SOCIALIZATION INFLUENCE OF MASS MEDIA ON MATERIALISM, FASHION INNOVATIVENESS, AND COGNITIVE AGE: A STUDY OF CONSUMERS IN KOREA AND CHINA Anil Mathur, Frank G. Zarb School of Business, Hofstra University Keun S. Lee, Frank G. Zarb School of Business, Hofstra University Yong Zhang, Frank G. Zarb School of Business, Hofstra University Benny Barak, Frank G. Zarb School of Business, Hofstra University Abstract The role of socialization agents in influencing attitudes, values, and behavior of individuals has been well documented (cf. Moschis, 1987). Previous research has also documented the role of mass media as a socialization agent (e.g., Moschis, 1987). While most of the research focusing on these issues was carried out in the West, very limited research has focused on other countries. It is not clear whether socialization influence of mass media will hold true for other parts of the world, particularly in East Asia, whose cultures exhibit significant difference from those of the West. In the present research we tested hypotheses developed on socialization framework using data from two East Asian countries: Korea and China. Although no specific hypotheses have been developed with respect to cultural differences in the strength of relationships among the variables included in this study, it is expected that the relationships proposed here should hold true for the two Asian countries included in the study. This expectation is driven by the notion that globalization of economies is associated with globalization in consumer trends and preferences. Moreover, there is evidence to suggest that many Asian countries are adopting new products, trends, and behaviors prevalent in the West. For example, Wong and Ahuvia (1998) cite evidence suggesting that many Asian consumers show a strong preference for Western brand-name luxury items, and the export of luxury goods to these countries is expanding at a rapid rate, a manifestation of growing materialism. It is an objective of the present study to see if the relationships proposed in their study also hold true for consumers in Korea and China. The data for the study were collected from China and Korea using convenience samples. A total of 549 completed surveys were received from the Chinese sample, of which 428 had complete data for this study and were used for the analysis. A total of 666 surveys were obtained from the Korean sample. Of these, 532 respondents had complete information for study variables and were included in the study. Structural equation modeling, using LISREL 8 was used to test the model representing the effect of age and media usage on cognitive age, fashion innovativeness, and materialism. Following Bagozzi and Yi (1988), multiple indicators were used to assess the overall fit of the model. Indicators of the overall fit of the model suggest that the overall fit of the model was acceptable for both countries. The findings of this study have implications for marketers and public policy makers. These findings suggest that there is a likelihood of greater similarity among consumer tastes and behaviors based on their exposure to similar images in the media across different countries. Finding and acknowledging such a similarity might facilitate the adoption of a more standardized approach in marketing towards these diverse consumers. From a public policy standpoint, certain social programs, such as smoke cessation and disease awareness, may benefit from the knowledge that a diverse target audience can be influenced by similar media images even across ethnic or cultural boundaries. References Available upon request.
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