Culture, values and Japanese tourism behaviour
While the role of culture as an influence on consumer behaviour and product/service choice has long been acknowledged, the current literature in marketing offers an incomplete understanding of how and why culture plays its influential role (Overby, Woodruff and Gardial 2005). Research suggests that values provide the link between culture and consumer behaviour and values have been the focus of much research in the social sciences. In particular, values have received significant attention in cross-cultural research, being used to characterise the similarities within and differences across cultures. Values are central to the marketing discipline as they determine value, i.e. what activities, interests, and material goods consumers identify with, enjoy, acquire, or consume (Grunert and Muller 1996). Both directly and indirectly, values drive consumption behaviour. Typically, values have been assessed and compared through the use of standard measures such as Rokeach's Value Survey, the List of Values and Schwartz's Value Survey. Recent literature highlights growing concern over the application of standard measures across cultures and issues of cross-cultural invariance. There is a need for new research into cross-cultural applications of consumer value measures and theoretical models. This thesis critiques the use of Western conceptual paradigms and imposed etics in value research, and, using a Japanese tourism context, seeks a deeper understanding of how culture and values affect tourism consumption and experience. This thesis offers an empirical test of the cross-cultural applicability of a commonly used values scale in consumer research, the List of Values (Kahle 1983). The findings of this phase of the research extend the literature concerning methodological issues in values research and highlight the limitiations of the LOV as a cross-cultural measure of values. Based on these findings the thesis adopts an alternative, qualitative methodology to investigate the relationship between Japanese culture, values and tourism behaviour in New Zealand. The findings of the second phase of the research contribute to a recent call in the literature for more qualitative research in tourism, and allow the identification and understanding of the key values relevant to Japanese tourism behaviour. The results of Means-End interviews with Japanese visitors reveal the important cultural assumptions informing values and shaping tourism decisions and behaviours for two key groups of Japanese tourists. The theoretical framework presented in this thesis promotes our understanding of the relationship between cultural beliefs, values, and consumer behaviour. The results of the primary research highlight the importance of cultural and physical history, world-view, self-concept, thought patterns and language in the formation and interpretation of values. The thesis presents a holistic attempt at understanding Japanese culture, values and travel behaviour by examining how these concepts cohere in a logical framework. The thesis argues that, given the inherently cultural nature of values, their interpretation within the context of cultural beliefs is highly important in understanding variability in consumer behaviour across cultures.
Advisor: Gnoth, Juergen; Starrs, Roy
Degree Name: Doctor of Philosophy
Degree Discipline: Department of Marketing
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Japanese; Japan; travel; tourists; tourism; attitudes; social values
Research Type: Thesis