A Tale of Two Citiesba Buying Behavior Perspective

Tao Sun, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Qimei Chen, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Tammy Fang, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Stella Liang, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
ABSTRACT - Few studies have compared US consumers with their Chinese counterparts, an increasingly significant topic if we consider the fact that the United States and China (including Hong Kong) constitute the world’s leading economies today. Based on the survey data conducted separately in Beijing and Minneapolis, the paper took the initiative to investigate differences and similarities in terms of consumer personalities between U.S. and China. First, factor analyses extracted exactly the same three dimensions of consumer personality in both survey data, a finding that largely substantiated Doyle’s fear-based personality categories. Theories of psychological security helped develop our hypothesis on differences in consumer personalities between the two cultures. Research questions concerning gender differences and gender*culture interactions were also explored. Managerial implications of the findings were discussed.
[ to cite ]:
Tao Sun, Qimei Chen, Tammy Fang, and Stella Liang (2000) ,"A Tale of Two Citiesba Buying Behavior Perspective", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 27, eds. Stephen J. Hoch and Robert J. Meyer, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 156-165.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 27, 2000      Pages 156-165

A TALE OF TWO CITIESBA BUYING BEHAVIOR PERSPECTIVE

Tao Sun, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Qimei Chen, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Tammy Fang, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Stella Liang, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

[The authors would like to thank Prof. Guoming Yu, People's Republic of China, for providing the Bejing survey data; and Prof. Kenneth O. Doyle of University of Minnesota, for his insightful typology.]

ABSTRACT -

Few studies have compared US consumers with their Chinese counterparts, an increasingly significant topic if we consider the fact that the United States and China (including Hong Kong) constitute the world’s leading economies today. Based on the survey data conducted separately in Beijing and Minneapolis, the paper took the initiative to investigate differences and similarities in terms of consumer personalities between U.S. and China. First, factor analyses extracted exactly the same three dimensions of consumer personality in both survey data, a finding that largely substantiated Doyle’s fear-based personality categories. Theories of psychological security helped develop our hypothesis on differences in consumer personalities between the two cultures. Research questions concerning gender differences and gender*culture interactions were also explored. Managerial implications of the findings were discussed.

Know yourself, know your enemy; Hundred wars, hundred victories.

Sun Zi, military strategist, 4th Century BC

There has been quite a few literature on cross-cultural survey research (Chu, 1964; Scheuch, 1968; Rokkan et al., 1969; Holt & Turner, 1970; Inkeles & Smith; 1974; Szalai & Petrella, 1977), few of which has been devoted to the empirical comparison between U.S. and China (Hsu, 1981; Pan et al., 1994). Even fewer previous research has compared U.S. consumers with their Chinese counterparts, an increasingly significant topic if we consider the fact that the United States and China (including Hong Kong) constitute the world’s leading economies today. Based on the survey data conducted separately in Beijing and Minneapolis, the paper took the initiative to investigate differences and similarities in terms of consumer personalities between U.S. and China. Our factor analyses extracted the same three dimensions of consumer personality in both survey data, a finding that largely substantiated Doyle’s fear-based personality categories (Doyle, 1998). Theories of psychological security helped develop our research questions and hypothesis on differences and similarities in consumer personalities between the two cultures. Managerial implications of the findings were discussed.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Cross-cultural Survey Research

Efforts to internationalize products present marketing managers with important challenges (Dawar & Parker, 1994). Hair care products, home/office equipment, medical products, motion pictures, consumer electronics, and various industrial products are now often launched simultaneously on two or three continents, making the "localize versus standardize" debate an urgent and important one in terms of the stakes involved (Levitt, 1983).

Cross-cultural survey is important in any research that aims to obtain a systematic understanding of the issue in question. When a researcher is confined to a specific cultural environment, it is easy for the person to judge from his or her own cultural experience, taking many so-called "facts" for granted. Therefore, one must keep his or her eyes open to foreign cultures to figure out a logical network of the facts. Even if the researcher is not particularly interested in the foreign culture surveyed, the comparison would still be interesting and useful. One can become a better analyst of his or her own consumer phenomenon if she or he can fit them into a perspective that includes evidence from other socio-economic systems (Frey, 1970).

In economic areas, cross-cultural research started with rough attempts to apply cross-cultural management and work-related decision making insight (Hofstede,1980; 1983; 1984). This was followed by more specific cross-cultural research on consumer behavior (Clark, 1990; McIntyre, Meloche & Lang, 1992; Kale, 1993). (For more information, see Applbaum & Jordt, 1996) However, we have seen fewer studies on comparing consumer behaviors between US and China, which combine to host 1.55 billion potential consumers on earth.

China comprises the world’s largest population and has traditionally represented what is known collectively as "the East." The United States, the world’s largest economy, is for many the prototype of "the West." Examining these massive and separated societies side by side should be of interest to anyone who hopes to understand the world we live in (Pan et al., 1994). Economically speaking, China is the world’s largest and fastest growing developing economy, while the United State is the world’s largest Capitalist and developed economy. Today, a nation’s economy is increasingly dependent on its trade with other nations. From 1985 to 1996, for example, U.S. exports to China grew threetimes; imports from China grew 13 times. About 10 million jobs in China were supported by US trade, and the US jobs supported by Chinese trade totaled 170,000 (Pelosi, 1998). The Sino-US trade volume is even greater if we include Hong Kong as part of China. To understand a host nation’s consumers is a prerequisite for those who want to trade and invest there. It is true with both US and Chinese strategic market researchers and planners.

Sino-US Consumer Research

Bilateral intellectual interest between China and the United States dates back to the 19th century (Pan et al., 1994). Many of these early comparison efforts have centered on the macro-cultural aspects. Forster (1936) and Hsu (1953) both examined the anti-traditional US culture and traditional Chinese Confucian culture. In a latest empirical effort, Pan et al.. (1994) did a comparative investigation of social relationships between US and China. Though cross-cultural consumer behavior falls under the cultural domain, there has been few academic endeavor on the comparison between US consumers and their Chinese counterparts (Graham et al., 1988; Tse et al., 1988). Hsu (1953) discussed two cultural approaches to economic lives between US and China. For the Chinese, Hsu argued, their ingrained tendency to rely upon others, especially those within the primary groups, gives them a sense of social and psychological security. Thus Chinese feel little pressure to seek other forms of material or psychological comfort. On the other hand, for a self-reliant American, his or her unending struggle to be fully independent poses a threat of perpetual social and psychological insecurity. So the one remaining source of security for the Americans seems to be the acquisition of material comforts or the conquest of the physical environment in other ways. As a result, to strengthen his sense of self-importance and to ensure his place among his fellows, the American will intensify his acquisitive activities and create more devices for his security and safety. The Chinese, however, can easily meet the need for intimate human association by permanently retaining a close relationship with those around them. Their self-importance are assured through their seniority and the respect due them (Hsu, 1953). As there surely must be some Chinese who are self-reliant and hence feel insecure, and some Americans who are dependent and psychologically secure, we should look at Hsu’s observation as a generalized psychological approach to examining different economic lives between US and China.

Fear-based Personality Types

Hsu (1953) discussed psychological security in a collective sense. At an individual level, Doyle (1999) observed that fear or insecurity is a motive of human beings, because the fear mechanism is the most sensitive part of the brain, and the fear response is the most swift, powerful and durable one. When people find themselves unable to defuse a threat, they resort to talismans, which include money and property. The fundamental psychological function of money and property is to protect people from the threats against the very core of ego. According to Doyle (1999), different types of people demonstrate their own characteristic fears, the most general types of which are represented as a four-fold arrangement that crosses two independent dialectics (Figure 1). Under his theory, acquisitive people ("driver") fear being found incompetent. They take pleasure in competition and accomplishment. As these people are biologically and socially oriented toward differentiation, they tend to place people into hierarchies of performance and ownership. Affiliative people ("amiable") enjoy feeling nurtured and nurturingCthey feel especially good when protected against their fear of abandonment. In order not to cause those around them to think they are tainted, amiable people are prone to avoid money. Concentration people ("analytic") enjoy staying focused, because they are afraid of losing control. These people protct their money and property so that the latter would not slip from their grasp. Divergent people ("expressive") engage in spontaneous behavior, because they feel threatened by anything that is constraint in nature. They tend to demonstrate that they are free spirits by spending money.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS AND HYPOTHESIS

Doyle’s theory of personalities was characterized by different domains of fears (or insecurity) against which people use money and property as protection. As one of the important forms of properties, consumer products should be able to serve as people’s talismans against fear or insecurity. Doyle’s categorization has found its support in a money-related empirical data (Youn & Doyle, 1999). However, it has yet to be tested in the buying behavior context, where consumer products are seen as protection against people’s innate fears or insecurity. To approach Doyle’s categorization in this particular context, we first came up with the following two research questions:

1. Can we extract Doyle’s personality categories in our data?

2. Do these personality dimensions apply to consumers in a different culture (in our case, China)?

As cultures are very important in the formulation of consumer behavior, it seems extremely important to investigate culture’s influence on individuals when dealing with consumer behavior in different cultures (Samli, 1995). On the one hand, Hsu (1953) observed that group-oriented Chinese feel more secure psychologically than their individualistic American counterparts, who usually intensify their acquisitive activities and create more devices for psychological security and safety. On the other hand, Doyle (1999) grounded his personalities in different domains of fears or insecurity. When people find themselves unable to defuse a threat, they resort to talismans, which include money and property, and consumer products as well. Putting these two theories together, we develop our hypothesis, given that our first two research questions could be positively answered:

H1: Chinese consumers will indicate lower levels of fear-based personality types than their US counterparts in our consumer behavior context.

In consumer research, gender investigation has enjoyed a long history (Curry & Menasco, 1979; Davis, 1970; Ferber & Lee, 1974; Schimitt, Leclerc, & Dube-Rioux, 1988). It was well-documented that gender influences psychological status as well as behavior (Fischer & Arnold, 1990; Williams & Narendran, 1999). For instance, some researchers have reported gender-related differences in risk behavior (Bromiley & Curley, 1992; Fischhoff, 1992; Higbee & Lafferty, 1972; Kogan & Wallach, 1964). Others have found that women demonstrated different fashion consciousness and shopping behavior than men (Minshall, Winakor & Swinnney, 1982; Kwon, 1997; Solomon & Schopler, 1982; Kaiser, 1990). It is possible that gender might be a potential factor that influences the fear-based personalities in our buying behavior context. Hence, our third research question is:

3. Given that the first two research questions are positively answered, is there any gender difference in terms of the fear-based personalities in both cultures?

In international consumer research, gender, culture, and personality type, among others, are regarded as important criteria for international market segmentation (Hassan & Samli, 1994; Samli, 1995). Therefore, it is interesting to investigate any possible influence of culture*gender interaction on the fear-based personalities. Our fourth research question is:

4. Is there any significant culture*gender interaction in terms of the fear-based personalities?

DATA COLLECTION

We collected our data in Beijing and Minneapolis in different periods. As the capital of China, Beijing is one of China’s most developed areas, and serves as the exemplary model of future cultural and economic development for the other areas of China. Situated at the heartland of the US, Minneapolis represents a traditional Mid-western metropolitan area. The Beijing data were collected by the Public Opinion Research Institute of the Chinese People’s University in November 1996. Based on the multi-stage stratified random sample of the universe of the residents in the Beijing urban area, researchers conducted door-to-door interviews. Out of 1440 samples, they collected 749 questionnaires (with an effective rate of 52%). The sampling error was within three percentages at the 95 percent confidence level. The survey was originally designed to measure the media usage among the Beijing readers. The Minneapolis survey was done in May 1998. We did systematic random sampling of public phone directories of Minneapolis and its surrounding areas. Out of the sample of 728 households, we collected 150 questionnaires by telephone interviews. The sampling error was within ten percentages at the 95 percent confidence level.

For the two surveys, we asked exactly the same questions (in Chinese and English respectively), though by different instructions (Figure 2). These questions were asked along with different sets of other items in the two surveys. For the Beijing survey, they were followed by questions about the media usage. For the Minneapolis data, the buying behavior questions were followed by questions on social and cultural values. For the sake of comparative analysis, we recoded the answers by the 1-4 range, with 1 meaning "never," 2 "sometimes," 3 "usually," and 4 "always." The two survey results were described in Table 1.

FIGURE 1

THE BASIC QUATERNARY OF TEMPERAMENTS

FIGURE 2

FINDINGS

US and China: Similar Consumer Personality Dimensions

To find out whether Doyle’s differentiation of financial personality dimensions apply to our buying behavior context, we performed exploratory factor analyses on the 11 buying behavior items separately for the Beijing and Minneapolis surveys. We extracted exactly the same three factors on both occasions (Table 2a and Table 2b).

To apply Doyle’s concept to the buying behavior context, the "driver" people should be decisive and demandingCthey spend money on quality and badges of success, for fear of incompetence. The "analytic" people tend to over-analyze and delay decisions and implementationsCthey spend carefully, for fear of disarray. The "expressive" people should be imptuous and optimisticBthey spend money impulsively, for fear of constraint. This description of personality characteristics helped us name our factors. In both surveys, the dimension we called "driver" consists of admiration (whether the product will evoke admiration from others), taste (whether it helps show different taste), fashion (whether it is in fashion), and brand (whether it is brand name products). The "analytic" dimension includes negotiation (negotiating whenever possible), comparison (doing comparative shopping), advise (sharing shopping tips with others) and discount (whether it is on sale). The "expressive" factor is composed of unnecessary buying (buy some products even though they are not necessary), spending up (spend up money whenever it is available at hand), and not caring about price. The item "not caring about price," though falling under the category of "expressive," seems to be the one that reflects the "amiable" personalityBthose who tend to view money as unclean and avoid it, for fear of abandonment. This item has the lowest loading in the "expressive factor" on both occasions (.47 for Beijing data and .50 for Minneapolis data) (see Table 2a and Table 2b). But the item was not unique enough to form another distinct factor. This might be due to the fact that "amiable" and "expressive" people are actually both emotional in natureBboth types are impulsive, undisciplined, egotistical (Doyle, 1999).

TABLE 1

COMPARISON BETWEEN BEIJING AND MINNEAPOLIS SAMPLES (IN PERCENTAGES)

Though we did not find the original dimension of "amiable" personality, we found the other three dimensions that match Doyle’s categorization in both Beijing and Minneapolis surveys. This largely answered our first two research questions. One possible reason why we were not able to extract the factor "amiable" might be that the 11 items in both surveys were not exhaustive enough to cover related questions that could validly measure the personality "amiable."

TABLE 2A

THREE PERSONALITY TYPES FOR THE MINNEAPOLIS CONSUMERS (VARIMAX ROTATION METHOD)

TABLE 2B

THREE PERSONALITY TYPES FOR THE BEIJING CONSUMERS (VARIMAX ROTATION METHOD)

Cultural Differences

In order to tell any cultural differences with regard to the three fear-based personalities, we first need to create the three new personality variables that were not originally in the data. In both data, for each dimension (or factor) that we located through factor analyses, we did reliability analysis and got reasonable reliability coefficients. As a result, we created three new variables ("driver", "analytic" and "expressive") by weighting different items accordingly (see Table 2a and Table 2b).

Our T-test results showed that US consumers are significantly more of "driver" and "analytic" types than Chinese consumers. US consumers also indicate a higher level of "expressive" personality, though the difference was not statistically significant. These results basically support our hypothesis (Table 3). To see whether people in Minneapolis and Beijing might differ significantly in specific items that measure the three personality types, we conducted independent samples T-tests for each of the questions (table omitted due to space limitation). Compared with Chinese consumers, US consumers tend to be significantly more concerned about their taste, fashion, others’ reactions (compliments and admiration), and brand names. They also tend to do more comparative shopping and engage in more price-hunting (whether the products are "on sale," etc.). Though not statistically significant, US consumers reported more frequent impulsive buying behaviors than their Chinese counterparts (such as, spending up money whenever possible, buying unnecessary products and not caring about the price). These findings again largely supported our hypothesisBin an item-by-item manner.

TABLE 3

THREE DIMENSIONS BETWEEN BEIJING AND MINNEAPOLIS (EQUAL VARIANCE ASSUMED): INDEPENDENT SAMPLES T-TESTS

Gender Differences and Gender-Cultural Interactions

To answer our third research questions, we went on to test gender differences in terms of these fear-based personality dimensions in both cultures. T-test results indicated that female consumers tend to be significantly moreof "driver" and "analytic" types than males. However, we did not find any significant gender difference in terms of the "expressive" type (Table 4a). These are the gender differences in terms of personality dimensions when we combined the US and China samples. Our subsequent analyses explored different patterns of gender differences in each cultural context. First, the same patterns of gender differences applied to the Chinese context (Table 4b). Second, T-tests showed that US male consumers showed no significant differences from US females in all three fear-based personality dimensions (Table 4c). This suggests the existence of cutlure*gender interactions in terms of these personality types. The influence of interactions can be further reflected by ANOVA results (Table 5a). Moreover, our T-tests results indicated that American males are of more "driver" and "analytic" types than their Chinese male counterpart. While indicating no significant difference in terms of "analytic" and "expressive," American females are of more "driver" type than Chinese females (Tables 5b and 5c). These helped answer our fourth research question concerning gender*culture interaction.

TABLE 4A

GENDER DIFFERENCES IN PERSONALITIES (EQUAL VARIANCE ASSUMED): INDEPENDENT SAMPLES T-TESTS

TABLE 4B

GENDER DIFFERENCES IN PERSONALITIES IN BEIJING (EQUAL VARIANCE ASSUMED): INDEPENDENT SAMPLES T-TESTS

TABLE 4C

GENDER DIFFERENCES IN PERSONALITIES IN MENNEAPOLIS (EQUAL VARIANCE ASSUMED): INDEPENDENT SAMPLES T-TESTS

TABLE 5A

ANOVA TESTS OF CULTURE GENDER INTERACTION

TABLE 5B

PERSONALITY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN US MALES (USM) AND CHINESE MALES (CHM) (EQUAL VARIANCE ASSUMED): INDEPENDENT SAMPLES T-TESTS

TABLE 5C

PERSONALITY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN US FEMALES (USFM) AND CHINESE FEMALES (CHFM) (EQUAL VARIANCE ASSUMED): INDEPENDENT SAMPLES T-TESTS

DISCUSSION AND MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS

Relying on Hsu’s security-insecurity dichotomy between US and China, and Doyle’s "fear" personality quaternary, the current study has largely answered our research questions and supported our hypothesis. With these achieved, the paper strengthened both theories.

The central psychological purpose of money and property is to neutralize threats to the ego; hence the central motive is fear and the central meaning is protection (Doyle, 1999). Consumer products constitute one of the main protections against this psychological insecurity. The relationship between individual consumers and their talismans (like consumer products) can become so intimate that the talisman becomes, in effect, an extension of the individual consumer himself or herself (Doyle, 1999). Thus money and consumer products take on additional meanings as parts of the selves, like tastes, admiration, for those "driver" people. To dispel any fear of disarray, "analytic" people try to delay their buying decisions by engaging in comparisons and price hunting. To reduce fear of constraint, "expressive" people tend to buy products freely and impulsively. As group values ensure Chinese more psychological security than individualistic Americans (Hsu, 1953), the former demonstrated less "fear" personalities than the latter ones. This is a meaningful and provocative finding for both cultural and consumer research.

However, we found one item that ran counter to the hypothesis: Chinese consumers indicated significantly higher frequency of negotiating than Americans (table omitted). A possible reason might be that the Chinese consumers have a far better chance to bargain individually with their retailers. Mostly consumers in Beijing (like consumers in other Chinese cities) purchase their daily products, especially food, in the so-called "free markets" run by farmers or private retailers. The US retail markets, however, are mainly controlled by standardized chain stores, like Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Cub-Food, where the prices are nonnegotiable.

As no previous empirical evidence has been found to assert the difference in psychological insecurity between males and females, we could not formulate a hypothesis that male consumers indicate lower level of "fear" personality types than females, or vice versa. We nonetheless did chart a trend through our findings, that is, females tend to take on more "fear" personalities. Maybe females feel more insecure inside than malesBa proposition that warrants future empirical investigation. While we have found significant gender differences in terms of these personality types in China, we did not get the same picture in the US. That is, we id not find any significant differences with regard to the "fear" personality types between males and females in US. This might be due to the fact that females enjoy more equality with males in US than in China. As one of the empirical studies reported, the popular concept that men and women should get equal pay for equal work received more support in the US than in China (Pan et al., 1994). As males are commonly believed to play a dominating role in the Chinese society, they might feel more secure inside than their female counterparts. As a result, Chinese female consumers might have taken on more fear-based personalities than males. With regard to individual items that measure the three personality types in Beijing, besides the trend we described above, we found that males and females showed no significant difference in comparative shopping and brand name hunting, though females still enjoy higher frequencies of activities in both cases (table omitted). It is possible that transportation inconvenience and lack of promotional information (e.g., coupon) have exerted the same extent of constraint on both females and males to do comparative shopping in China. The volume of brand-name products in a society seems to be tied to the level of development of a consumer culture. Years of relentless marketing promotion and high quality control have given rise to many brand name products in the US, like Coca-Cola, Nike, IBM, etc. For many Chinese, however, they have just begun to develop their own consciousness of brand name products. A consumer culture that features brand name products and taste-conscious consumers is still in the forming stage in China. This might explain why Chinese males and females showed no significant difference in seeking brand name products.

With regard to specific items that measure the three personality types in the US (table omitted), in addition to the trend we have just discussed, it is unexpected to learn that compared to female consumers, US male consumers are significantly more conscious of brand names, and they negotiate more. A possible explanation might be that US male consumers, in general, are less sophisticated in terms of product knowledge than their female counterparts. Hence they tend to identify and buy more brand name products than female consumers, who are believed to have more alternative name brands to choose from. Americans negotiate often in such cases as purchasing expensive products, like cars and houses. It is possible that males tend to be the major decision-makers of the families on these occasions. Therefore, males have more chances to negotiate than females.

Our interaction analyses suggested that while we found gender differences in terms of "driver" and "analytic" types in China, we did not find any significant gender differences in US. However, we did find that US male and female consumers are significantly more demanding ("driver") than their Chinese male and female counterparts. American male consumers are significantly more analytic than Chinese males. These findings carry serious managerial implications. Some US products that are not segmented on gender might have to appeal to gender differences when they are sold in China. US advertisers should also be cautious if they want to promote their products in China by using the same US ads. These ads might have been originally tailored to meet American consumer fear-based personality propensities. They might have to change their ad content and stimuli strategies for the Chinese market. As Chinese consumers negotiate more than US consumers, US retailers might want to provide an environment that allows of negotiations, as they never had to do in the US. Many other marketing approaches might also be implied from our findings.

LIMITATIONS AND FUTURE RESEARCH

Our results promise significant marketing implications. However, due to some methodological limitations, we have to be well reserved in asserting our findings.

First, the data collcted in Minneapolis were not as representative as the Beijing data. Sixty-one percent of the Minneapolis respondents were women, and 34 percent of those respondents were 56 years old or over (see Table 1). Besides, while Beijing is by no means a representative locale of entire China (Sun et al., 1998), Minneapolis can only represent the mid-western part of consumer life in the US. This will affect our generalizability in the comparison of the two consumer cultures. There are also limitations to our original questionnaire items, which are not exhaustive enough to cover all the fear-based personality dimensions.

Second, though the study is a cross-sectional comparison of these two cultures, however, the Beijing data were collected in November 1996, and Minneapolis data in May 1998. People’s consumer behavior might be changing with the socio-economic development in this two-year time gap. Our data could not measure any time-induced change here. Therefore, as inferences of social scientists always are, our inferences are tentative (Pan et al., 1994). It will be an ideal for the future researchers to conduct surveys in both countries at around the same time, so as to control such confounding variables as the time gap and societal changes.

Third, variables other than the culture factor (as Hsu proposed) might help explain why Americans are more of "driver" and "analytic" types than their Chinese counterparts. One explanation might lie in different levels of development in consumer culture. People from a more developed consumer culture like US tend to have more alternative options when making product choices than those from a less developed consumer culture like China. Therefore, the US consumers are able to be more selective ("driver") and analytic than their Chinese counterparts. Whether different levels of consumer culture constitute this explanatory factor could be tested in a future study on comparing consumers between US and Japan. On the one hand, Japan, like China, is a collective culture; on the other hand, Japan in now on the same footing as US with regard to the development of consumer culture. If future studies could find that Japanese consumers indicate lower levels of fear-originated personality dimensions than US consumers, this will greatly verify our original hypothesis.

CONCLUSION

Set in the consumer behavior context, this paper combined cultural, psychological and economic approaches in comparing US and Chinese consumer behaviors. Applying Doyle’s fear-based personality dimensions to the consumer lives, our findings provided substantive support to his categorization. They also added overdue confidence to Hsu’s observation that the nature of group culture helps Chinese gain more psychological security than independent American consumers. Besides the cultural contexts, the gender factor and the gender*culture interaction were also found to influence these fear-based personality dimensions. Managerial implications demonstrated the significance of our findings. Limitation of this study was discussed, and future studies that might verify or disapprove our findings were proposed.

REFERENCES

Applbaum, K. and Jordt, I. (1996), "Noted Toward an Application of McCrachen’s #Cultural Categories’ for Cross-Cultural Consumer Research," Journal of Consumer Research. December 3.

Bromiley, P. and Curley, S. P. (1992), "Individual Differences in Risk-taking." In J. F. Yates (Ed.), Risk-taking Behavior, Chichester, UK: Wley, 87-132.

Chu, Godwin C. (1964), "Problems of Cross-cultural Communication Research," Journalism Quarterly 41, 557-562.

Clark, Terry (1990), "International Marketing and National Character: A Review and Proposal for an Integrative Theory," Journal of Marketing, 54, 66-79.

Curry, D.J. and Menasco, M.B. (1979), "Some Effects of Differing Processing Strategies on Husband-Wife Joint Decisions," Journal of Consumer Research, 6 (September), 192-203.

Davis, H.L. (1970), "Dimensions of Marital Roles in Consumers’ Decision Making," Journal of Marketing Research, 7(May), 168-177.

Dawar, Niraj and Parker, Philip (1994), "Marketing Universals: Consumers’ Use of Brand Name, Price, Physical Appearance, and Retailer Reputation as Signals of Product Quality," Journal of Marketing, Vol. 58 (April), 81-95.

Doyle, K.O. (1999), The Social Meanings of Money and Property: In Search of a Talisman, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications

Ferber, R. and Lee, L. C. (1974), "Husband-wife Influence in Family Purchasing Behavior," Journal of Consumer Research, June 1, 43-62.

Fischhoff, B. (1992), "Risk Taking: A Developmental Perspective." In J. F. Yates (Ed.), Risk-taking Behavior, Chichester, UK: Wiley, 133-162.

Fisher, Eileen and Arnold, S. J. (1990), "More Than a Labor of Love: Gender Roles and Christmas Gift Shopping," Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 17, No. 3, 333-346.

Forster, Lancelot (1936), The New Culture in China. London: G. Allen and Unwin.

Frey, F.W. (1970), "Cross-Cultural Survey Research in Political Science." In Robert T Holt and John E. Turner (Ed.), Methodology of Comparative Research, New York: The Free Press.

Graham, John. L.; Kim, D.K.; Lin, Chi-Yuan and Robinson, M. (1988), "Buyer-Seller Negotiations Around the Pacific Rim: Differences in Fundamental Exchange Process," Journal of Consumer Behavior, June 15, 48-54.

Graham, John. L. (1983), "The Cultural Relativity of Organizational Practices and Theory," Journal of International Business, 4 (Fall), 75-89.

Graham, John. L. (1984), Culture’s Consequences: International Differences in Work-Related Values, Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

Hassan, S.S. and Samli, A. C. (1994), "New Frontiers of Intermarket Segmentation." In S.S. Hassan and Roger D. Blackwell (Ed.), Global Marketing, 76-100, New York: The Dryden Press.

Higbee, K.L.and Lafferty, T. (1972), Relationships among Preferences, Importance, and Control, The Journal of Psychology, 81, 105-106.

Holt, R. T. and Turner, J.E. (Ed.) (1970), The Methodology of Comparative Research, New York: Free Press, 173-294.

Hsu, F.L.K. (1953), American and Chinese: Two Ways of Life, New York: H. Schuman.

Inkeles, A. and Smith, D.H. (1974), Becoming Modern: Individual Changes in Six Developing Countries, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Kogan, N. and Wallach, M.A. (1964), Risk Taking: A Study in Cognition and Personality, New York: Holt.

Kaiser, S. (1990), The Social Psychology of Clothing, New York: Macmillan.

Kale, S. H. (1993), "The Cultural Domain of Cross-National Buyer-Seller Interactions." In David W. Gravens and Peter R. Dickson (Ed.), AMA Educators’ Proceedings, 4, 208-214.

Kwon, Yoon-Hee (1997), Sex, Sex-role, Facial Attractiveness, Social Self-Esteem and Interest in Clothing, Perceptual and Motor Skills, Vol. 84, 899-907.

Levitt, Theodore. (1983), "The Globalization of Markets," Harvard Business Review, 61 (May-June), 92-102.

McIntyre, R. P., Melochem, M.S. and Lang, J.M. (1992), "Culture-Based Market Segmentation: A Potential Strategy for EC ’92," urnal of Euromarketing, 2(1), 31-47.

Minshall, B., Winakor, G. and Swinney, J.L. (1980), "Fashion Preferences of Males and Females, Risks Perceived and Temporal Quality of Styles," Home Economics Research Journal, 10, 369-380.

Pan, Z.D., Chaffee, S.H., Chu, G.C., and Ju, Y.N. (1994), To See Ourselves: Comparing Traditional Chinese and American Cultural Values, Boulder, San Francisco, Oxford: Westview Press.

Pelosi, Nancy (1998), "Current U.S.-China trade relationship unsustainable," Statement on China/WTO Bill at the Congress, March 20.

Rokkan, Stein. (Ed.) (1968), Comparative Research Across Cultures and Nations, Paris: Mouton, 176-209.

Samli, C.A. (1995), International Consumer Behavior: It’s impact on Marketing Strategy Development, Westport, Connecticut: Quorum Books.

Schimitt, B.H., Leclerc, F. and Dube-Rioux, L. (1988), "Six Typing and Consumer Behavior: A Test of Gender Schema Theory," Journal of Consumer Behavior, 15(June), 122-128.

Soloman, M.R. and Schopler, J. "Self-Consciousness and Clothing," Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 8 (3), 508-514.

Sun, T.; Zhao, X.S. and Yu, G.M. (1998), "Why Beijingers Read Newspapers?" Paper Presented at the 1998 Convention of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Aug. 5-8, Baltimore.

Szalai, A. and Petrella, P. (Ed.) (1977), Cross-national Comparative Survey Research: Theory and Practice, Oxford: The European Co-ordination Center for Research and Documentation in Social Services, 169-200.

Tse, David K.; Wong, John K. and Chin, Tiong Tan (1988), "Towards Some Standardized Cross-Cultural Consumption Values." In Michael J. Houston (Ed.), Advances in Consumer Research, Vol. 15, Provo, UT: Association for Consumer Research, 387-394.

Williams, Steve and Narendran, Sunitha (1999), "Determinants of Managerial Risk: Exploring Personality and Cultural Influence," Journal of Social Psychology, Vol. 139, No. 1, 102-104.

Youn, S. & Doyle, K.O. (1998), "An Interdisciplinary Dialogue toward the Meaning of Money." In Eric J. Arnould and Linda M. Scott (Ed.), Advances in Consumer Research, Vol. 26, Provo, UT: Association for Consumer Research.

----------------------------------------