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Title: An investigation into the effect of national culture on the diffusion of innovations: a case study on the Mena region
Authors: Al Mutairi, Shihanah Mohammed
Advisors: Yen, D
Keywords: The bass model;Diffusion of innovations theory;Hofstede's national culture theory;Mobile telephony;Market innovation and imitation effects
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Brunel University London
Abstract: National culture has a significant influence on how innovations are adopted and diffuse throughout society. Existing innovation literature often employ Hofstede’s cultural difference dimensions to predict technology diffusion, which is critical to international marketers who are interested in tapping into this region. However, whilst Hofstede initially clustered the Arab nations into one region, past works have failed to compare and predict the diffusion of innovations amongst the Middle East and North African (MENA) nations. To address this research gap and to challenge Hofstede’s assumption of the MENA region as one cultural homogenous group, this study proposes to 1) measure the cultural differences of the seven nations, including Kuwait, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, and Lebanon within the MENA region and 2) explore the relationship between national culture and the diffusion of innovations amongst the seven countries. Using Hofstede’s latest national culture instrument, the Value Survey Model 2013 (VSM13), 775 survey data is collected from university students based in the seven nations to obtain new national cultural profiles on six dimensions, which are power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism, indulgent versus restraint, long-term orientation and masculinity femininity index. Empirical evidence shows that all seven nations differ significantly on each of Hofstede’s national culture dimensions, particularly on the power distance, uncertainty avoidance, indulgent versus restraint, and long term orientation dimension. The Bass Model is employed to estimate each of the seven nation’s diffusion patterns based on their mobile subscription data, and then correlated with their national culture ranks along with other variables such as socioeconomic indicators and telecommunication sector specific variables. The findings indicate that out of the six national culture indices, only the power distance index, indulgent versus restraint, long term orientation, and uncertainty avoidance dimensions show significant correlations with the innovation and imitations levels on the national level, suggesting that these particular cultural scales can effect and limit the innovation levels and the speed of the diffusion process of innovations. Results also indicate that literacy rate and urbanization are significantly correlated with the speed of the diffusion process and imitation levels on the national level. This research sheds new light on cross national diffusion literature by empirically revealing the innovative and imitative profiles of seven Arab States that were previously underrepresented and untested. The present study also provides fresh insights into the diffusion and national culture relationship by analysing the MENA region, which presents a theoretical contribution to cross cultural diffusion studies by advancing our understanding of the process by which Hofstede’s dimensions are associated with innovative and imitative levels. International marketing managers are thus advised to adopt a waterfall strategy when approaching the MENA region, in which innovative countries, such as Kuwait, are first targeted for introducing innovative products and services, through mass media and advertising. Whilst imitative countries, such as Egypt, are targeted for last entry, with a marketing communication plan that utilizes brand ambassadors and influencers, so as to reduce the risk and uncertainty of the innovation in question.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy and was awarded by Brunel University London
Appears in Collections:Business and Management
Brunel Business School Theses

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