Customer perceptions of service dimensions: cross-cultural analysis and perspective

Cunningham, Lawrence F., Young, Clifford E., Lee, Moonkyu & Ulaga, Wolfgang
International Marketing Review Vol. 23, Issue 2, p. 192-210

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present the results of a study that examined how customers in the USA, France, and Korea perceived and classified a set of 13 services based on multidimensional scaling (MDS).
Design/methodology/approach – A MDS framework was used to map service classifications and actual services in the USA, Korea and France. Results from each country were then compared to the other two countries to determine similarities and differences.
Findings – Results from this research suggest that there are two underlying dimensions that explain approximately 80 percent of the total variance in service perceptions and classifications. Underlying dimensions of the classifications across the three cultures were virtually identical. Differences among the countries were based on relative positioning of classifications and/or services on the underlying dimensions.
Research limitations/implications – Evidence from diverse cultures implies that consumers perceive services in a somewhat simplistic, two-dimensional fashion rather than the complex set of classifications proposed by researchers. Although the complex classifications may be of use to service providers in organizing the delivery of services, the presentation and positioning of those services is along a much simpler framework in the minds of customers.
Originality/value – This is the first time consumer-based perceptions of services have been examined systematically across cultures using a MDS approach.