Date of Award

Fall 2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Business Administration-Marketing

Committee Director

John B. Ford

Committee Member

Edward Markowski

Committee Member

Leona Tam


The current study proposed a model of intercultural accommodation and nine emergent hypotheses grounded in three theories: Accommodation Theory, Distinctiveness Theory and the Elaboration Likelihood Model. The study expected that the offering of a service in the minority consumer's language and by an ethnically-similar service provider will lead to favorable service quality perceptions, in the absence of any intervening variables. Ethnic minority consumers were also expected to differ in their perceptions of service quality when intercultural accommodation efforts were or were not offered given a number of intervening variables. The proposed model and the nine hypotheses were assessed via a two (intercultural accommodation vs. no intercultural accommodation) by two (high service involvement vs. low service involvement) experimental design among a sample of 377 Hispanic consumers surveyed nationwide.

The research process was structured into three phases. The first phase employed the qualitative technique of focus group interviewing (Pilot study 1). Results from this phase guided the development of experimental stimuli for the second and third phases. The results also shed light on Hispanic consumers' experiences in service encounters, and their perceptions of services directed towards Hispanic consumers. The second phase of the research process, consisting of two online experiments (Pretest 1 and Pretest 2), was conducted with the main purpose of testing and refining the effectiveness of experimental manipulations. The third phase consisted of the main study online experiment where respondents were assigned to one of four treatment groups and each group reviewed a scenario depicting either a Spanish-speaking Hispanic bank representative or English-speaking Caucasian bank representative (intercultural accommodation treatment) during either a mortgage application encounter or depositing a check encounter (service involvement treatment). The scenarios were followed by questions capturing the respondents' service quality perceptions as well as the measured moderating variables and demographics.

The key propositions of this study were supported in minority consumers' overall service quality perceptions (and purchase intent) toward intercultural accommodation efforts. Additionally, two moderators were significant in the relationship: service involvement and perceived discrimination, while one moderator was marginally significant, namely: consumer acculturation.

Specifically, in line with the predictions, this study found that during low involvement service encounters minority consumers who were offered intercultural accommodations had favorable service quality perceptions compared to situations when high involvement services were encountered. Moreover, when intercultural accommodations were offered, minority consumers who were highly acculturated regarded the service encounter less favorably than low acculturated minority consumers, and this was manifested in lower service quality evaluations. As hypothesized, perceived discrimination was found to have a significant impact on service quality perceptions among minority consumers when intercultural accommodation efforts were made. When perceptions of past discrimination were evident, minority consumers were also found to have less favorable evaluations of the service quality than when such perceptions were nonexistent. Also, all hypotheses related to minority consumers' reactions toward service providers in the absence of any accommodation efforts for the same moderators were supported. Additionally, findings support the notion that high service quality perceptions will have positive behavioral intention outcomes (in the form of purchase intent).

Contrary to expectations, strength of ethnic identification, perceived cultural sensitivity, and perceived self-efficacy were three moderators that were not found to be significant in the intercultural accommodation model among minority consumers.

Finally, numerous theoretical, methodological and practical implications are discussed based on the findings of this study.


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