Services are the fastest growing segment of world trade, expanding at twice the rate of the trade in goods. Successful expansion by service organizations requires an understanding of buyers in international markets. An area of organizational buyer behavior that takes on increased importance when purchasing internationally, and when purchasing services, is vendor selection. This dissertation examines the relationship between culture, which is often cited as the variable having the greatest impact on international buyer behavior, and differences in the perceived importance of vendor selection criteria.
This study expands the vendor selection research of Dickson (1966) to an international setting for the first time. In addition, the research is the first to reduce the 23 vendor selection criteria of Dickson to a smaller number of factors. Buyers of intellectual property (IP) systems in the United States and Germany were surveyed as to the perceived importance of Dickson's vendor selection criteria factors. Based on the responses of 252 IP system buyers, the vendor selection criteria were reduced to 5 factors: Quality, Price, Firm Characteristics, Vendor Reputation/Past Business and Vendor Attitude.
The two cultural dimensions most often linked to differences in buyer behavior are the uncertainty avoidance and individualism dimensions. Uncertainty avoidance and individualism levels were measured at the individual level.
Results of this exploratory study partially supported the primary propositions that the cultural dimensions of uncertainty avoidance and individualism are related to perceived differences in the importance of vendor selection factors. Regression analysis showed a significant, or marginally significant, relationship between uncertainty avoidance and all five vendor selection factors. However, while it was discovered there was a relationship between individualism and the quality, price and vendor attitude factors, there was not support for a relationship between individualism, and the firm characteristics and vendor reputation factors. The proposition that there are differences in the perceived importance of vendor selection criteria between the United States and Germany, after controlling for the impact of uncertainty avoidance and individualism, was not supported.
The finding that there is a relationship between uncertainty avoidance and individualism, and the perceived importance of vendor selection criteria factors is an important contribution to the international marketing literature. While the importance of examining culture when expanding to international markets, due to culture's impact on buying behavior, is often mentioned in the literature, there has been little research in the area. The results of this exploratory study invite future studies on the impact of culture on vendor selection criteria in other countries, and the impact of culture on other stages of the organization buying process.
|School:||The George Washington University|
|School Location:||United States -- District of Columbia|
|Source:||DAI-A 69/01, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Culture, International markets, Marketing, Vendor selection|
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