The contrasting effects of culture on consumer tolerance : interpersonal face and impersonal fate

Haksin CHAN, Lisa C. WAN, Y. M., Leo SIN

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

69 Citations (Scopus)


This research highlights two cultural tendencies"concern for face and belief in fate"that are characteristic of Asian (vs. Western) consumers. In three crosscultural studies on service failures, we show that these cultural tendencies have contrasting effects on consumer tolerance, such that Asian (vs. Western) consumers are more dissatisfied with social failures but less dissatisfied with nonsocial failures. We further demonstrate that these contrasting effects of culture are sensitive to pertinent contextual factors such as the presence of other consumers or a fate-suggestive brand name. Overall, our research evinces the multidimensionality of cultural influence and points to the need for a sharper focus in conceptualizing cross-cultural consumer behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-304
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2009



  • Cross-Cultural Research
  • Experimental Design and Analysis (ANOVA)
  • Satisfaction
  • Services

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