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Management innovation and cultural adaptivity in international online banking

Daniel Singer (Department of Finance, Towson University, Towson, Maryland, USA)
Albert Avery (Department of Finance, Towson University, Towson, Maryland, USA)
Babu Baradwaj (Department of Finance, Towson University, Towson, Maryland, USA)

Management Research News

ISSN: 0140-9174

Article publication date: 31 March 2008




The purpose of this paper is both to determine Citibank's response to cultural diversity in the dynamic, highly competitive global market for online banking facilities and services, and whether or not international online bank web sites are constructed in a manner sensitive to the culture of their host country.


This paper takes the perspective of managing innovation for shareholder wealth maximization where consumer behavior is mediated through the technology acceptance model (TAM) belief constructs. The incorporation of variables reflecting Hofstede's four‐factor framework in 45 country‐specific web sites operated directly by Citibank are compared with those variables in 189 web sites of indigenous banks.


The results suggest that culture has an important influence on international online banking web sites and that Citibank has adapted the form and content of its web sites to local cultural influences in a manner comparable to that of the indigenous banks. Further, the role of each of Hofstede's four cultural dimensions is seen to influence the form and content of online bank web sites. This finding confirms earlier research about the role of culture in the TAM.

Research limitations/implications

The results of this study are constrained by the extent to which the Hofstede framework actually captures the relevant dimensions of culture and the extent to which the measures of web site cultural attributes used in this study are valid. Further, the results are also limited by the fact that 23 of the Citibank web sites were located in countries for which Hofstede data were not available and by the small size of this study.

Practical implications

Success in the burgeoning and highly competitive online banking environment requires bank management to adapt their web sites to local cultural conditions. Small differences in language, the portrayal of individuals, and the background used in the site can significantly impact the acceptance of this distribution channel by the target population. This study confirms the importance of the cultural values of individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, and power distance with respect to consumer acceptance of online banking.


These findings provide guidance for bank managers as they expand their online banking operations into the international arena. They also support research confirming the importance of culture in determining international consumer behavior within the TAM.



Singer, D., Avery, A. and Baradwaj, B. (2008), "Management innovation and cultural adaptivity in international online banking", Management Research News, Vol. 31 No. 4, pp. 258-272.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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