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Cultural dimensions and materialism: comparing Canada and China

Harold Ogden (Department of Marketing, Sobey School of Business, Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Canada)
Shen Cheng (Business School, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, Wuhan City, China)

Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics

ISSN: 1355-5855

Article publication date: 30 August 2011




The purpose of this paper is to examine levels of materialism in Canada and China and how they vary with differences in culture.


Data were gathered from students and the general public with self‐completed surveys using measures for materialism and culture.


In the first stage of analysis, levels of materialism were examined across countries. Overall, materialism was higher for the Chinese than the Canadians on all Richins and Dawson's dimensions except acquisition centrality. To investigate these unexpected results, levels of Hofstede's cultural dimensions were compared across country, age, and gender and it was seen that the Chinese outscored Canadians on all dimensions except uncertainty avoidance. Finally, the association between the components of materialism and dimensions of culture was examined and a cultural explanation for at least part of the difference in level of materialism between the two countries found.

Research limitations/implications

Data were collected in specific regions of the countries. Owing to the characteristics of the two regions, a more general approach to data sampling would likely produce even more pronounced differences than those noted here.

Practical implications

A better understanding of the nature of materialism and how it varies across cultures should enable marketers, policy makers, and social planners to act more effectively.


This paper finds some unexpected differences in materialism and goes on to find that the cultural differences between Canada and China have changed since the original Hofstede data were collected.



Ogden, H. and Cheng, S. (2011), "Cultural dimensions and materialism: comparing Canada and China", Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 431-447.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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