Does culture affect evaluation expressions? A cross-cultural analysis of Chinese and American computer game reviews

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to look at product reviews from a cross-cultural perspective. Product reviews are potentially an influential form of marketing communication, as well as a predictor of sales performance. With Hofstede's typology as a backdrop, the basic proposition of this study is that collectivistic cultural values place more emphasis on giving face to others, even in impersonal social environments, resulting in them giving more positive product reviews than their individualistic counterparts. Design/methodology/approach: The paper uses content analysis of Chinese and American computer game reviews to test the hypotheses. Findings: The results showed that Chinese reviews use fewer negative comments and give higher final ratings for the same set of products than their American counterparts. In addition, Chinese reviews showed a lower consistency between their evaluative comments and their final ratings. Also confirmed is a common belief that final ratings are a summary of the evaluative comments of the review-texts. Research limitations/implications: Future research is invited. Practical implications: Theoretically, the study refines the understanding of differences between individualistic and collectivistic cultures. Practically, it is suggested that if consumers' cultural values are reflected in product reviews, international marketers should weigh and balance possible cultural bias when they decode evaluations of their products from reviews published in other countries' media. Originality/value: Product reviews are a rich but ignored resource with high marketing value. It is hoped that the study can stimulate both marketing researchers and practitioners to make better use of product reviews to further understand marketing phenomena and make better marketing decisions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)686-707
    Number of pages22
    JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
    Issue number5-6
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Marketing

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Collectivism
    • Communication technologies
    • Computer software
    • Cross-cultural studies
    • Culture
    • Function evaluation


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