Date of Award

8-2005

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Business Administration

Major Professor

David W. Schumann

Committee Members

Daniel J. Flint, Ernest R. Cadotte, Robert T. Ladd

Abstract

Drawing from various social science literatures, this dissertation put forth and examined a theoretical model addressing the question of whether brand equity’s functional and experiential elements (antecedents, dimensions, consequences) have differential influence on Americans and Chinese. The significance of this study is reflected in the fact that variousU.S.firms have attempted, often unsuccessfully, to market their brands inChinaand other countries. This effort at internationalization reflects mounting pressure from ever-increasing competition, and thus the need to find new markets for their brands. A number of researchers have suggested this lack of success is the result ofU.S.firms not understanding the cultural differences that exist between American and Chinese consumers.

At best, the findings from this dissertation study reflect mixed results, suggesting that the U.S. and Chinese cultural differences do not necessarily lead to the degree of brand equity dissimilarities that various literatures suggest. Because this study employed only two brands (i.e. Coca-Cola and KFC), and respondents in each culture were undergraduate business students, this study’s findings has very limited generalization to other brands/products, or people in other age groups and cultures. However, enough significant differences between U.S. and Chinese respondents emerged from the data to indicate that continued research is needed to facilitate both theoretical and empirical progress in better understanding the role of brands in other cultures.

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