Bridging the Culture Chasm

Bridging the Culture Chasm

By
Donnel A. Briley, Jennifer Aaker
Journal of Public Policy & Marketing.
2006, Vol. 25, Issue 1, Pages 53-66

This article pulls together streams of culture-related research found in information-processing and behavioral decision theory literature, and it complements them with a focus on motivations and goals. The authors propose a framework that suggests that (1) the treatment of culture is useful when it incorporates subcultures, including those defined by nationality, ethnicity, religious affiliation, and neighborhood or local surroundings; (2) goals are determined by both cultural background and situational forces; and (3) through its impact on goals, culture influences the inputs used to make a decision, the types of options preferred, and the timing of decisions. The authors highlight the implications of the framework for two policy domains: health and finances. They suggest that consumers’ goal orientations can provide a useful segmentation dimension, and they carve out specific tendencies that appear to vary across cultural contexts (e.g., satisficing, goal shifting, reactivity). A deeper consideration of consumer goals and the role of culture in individual decision making can inform policies aimed at improving the quality of consumers’ decisions and, ultimately, consumer welfare.