Two essays on the impact of cultural orientations on consumers' decision related to education marketing

Date

2014

Authors

Tu, Lingjiang

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Abstract

This dissertation is dedicated to investigating consumers' decision-making on education and the psychological underpinnings of education consumption. Given the importance of the education industry to a country's competitiveness in the global knowledge economy, research on education marketing has great social impact and concerns a large range of individuals and institutions. This dissertation consists of two essays, and uses various methodologies including experiments, secondary data analysis, and content analysis to test my predictions about the impact of cultural orientation on consumers' responses to education marketing efforts. Essay one approaches the topic from education buyers' perspective. Given that parents are a major consumer segment of education markets, essay one focuses on the impact of self-construal on parental education spending. Using social identity theory as a framework, essay one theorizes that parents' self-construal impacts their allocation of financial resources on their children's education. Using archival consumer expenditure data across the world and experimental studies with U.S. parents, essay one demonstrates that parents with interdependent self-construal tend to spend more on their children's education than parents with independent self-construal. Parents' self-threat moderates the self-construal effect by stimulating independent parents to increase, and interdependent parents to decrease, expenditures on children's education. Parental identity salience is identified to be the process underlying the moderation effect. Essay two investigates the role of power distance belief on education advertising effectiveness. With a content analysis study on print education ads from U.S. and Japan, and four experimental studies on student and non-student participants, essay two demonstrates that low PDB leads to consumers' preference for emotional education ads and high PDB leads to consumers' preference for rational education ads. The underlying mechanism is consumption motive, with low PDB inducing consummatory motive for education consumption and high PDB inducing instrumental motive for education consumption. A boundary condition for the PDB effect is also identified, that is, PDB only affects consumers' preference for education advertising execution when consumers are making decision for self, not when they are making decisions for others.

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Keywords

consumer behavior, education marketing, parental spending, power distance belief, self-construal

Citation

Department

Marketing