Individualistic orientation and consumer susceptibility to interpersonal influence

Journal of Services Marketing

Mourali, Laroche, & Pons


May 1, 2005



Interpersonal influences play a major role in shaping consumer choice decisions. This is particularly evident in the case of services, where intangibility and variability add to the decision difficulty. While all consumers are susceptible to interpersonal influence, people differ in the extent of their susceptibility to interpersonal influence, with some individuals being chronically more susceptible to social influence than others. Seeks to speculate in this paper that, in addition to individual differences, susceptibility to interpersonal influence also varies systematically across cultures with varying degrees of individualism‐collectivism.


Hypothesis is tested by investigating and comparing the structure, properties, and mean levels of the susceptibility to interpersonal influence scale across samples of French and English Canadian consumers.


It is found that: French Canadians are significantly more susceptible to normative influence than English Canadians; French Canadians score significantly lower than English Canadians on measures of individualism; and individualism has a significant negative effect on consumer susceptibility to normative influence.


By showing that French Canadians were indeed less individualistic than English Canadians, and that individualistic orientation had a significant negative effect on both the utilitarian and the value‐expressive dimensions of consumer susceptibility to interpersonal influence, hopefully it has been demonstrated that differences in susceptibility to normative influence between French and English Canadians are partly driven by cultural differences in individualistic orientation.