“Accept a Gift Or Reject It? That Is Not a Simple Question”: a Cross-Cultural Study of Gift Acceptance and the Mediating Role of Feelings of Appreciation and Indebtedness

Hao Shen, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, China
Fang Wan, University of Manitoba, Canada
Robert S. Wyer, Jr., Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, China
Asians who receive a gift typically feel not only less appreciative than North Americans do but also more obligated to reciprocate. Both factors lead Asians to be less likely than North Americans to accept a gift if it is offered. Three studies confirmed this cultural difference in gift acceptance and its underlying mechanism. A fourth study showed that the age of the gift giver can influence gift acceptance through its impact on feelings of indebtedness, and this influence is greater among Asians than among North Americans. Finally, a fifth, field experiment provided actual behavioral evidence of the proposed cultural differences in gift acceptance and the reason for their occurrence.
[ to cite ]:
Hao Shen, Fang Wan, and Robert S. Wyer, Jr. (2009) ,"“Accept a Gift Or Reject It? That Is Not a Simple Question”: a Cross-Cultural Study of Gift Acceptance and the Mediating Role of Feelings of Appreciation and Indebtedness", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 743-743.