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Race, Marketing, & Markets / Publication Abstract

Intercultural Accommodation and Service Quality Perceptions: What Accommodating Factors Really Matter to Ethnic Minority Consumers: An Abstract

Nov 28, 2018

Sarah Mady, John B Ford, Tarek Mady

Race, Marketing, & Markets


With the growing size and purchasing power of minority consumers, the need to address ethnic diversity through accommodating marketing efforts has received continued attention (Huang et al. 2013; Grinstein and Nisan 2009; Laroche et al. 2007 etc.). Notwithstanding this growth in minority ethnic consumption behavior research, our knowledge of the accommodation effectiveness of service providers when pursuing these segments remains limited with the assumption of general homogeneity of minority consumers.

As the USA becomes a more multicultural market, perhaps the most significant trend to marketers is the growth of the Hispanic-American market (Perry 2008; Callow and McDonald 2005). Fifty percent of US population growth from 2010 to 2015 has come from Hispanics, with a purchasing power increasing commensurately to $13.9 trillion. Moreover, it is projected to increase from 55 million in 2014 to 119 million in 2060, an increase of 115% (US Census Bureau 2015). Additionally, as the USA continues to be sensitive to ethnic diversity and discrimination (Wilson 2007), and with growing awareness of the varying levels of consumer acculturation, or the process of acquiring customs and norms of the mainstream culture (Cleveland and Laroche 2007), it is crucial to further investigate whether accommodation efforts are received positively. This study represents an attempt to understand the effects of intercultural accommodation efforts on service quality perceptions of Hispanic consumers by examining the interacting effects of involvement level, consumer acculturation, and perceived discrimination.

The data was collected through a nationwide online survey among 377 Hispanic consumers in the USA. The research hypotheses were tested using role-playing experiments (scenarios), wherein participants read scenarios that hypothetically took place during a visit to a bank and responded accordingly. The remaining variables were measured: consumer acculturation, perceived discrimination, and service quality. Relationships were assessed via analysis of covariance ANCOVA. Preliminary findings suggest that Hispanic consumers have higher perceptions of service quality when the service is delivered in Spanish and by an ethnically similar Hispanic service provider. However, there are significant variations depending on the level of service involvement and perceived discrimination. For example, respondents were found to evaluate a service encounter more favorably when the accommodation effort was associated with a low-involvement service than for a high-involvement service. Moreover, Hispanic respondents who reported encountering discrimination incidents evaluated a service delivered via accommodation efforts less favorably than those who did not. Interestingly, acculturation was only partially supported.

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