Mark Cleveland, Associate Professor in the Department of Management and Organizational Studies, has received the Hans B. Thorelli Award, considered to be the most significant academic award in international marketing.
The award, given by the American Marketing Association, recognizes an article that has made the most significant and long-term impact in marketing theory. The paper “Cosmopolitanism, Consumer Ethnocentrism, and Materialism: An Eight-Country Study of Antecedents and Outcomes” was published in the Journal of International Marketing in 2009.
Cleveland researches cross-cultural consumer behavior. “Culture is probably the most important predictor of goals, wants and behavior,” said Cleveland. “But the tricky thing is: what is culture, how do you measure it? And it’s more complicated with globalization.”
The awarded paper investigated marketing in globalized societies, looking at what factors – ethnicity, demographic or psychographic – affect the way people make decisions. The traditional view and expectation was that as globalization continued, culture would matter less in decision making, but Cleveland found the opposite was actually true.
Cleveland works to study globalization and culture in a measureable way, and the paper took the same approach. Looking at three dimensions: materialism, cosmopolitanism, and consumer ethnocentrism, the study measured 70 behaviors in subjects from eight countries. The findings show that while these dimensions play a large role in consumer decision making and attitudes, geography and culture still play a large role, and members of different cultural groups express the dimensions in different ways.
His research shows that using countries is not the most appropriate way for marketers, especially when looking in many communities in Canada, with large portions of first or second generation Canadians. “While there may be increasing similarities across countries,” Cleveland said, “there are increasing differences within countries, and this has important implications for marketers.”
People are finding ways to make different aspects combine and work together, Cleveland said. “People are being more multi-cultural at a personal level, and they are much more able to choose their own identity.”