Living Diversity: Developing a Typology of Consumer Cultural Orientations in Culturally Diverse Marketplaces: Consequences for Consumption

Kipnis, Eva; Emontspool, Julie; Broderick, Amanda J.
January 2012
Advances in Consumer Research;2012, Vol. 40, p427
Conference Proceeding
This paper argues that in culturally diverse environments cultural identity transitions are more complex than conceptualized by previous research and pertain equally to locally-born (mainstream) and migrant populations. We conceptualize a Typology of Consumer Cultural Orientations as explanatory framework for ethnic consumption and subsequently apply it in an empirical study. The findings indicate that through differential deployment of local, global and foreign cultures affinities for identity negotiation, mainstream and migrant consumers alike can develop or maintain uni-, bi- and multicultural orientations and use these orientations as informants of their consumption choices. Our findings suggest that the study of consumption implications of cultural diversity should be extended beyond mainstream/migrant differentiation which loses its significance in today's globalized world. Complexities of cultural identity have been identified in studies on mainstream (i.e., locally born) populations (Jamal 2003) and migrant groups (Askegaard, Arnould, and Kjeldgaard 2005). In today's global world, mainstream and migrant individuals can develop affinities (i.e., affective attachment) with cultures and lifestyles through direct (travel, co-residence) and indirect (media, trade) experiences with these cultures' representatives. These affinities can take form of attachment to specific foreign cultures (Oberecker and Diamantopoulous 2010; Luna, Rindberg and Perracchio 2008) or general openness to foreign experiences as representations of global living (Thompson and Tambyah 1999), positively affecting consumption decisions towards products associated with the affinity culture (Oberecker et al, 2008). While previous studies provide valuable insights into how a specific type of culture (local, global or foreign) is internalized in identities of either mainstream or migrant consumers, we argue that to broaden our understanding of the cultural drivers of consumption, research needs to move away from a mainstream/migrant paradigm. In culturally diverse environments (i.e., societies where multiple cultures co-exist) a large diversity of cultural influences as lifestyle options is opened to and experienced simultaneously by both mainstream and migrant consumers alike. This leads individuals from both groups to negotiate their identities through concurrent evaluation of these options' plurality (Kjeldgaard and Askegaard 2006). Perceptions of the surrounding cultural experiences evolved through this evaluation transform cultural orientations such that one, two or more types of cultures can be internalized by individuals irrespective of their ethnic belonging and have a differential affect on their consumption choices (Cayla and Eckhardt, 2008; Askegaard et al 2005). Hence, a broader conceptualization of cultural identity development in culturally diverse environments is required to account for the multilateral nature of cultural adaptation (Luedicke 2011). In this paper we explore what forms of cultural identities emerge through individuals' contacts with multiple cultures in culturally diverse environments, and whether the diversity of cultures internalized by individuals leads to differential effects in people's perception and interpretation of consumption experiences. We developed a Typology of Consumer Cultural Orientations integrating research on cultural identities of mainstream consumers with that on cultural identity transitions of migrant consumers. The typology posits seven hypothesized types of uni-, bi- and multicultural orientations individuals may develop through simultaneous evaluation of three main types of cultures (local, global and foreign) as distinct options of being in a marketplace. To support our theoretical extrapolations, we then conducted a multi-country exploratory study, which indicates that cultural orientations of individuals in culturally diverse environments may take forms that are different from and more complex than those identified by past research.


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