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A cross cultural study of symbolic meanings of products : perception of Chinese and North American consumers

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A cross cultural study of symbolic meanings of products : perception of Chinese and North American consumers

Zhang, Wei (2007) A cross cultural study of symbolic meanings of products : perception of Chinese and North American consumers. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

It has been long recognized in consumer research that consumers buy products and services not only for their utilitarian values and problem solving characteristics, but also for their symbolic meanings. Since culture plays a crucial role in the formation, transfer and communication of symbolic meanings, it is hypothesized that cultural differences may lead to differences in the symbolic meanings that are ascribed to a sample of products/services. A survey of Chinese and Canadian consumers confirms this hypothesis for a list of symbolic meanings that are associated with a sample of products and services that were selected in pilot studies. Averaging across a sample of products/services for a given symbolic meaning, hypothesis tests suggest that more Chinese ascribe utilitarian, interpersonal tie related, financial, and status related symbolic meanings whereas more Canadians ascribe enjoyment, self identity, appearance related, and social responsibility related symbolic meanings with the selected sample of products. However, the differences in the sample proportions are practically very small for symbolic meanings associated with financial value, interpersonal ties and utilitarian value. When the hypotheses are tested at the individual product/service level relatively stronger support is observed with regard to symbolic meanings associated with enjoyment, self expression, self achievement, appearance, status, and social responsibility. In general, the results confirm that the proportion of the population that ascribe a particular symbolic meaning to a product may depend on the culture. Implications of the findings, limitations of the research, and future research directions are discussed.

Divisions:Concordia University > John Molson School of Business
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Zhang, Wei
Pagination:vii, 80 leaves : ill., forms ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (M. Sc. Admin.)
Program:John Molson School of Business
Date:2007
Thesis Supervisor(s):Büyükkurt, B. Kemal
ID Code:975780
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:14
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:41
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