home” countries. There was no significant statistical difference or any degree of association between the Polish and Vietnamese respondents with respect to the time lived in Australia. The majority of respondents had lived in Australia more than five years.
Respondents Newer restricted to specific localities in the Sydney region where Polish and Vietnamese immigrants reside or conduct business. Therefore the results are not representative of other UAPITA cities in Australia. Results Rhea analysis attained frequencies and cross tabulations for each nationality, allowing for statistical relationships to be identified including significant differences using square, measures of association and strength of relationships between variables to test the hypotheses.
Regression analysis was also undertaken to attempt to identify the impacts adoption behavior. Cultural variables Rhea cultural variables measured included eating habits, nationalities in the neighborhood, languages spoken at home, socializing habits of adults and children, the importance 99] 1100] of religion and “fatality’, (the belief that all events are predetermined by fate). There was a significant statistical difference in the eating habits of Polish and Vietnamese.
Nearly every Vietnamese ate Vietnamese food every day, while only 19 per cent of Poles ate their national food daily Polish people tended to live in neighborhoods with mixture of nationalities or within Anglo Saxon communities, whereas nearly 85 per cent of the Vietnamese sample live in Vietnamese only or Asian communities. There Nas a strong relationship between nationality and the type of neighborhood in Inch different nationalities reside.
There is no significant difference, however, between socializing habits of each nationality 30th sets of respondents socialize with their own nationality This finding was unexpected Ninth the Polish respondents, since they tend to live in neighborhoods with mixed groups or predominantly Anglo Saxon. When at home, both groups also use their “home” language as their first language. Rhea children of migrants tend to mix with For Polish families, the children always or usually mixed with other nationalities.
For the majority of Vietnamese families, children usually mixed with other cultures. Children attend schools or tertiary education institutions where there are a mixture of different nationalities. In addition, it would be compulsory for them to learn the English language. There was a significant statistical difference between Polish and Vietnamese involvement in religious activities (frequency of personal study using a holy book).
Although 75 per cent of the Vietnamese respondents participate in religious activities at least Meekly, only 20 per cent of Polish respondents take part in religious activities this frequently ‘Fatality’, a variable identified previously s contributing to the measure of innovativeness across cultures, is defined by Ransack et al. (1991, p. 9) as “the belief that all events are predetermined by fate”.
To understand the extent of “fatality’ between the samples, respondents were asked to indicate which of the following statements best represented their feelings about man’s ability to control nature: 1 Man has never been able to control the “either and never will. It is a matter of taking it as it comes. 2 Man cannot control the weather, but precautions can be taken to limit damage from storms. 3 Man must learn to overcome and control the weather. Some day we will be able to change the weather to suit our needs. Nausea’s research found that the Chinese believe in luck, chance and fate too greater extent than Americans. For this research, it Nas anticipated that oriental cultures would be more likely to agree with the first statement where all events are determined by nature and not man. All Vietnamese respondents believed the weather will never be controlled by man. The Polish were fairly evenly distributed in their beliefs,