Measuring Status Orientations: Scale Development and Validation in the Context of a Transitional Economy

EXTENDED ABSTRACT - The desire for status is an important motivation for many aspects of consumer behavior (Eastman et al., 1999; Mason, 1981; Veblen, 1989). This paper focuses on developing and validating the scales measuring status orientations in Vietnam, a transitional economy. Transitional economies (TEs) refer to countries which are Agoing through a period of transition from a planned economy, where consumption was prescribed, to a market economy, where consumers are free to pursue their acquisition fantasies@ (Lascu et al., 1994). This global shift in the countries that represent nearly one-third of the world’s population (such as China, Vietnam and Eastern European countries) has generated a great interest in various fields of research, including marketing and consumer behavior (e.g., Batra, 1997; Cui and Liu, 2001).



Citation:

Thi Tuyet Mai Nguyen, Kwon Jung, and Siok Kuan Tambyah (2005) ,"Measuring Status Orientations: Scale Development and Validation in the Context of a Transitional Economy", in AP - Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 6, eds. Yong-Uon Ha and Youjae Yi, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 218-219.

Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 6, 2005      Pages 218-219

MEASURING STATUS ORIENTATIONS: SCALE DEVELOPMENT AND VALIDATION IN THE CONTEXT OF A TRANSITIONAL ECONOMY

Thi Tuyet Mai Nguyen, National Economics University, Vietnam

Kwon Jung, KDI School of Public Policy and Management, Korea

Siok Kuan Tambyah, National University of Singapore, Singapore

EXTENDED ABSTRACT -

The desire for status is an important motivation for many aspects of consumer behavior (Eastman et al., 1999; Mason, 1981; Veblen, 1989). This paper focuses on developing and validating the scales measuring status orientations in Vietnam, a transitional economy. Transitional economies (TEs) refer to countries which are "going through a period of transition from a planned economy, where consumption was prescribed, to a market economy, where consumers are free to pursue their acquisition fantasies" (Lascu et al., 1994). This global shift in the countries that represent nearly one-third of the world’s population (such as China, Vietnam and Eastern European countries) has generated a great interest in various fields of research, including marketing and consumer behavior (e.g., Batra, 1997; Cui and Liu, 2001).

In TEs like Vietnam, the move towards an open-market economy has led to significant changes in all aspects of society, including fundamental changes in societal values and lifestyles (Nguyen, Jung, Lantz, and Loeb 2003; Shultz, Pecotich, and Le, 1994). Studies have suggested that economic reforms or doi moi have eroded the traditional value systems that were premised on a centrally planned and subsidized economy (Boothroyd and Pham 2000; Fforde 1997; Hoang 1999; and Toyama 2001). In addition, the modern influences brought about by doi moi tended to coexist with many of the values, attitudes and behaviors that are associated with the traditional Vietnamese culture (e.g., Shultz, Pecotich and Le, 1994).

The consumption behaviors related to status orientation is an important emerging phenomenon in TEs. However, there seems to be no clear conceptualizations and measures of status orientations that are relevant to the context of TEs like Vietnam where significant differences in consumers’ perceptions of status/status symbols exist before and after the transition. In this study, we examine the nature and type of status symbols in the past (before doi moi) and at present in Vietnam, and develop and validate scales measuring the status orientations of Vietnamese consumers. We employ the conceptualization of status orientation as consumers’ orientation toward emphasizing symbols of status and the attainment of higher status. The two sub-constructs, traditional status orientation and modern status orientation, respectively refer to consumers’ orientation toward emphasizing traditional status symbols (before the economic transition) and modern status symbols (at present).

The procedure for developing measures suggested by Churchill (1979) and the scale development paradigm recommended by Gerbing and Anderson (1988) were employed in developing and validating the status orientation scales. First, for the purpose of generating items of status symbols, 27 personal interviews with consumers and experts in the field, two focus groups (in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City), an open-ended survey questionnaire administered to 30 consumers, and an extensive literature review provided the initial checklists of more than 80 items. After dropping redundant, ambiguous and other faulty items from the initial screening, the 24 remaining items in these checklists were subjected to further refinement through a survey of more than 100 consumers in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. We used the final checklists of 20 status symbols to develop the corresponding scales of traditional status orientation and modern status orientation. An 11-item scale measuring traditional status orientation focused mainly on duc’s aspects such as devoting one’s life for the benefit of the country and the people, leading a simple and clean life regardless of fame and wealth, and caring for others more than for oneself. The 9-item scale measuring modern status orientation, on the other hand, emphasized being rich and wealthy, having a high-income earning ability, owning luxury products, and having a wide relationship network. These 20 items were then judged by several experts regarding the content validity.

In this study, four data sets were collected for the purposes of item purification and validity assessment. Specifically, with the first data set (Sample 1), the 20 scale items were subjected to further purification through examining item-total-correlations and exploratory factor analysis. Reliability and social desirability tests were also performed. Seven items were dropped. The remaining 13 items were then subjected to another exploratory factor analysis, confirmatory factor analysis for additional item refinement and unidimensionality assessment, with another data set obtained from a more heterogeneous sample (Sample 2). Three more items were dropped during the item elimination process. The resulting scales (5 items for traditional status orientation and 5 items for modern status orientation) were assessed for nomological validity (Sample 2), discriminant and nomological validity (Sample 3), and cross-validation (Sample 4). Reliability of the scales was assessed using Coefficient Alpha and Construct Reliability.

The research results showed that both traditional status orientation and modern status orientation are distinct components of the construct of 'status orientations’. In addition, these two components were not bipolar and they could coexist in each individual. The final scale (five items measuring traditional status orientation and five items measuring modern status orientation) demonstrated adequate and stable reliability and validity.

Acknowledgement

The authors would like to thank Associate Professor Prem Shamdasani and Professor Kau Ah Keng for their useful comments during this research project. Special thanks go to Merlin Sant Fund for their financial support.

REFERENCE

Batra, Rajeev (1997), "Marketing Issues and Challenges in Transitional Economies," Journal of International Marketing, 5 (4), 95-114.

Boothroyd, Peter and Pham Xuan Nam (2000). Socioeconomic Renovation in Vietnam. The Origin, Evolution and Impact of Doi Moi. Canada, Ottawa, ON: The International Development Research Centre, and Singapore: The Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

Churchill, Gilbert A., Jr. (1979), "A Paradigm for Developing Better Measures of Marketing Constructs," Journal of Marketing Research, 16 (February), 64-73.

Eastman, Jacqueline K.; Ronald E. Goldsmith; Leisa R. Flynn (1999), "Status Consumption in Consumer Behavior: Scale Development and Validation," Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 7 (3), 41-52.

Fforde, Adam (1997). Doi Moi, Ten Years after the 1986 Party Congress. Canberra: Dept. of Political and Social Change, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University.

Gerbing, D. W. and J. C. Anderson (1988), "An Updated Paradigm for Scale Development Incorporating Unidimensionality and its Assessment," Journal of Marketing Research, 25 (May), 186-92.

Hoang Vinh (1999). Theoretical and Practical Issues in Cultural Development in Vietnam. Hanoi: Van hoa- Thong tin Publishing House.

Mason, Roger S. (1981). Conspicuous Consumption: A Study of Exceptional Consumer Behavior. St. Martin’s Press, New York.

Nguyen Thi Tuyet Mai, Kwon Jung, Garold Lantz, and Sandra Loeb (2003), "An Exploratory Investigation into Impulse Buying Behavior in a Transitional Economy: A Study of Urban Consumers in Vietnam," Journal of International Marketing, 11 (June), 13-35.

Shultz, Clifford J., Anthony Pecotich, and Le K. (1994), "Changes in Marketing Activities and Consumption in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam," in eds C. Shultz, R. Belk, and G. Ger, Research in Consumer Behavior, Vol. 7, Greenwich, CT: JAI Press, 225-57.

Toyama, Koichiro (2001). Young Vietnam, Doi Moi’s Children. THINK Centre, Singapore.

Veblen, Thorstein (1899), The Theory of the Leisure Class, The Macmillan Co., New York.

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Authors

Thi Tuyet Mai Nguyen, National Economics University, Vietnam
Kwon Jung, KDI School of Public Policy and Management, Korea
Siok Kuan Tambyah, National University of Singapore, Singapore



Volume

AP - Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 6 | 2005



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