Relational Versus Group Collectivism and Optimal Distinctiveness in a Consumption Context

Robert Kreuzbauer, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
Chi-yue Chiu, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
Shengdong Lin, Sun Yat-Sen University, China
There has been ample criticism of the individualism – collectivism distinction in both consumer and cross-cultural psychology. Recent research (Brewer & Chen, 2007) for instance has argued that there is a conceptual confusion about the meaning of ingroups that constitute the target of collectivism. Whereas all societies must meet primary needs for both individual and social identity, it is argued that individuals from Easterner societies define their collective identity in form of a depersonalized social category (group collectivism) while Westerners rely on a network of interpersonal relationships (relational collectivism). We tested this new framework in a consumer context. In two experimental studies we provide empirical evidence that Easterners make consumption choices that satisfy belongingness through relational collectivism whereas Westerners prefer aspects of group collectivism.
[ to cite ]:
Robert Kreuzbauer, Chi-yue Chiu, and Shengdong Lin (2009) ,"Relational Versus Group Collectivism and Optimal Distinctiveness in a Consumption Context", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 742-742.