To Seek Variety Or Conformity?: the Role of Culture in Individual’S Choice in a Group Setting

One stream of research suggests that individuals in collectivistic culture will tend to follow others’ choices in a group choice setting (e.g., Markus and Kitayama 1991). Other research, however, suggests that others’ choices will have little impact on individuals’ choices in this cultural context (e.g., Kim and Drolet 2002). Current research attempts to test these competing hypotheses by examining individuals’ choices in interpersonal choice contexts (Ariely and Levav 2000). First, comparisons of 517 meal order slips from two local restaurants in Korea with simulated outcomes indicate a profound conformity-seeking tendency in dish selections among collectivist cultural individuals. Second, our field experiment reveals that members of collectivist culture tend to follow group members’ choices only when group influence is visible. We show that this conformity-seeking behavior is influenced by individuals’ individualism-collectivism self-concepts (Singelis 1994). Finally, unlike previous findings of studies conducted with individuals from Western cultures, selections made in accordance with social norms did not result in the reduction of emotional well-beings for collectivist cultural members.


Song-Oh Yoon, Kwanho Suk, Seon Min Lee, and Eun Young Park (2009) ,"To Seek Variety Or Conformity?: the Role of Culture in Individual’S Choice in a Group Setting", in AP - Asia-Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 8, eds. Sridhar Samu, Rajiv Vaidyanathan, and Dipankar Chakravarti, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 299-300.


Song-Oh Yoon, Korea University
Kwanho Suk, Korea University
Seon Min Lee, Korea University
Eun Young Park, Korea University


AP - Asia-Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 8 | 2009

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