Consumers in their everyday decision making concerning purchase of goods have opportunities to demonstrate their moral views. They can make consumption decisions that benefit other members of society or threaten sound business practices. This research was designed to extend prior work on both moral decision making and moral emotions by investigating how cultural orientation (individualism, collectivism) influences moral emotions (e.g., ego-focused, other-focused) and subsequently, moral decision making in two different consumption situations (e.g., purchase of a counterfeit purchase, purchase of socially responsible products). In addition, I investigated whether an individual's self-construal explains any differences tied to cultural orientation and its influence on moral emotions and moral decision making. An experiment was designed to test the hypotheses. A 2 (cultural orientation: individualistic culture versus collectivistic culture) × 2 (self-construal: independent versus interdependent) × 2 (moral consumption situations: counterfeit consumption scenario versus socially responsible products consumption scenario) between-subject design and scenario method was used. Data was collected from a convenience sample of undergraduate students enrolled at a university in the U.S. (n = 379) and a sample of students enrolled at seven universities in Korea (n = 399).
As predicted, this study provided empirical evidence of cultural differences in consumer's moral emotions associated with their consumption act for counterfeits and socially responsible products. In addition, moral emotions influenced both moral judgments and purchase intentions. Moral emotions interacted with cultural orientation to influence moral judgments. Moral judgment influenced purchase intention. Furthermore, these results were replicated with self-construal suggesting that participant's self-construal was the factor underlying cultural differences.
This research contributed to both moral decision making and moral emotion theories by investigating the role of cultural orientation and self-construal. The findings of this study also provided important and relevant implications to retailers and policy makers in developing customer relationship programs, marketing strategies, and persuasive messages.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2009. Major: Design, Housing and Apparel. Advisor: Kim K.P. Johnson. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 123 pages, appendices A-C. Ill. (some col.)
The influence of moral emotions in young adults' moral decision making: a cross-cultural examination.
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