Harmony: How do Vietnamese wedding planners manage to please everyone?

Aug 20, 2013

An emphasis on harmony helps Vietnamese consumers navigate the perils of wedding planning to find ways to please everyone involved, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

"When there are disagreements about plans, rather than arguing, bickering, or bargaining, Vietnamese consumers find ways to achieve harmony," write authors Thuc-Doan T. Nguyen (California State University, Long Beach) and Russell W. Belk (York University).

Planning a wedding is a complex task that involves cultural, family, and personal considerations. But according to the authors, Asian cultures may have an edge when it comes to smoothing out differences. "Harmony is a key value in many Asian societies. Unlike the Western emphasis on individual preferences and compromises, Vietnamese families create ways to please everyone," the authors write.

This method of reaching consensus—even in potentially fraught situations like weddings—is what the authors call "."

Through a series of interviews with brides and grooms (and their parents) before and after their weddings, the authors found that Vietnamese wedding consumers do not discount their own interests. Rather, in achieving their self-interest, they simultaneously think of how it would also benefit others.

"Just because certain cultures emphasize social harmony does not mean they are selfless," the authors write. "Asian values such as long-term mutuality and family loyalty promote harmony and help consumers find ways to make a consumption activity please everyone who is involved."

"The prevailing popular image of Asian consumers is that they are willing to make sacrifices for the sake of maintaining social . However, the experience of Vietnamese wedding consumers contradicts the myth that Asian subsume individual interests to collective ones," the authors write. "Rather, they skillfully build wedding plans to create a harmonious whole that everyone involved can fully subscribe to."

Explore further: Why are UK teenagers skipping school?

More information: Thuc-Doan T. Nguyen and Russell W. Belk. "Harmonization Processes and Relational Meanings in Constructing Asian Weddings." Journal of Consumer Research: October 2013.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Why are UK teenagers skipping school?

16 hours ago

Analysis of the results of a large-scale survey reveals the extent of truancy in English secondary schools and sheds light on the mental health of the country's teens.

Fewer lectures, more group work

16 hours ago

Professor Cees van der Vleuten from Maastricht University is a Visiting Professor at Wits University who believes that learning should be student centred.

How to teach all students to think critically

17 hours ago

All first year students at the University of Technology Sydney could soon be required to take a compulsory maths course in an attempt to give them some numerical thinking skills. ...

Consumer loyalty driven by aesthetics over functionality

Dec 17, 2014

When designing a new car, manufacturers might try to attract consumers with more horsepower, increased fuel efficiency or a lower price point. But new research from San Francisco State University shows consumers' loyalty ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.