Shopping karma: Cultural factors affect consumer satisfaction

Feb 17, 2010

If you believe in karma, you're more likely to have higher expectations, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Some consumers strategically lower their expectations in order to try to increase their satisfaction with a product or experience, write authors Praveen K. Kopalle (Dartmouth College), Donald R. Lehmann (Columbia University), and John U. Farley (Dartmouth College). But people who believe in karma tend to have a more long-term orientation, which decreases the importance of momentary .

The authors describe the doctrine of karma as having three main tenets. First, is the notion of rebirth where actions in a particular life may bear fruit either in the current life or in the next. Second, actions can be broadly classified into appropriate (good) or inappropriate (bad). Finally, good actions in the present lead to good outcomes in the future. "The doctrine of karma links current conduct to future consequences either in this life or the next," write the authors. "Thus, a belief in karma entails, among other things, a focus on long-run consequences."

"Individuals with a long-term orientation are likely to be less inclined to lower expectations in the hope of temporarily feeling better," write the authors. "With a long-term orientation, even those individuals who are most unhappy when a product fails to live up to their expectations of it have a limited incentive to artificially lower their expectations and hence have higher (and more accurate/realistic) expectations."

The authors compared results in China with those in India and found that a significantly higher percentage of people in India believed in karma (64 percent versus 10.5 percent).

It is important for companies to understand these types of cultural differences if they wish to reach consumers in a globalized , the authors write. "Perhaps most importantly, the findings are also encouraging concerning the feasibility of explicitly measuring cultural factors and assessing their impact on consumer behavior."

Explore further: Digital native fallacy: Teachers still know better when it comes to using technology

More information: Journal of Consumer Research: August 2010. A preprint of this article can be found at journals.uchicago.edu/jcr

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Overdoing it? Simple techniques can help avoid overindulgence

Feb 23, 2009

Some people overindulge on junk foods or needless shopping sprees when they feel depressed. Others lose control the minute they feel happy. Is there a way to avoid such extreme actions? A new study in the Journal of Consumer Re ...

Look before you leap: New study examines self-control

May 30, 2008

Reckless decision-making can lead to dire consequences when it comes to food, credit cards, or savings. What's the key to making good decisions? A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research outlines a novel method for me ...

How often will you use that treadmill?

Nov 17, 2008

Why not buy that treadmill? You'll be exercising every day, right? A new study
in the Journal of Consumer Research examines why our expectations of our
behavior so often don't match reality.

Recommended for you

New poll reveals what Americans fear most

6 hours ago

Chapman University has initiated the first comprehensive nationwide study on what strikes fear in Americans in the first of what is a planned annual study. According to the Chapman poll, the number one fear in America today ...

Study shows how texas campus police tackle stalking

6 hours ago

One out of every five female students experience stalking victimization during their college career, but many of those cases are not reported to police, according to a study by the Crime Victims' Institute ...

How large-scale technology projects affect knowledge

9 hours ago

What do an accelerator complex at Cern, a manufacturing center in 19th century Philadelphia and lotus cultivation during the Qing dynasty all have in common? All such activities generate knowledge and know-how. ...

User comments : 0