Commitment and trust in cross-cultural marketing relationships: The effect of cultural adaptation
Walton, James Robert
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Recent articles have conceptualized the elements of successful marketing relationships from a predominately within-culture perspective. However, crosscultural marketing relationships present distinct challenges for firms competing in today's multicultural global economy. This study attempts to expand the current understanding of cross-cultural marketing relationships by developing a hypothetical model Incorporating and internationalizing existing models of relationship commitment and trust as key mediating variables in such relationships. The focus of this study Is that a firm's adaptation to its partner's culture. Is an Important element that significantly affects cooperation In cross-cultural marketing relationships. A conceptual model of the effect of cultural adaptation on commitment and trust In cross-cultural marketing relationships is presented and research hypotheses developed. In order to empirically test the hypotheses of interest primary data collection was required. The sample consisted of members of the Chambers of Commerce of two major cities in the southwestern United States that were identified as doing business with foreign firms. To control for the variance of environmental factors commonly associated with doing business. In different countries, the empirical setting of this study was purposely restricted to solicit responses from U.S. firms doing business with firms in only one country, Mexico. The hypothesized relationships in the model were tested using structural equation modeling. Most of the research hypotheses presented were supported. Specifically, this study found that cultural adaptation by the focal firm has a significant effect on commitment in such relationships and, as in previous domestic studies, commitment leads positively to cooperation In cross-cultural relationships. This research provides managers of cross-cultural marketing relationships with a better understanding of the role of cultural adaptation in building trust and commitment in such relationships. Such understanding is the first step in improving cooperation, and ultimately the likelihood of success, in long-term cross-cultural marketing relationships.