The effects of culture on consumer complaining behavior

Date of Completion

January 2003


Business Administration, Marketing




In this dissertation, I examined the effects of national culture on the consumer complaint behavior. I used individualism as the independent variable characterizing the cultural predispositions of respondents. To ensure variability of the cultural characteristic of individualism, I collected the data from demographically matched samples of adult consumers from the United States (presumed to be individualistic) and South Korea (presumed to be collectivistic) using a survey methodology. I used structural equation modeling approach to assess the measurement model, measurement equivalence of constructs between the two samples, and the hypothesized structural paths between the constructs. ^ Generally, the results indicate that individualism, as an individual-level cultural characteristic, affects consumer complaint behavior reflected in consumer voicing dissatisfaction stemming from unsatisfactory marketplace experience with the business at fault and in negative word of mouth. However, the effects vary within the different contexts and within the national samples under study. ^ Additionally, the results provide evidence of mediation of the relationship between individualism and consumer complaining behavior by individual-level psychological variables such as consumer aggressiveness, and consumer self-confidence, and consumer altruism. Moreover, the results indicate that severity of the dissatisfactory experience and level of anticipation of resolution of the dissatisfactory experience are both important predictors of the propensity to engage in complaining behavior. ^