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How Culture Affects Innovation Adoption: An Integrative Framework
Authors: Leonard Lee (National University of Singapore, Singapore), Jasper Teow (National University of Singapore, Singapore), Yating Wang (National University of Singapore, Singapore), Michael Frese (National University of Singapore, Singapore)
In today’s world awash with technological advancements, innovation occurs at a rapid rate, resulting in smarter and more integrative technologies, and transforming virtually all service sectors (Wirtz et al. 2018). Big data, artificial intelligence, and smart technologies entangle consumers within complex networks, permeating interactions between consumers and service providers on a global level. It is therefore crucial to understand the factors affecting consumers’ attitudes toward service innovation from both a cross-cultural and psychological perspective.
Research on how consumers respond to innovation has largely focused on constructs such as novelty seeking (Hirschman 1980), consumer creativity (Moreau and Dahl 2005), and the role of social influence in the diffusion of new products (Leonard-Barton 1985; Rogers 1976). On the other hand, research on culture in consumer behavior has focused on examining isolated constituents of culture (e.g. holistic thinking) on particular marketing outcomes (e.g. brand extension, impulsive buying) (Monga and John 2006). Research attempting to integrate these two paradigms are largely piecemeal and scattered, focusing on specific cultural dimensions (Ma, Yang, and Mourali 2014) and often firm-centric in nature (Dewar and Dutton 1986). Our research thus contributes to the literature by providing an integrative and holistic approach of examining culture’s impact on service innovation adoption, integrating both the perspectives of the consumer and innovation-type (Arts, Frambach, and Bijmolt 2011).
From the consumer’s perspective, we propose a novel approach in conceptualizing culture by utilizing the Globe framework (House et al. 2004) to explore new dimensions by which culture can be viewed (e.g. performance orientation), as compared to Hofstede’s dimensions (Hofstede 2001) – often the barometer for analysing culture in current research. Additionally, we adopt an Asia-centric approach in our research paradigm and sampling strategy. From a service-innovation perspective, we move away from the firm-centric approach prevalent in current marketing research, and instead focus on consumers’ attitudes towards adopting different types of service innovations, for instance, radical (vs. incremental) innovations.
Integrating these two perspectives, we draw upon consumer psychology to illuminate the underlying processes and mechanisms explaining cross-cultural differences in consumers’ propensity to adopt and/or try out new services or service initiatives rather than adhering to previous consumption patterns, e.g., exploring the role that openness to experience or perceived locus of control plays in one’s culturally determined attitude towards innovative services.
By highlighting specific propositions based on our framework, our research allows service-marketing and innovation researchers to develop future research agendas and questions relating to cross-cultural differences. For instance, one could posit a positive relationship between both openness to experience and performance orientation with consumer attitude towards service-innovation adoption, attenuated for incremental (vs. radical) innovation types. Our conceptual framework thus provides a different lens to view the rapidly evolving landscape of service marketing and service-innovation adoption.