Emerging values and implications for consumer decision-making: China’s study abroad students

HAYWARD, Robert (2020). Emerging values and implications for consumer decision-making: China’s study abroad students. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00405


From the initial catalyst of the cultural awareness trip the researcher was a part of and the subsequent observations made during further business trips to China questions arose around the validity of the established culture literature in contemporary China and how Chinese culture impacts on the decision of where to study abroad. The overarching aim of this research programme is to develop and test a conceptual framework that could help better understand the decision making process of Chinese students applying to study at a university in the United Kingdom. The intension is to identify differences and similarities in decision making in relation to the established cultural norms and if there are significant subcultures geographically across China. A digital card sort was deployed that consisted of 75 variables, from which participants were asked to firstly identify which variables were part of their decision making process. Those that were part of the process were then ordered into three levels of significance – contributed to, were important and were essential. The results having a confidence level of 95%, the following variables are considered as essential:  I wanted to study overseas.  I want an international career.  I wanted to study in English (language).  I wanted to advance / boost my career prospects.  I can achieve a world-recognised qualification.  By studying overseas, I will be able to make my own decisions. Further analysis and discussion determined that:  A middle class exists in China, but is based on social capital.  A cultural shift has been detected in the younger generation moving towards a more individualistic view of life.  There are differences between genders in the decision making process.  There are differences in exposure to international trade and global brands across China and this influences which variables are considered to be more significant within the decision making process.  There is a need for a differentiated marketing message to be developed by organisations for optimal market penetration. The thesis therefore makes several contributions to both knowledge and to practice. Contributions to knowledge include:  Recognising the premise on which the Chinese middle class is formed.  Demonstrating a cultural shift in the millennial generation, moving towards a more individualist view of life.  Identifying gender differences in the decision making process.  Identifying how geographic location influences the significance of different decision making variables.  Creation of a research instrument that enables cultural values to recognised in the decision making process. Contributions to practice include:  The deeper understanding of the concept of middle class in China will assist organisations in their strategic marketing planning activities, as well as informing them on the focus of targeting communication processes.  By having a new understanding of how millennial Chinese are moving towards a more individualistic life style, when compared to previous Chinese generations organisations will be able to develop products and services that are more aligned to this market segment.  Higher education institutions will be better informed regarding curriculum design and the importance of including cultural experience within the overall student experience package. Further research projects have been identified that will enhance the findings from this thesis and make further contributions to knowledge and practice:  To extend the data collection from a mainly business base to encompass more subject disciplines such as computing, engineering, medicine.  To adapt the context of the decision from higher education to other major purchases such as housing and travel.  The research instrument can be repeated to establish a multi-generational perspective of Chinese decision making, degrees of power within the family context and further explore differences in gender.  A more complete geographical picture could be developed, not just of China, but to include more collectivist societies around the world including Japan and India.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Chen, Wei
Thesis advisor - Tresidder, Richard
Thesis advisor - Barnes, Bradley [0000-0002-7258-2877]
Additional Information: Director of studies: Dr. Wei Chen / Supervisors: Dr. Richard Tresidder and Prof. Bradley Barnes. "No PQ harvesting"
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00405
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2021 17:01
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2023 14:51
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/29345

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