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Perceptions and effects of cross-national corporate reputation: The role of Hofstede’s cultural value approach

Bernhard Swoboda (Department of Marketing and Retailing, Trier University, Trier, Germany)
Johannes Hirschmann (Department of Marketing and Retailing, Trier University, Trier, Germany)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Article publication date: 13 November 2017




Few scholars have analysed the corporate reputation (CR) of multinational corporations (MNCs) internationally, but both CR perception and effect are likely to differ across nations. Most studies have compared a few countries, linked differences to selected dimensions of Hofstede’s cultural approach, and reported ambiguous results. The purpose of this paper is to address the important role of all Hofstede’s cultural dimensions that may influence CR perceptions and effects by applying an appropriate method.


By integrating signalling theory and each cultural dimension, hypotheses are proposed and tested using consumer surveys of a German MNC in 37 countries. Multilevel structural equation modelling (SEM) showed whether and how all cultural value dimensions – the predominant approach in marketing – affect CR perceptions and effects.


Individual CR perceptions and effects are strongly attributable to national culture, which explains up to 62 per cent of country-level variance; however, the explanatory powers of the cultural dimensions differ between CR perceptions and effects. Not all dimensions affect both. The results are stable in alternative models.

Research limitations/implications

The results enhance extant research because the relative importance of Hofstede’s dimensions and not only a possible role in country comparisons is shown. Hofstede’s approach explains considerable country-level variances. MNCs learn which cultural dimensions are core antecedents of CR perceptions (individualism and power distance explain >30 per cent variance) and core moderators of CR effects on loyalty (masculinity, individualism and uncertainty avoidance).


This study provides novel insights into the role of national cultural differences on CR perceptions and CR effects using the still novel multilevel SEM.



Swoboda, B. and Hirschmann, J. (2017), "Perceptions and effects of cross-national corporate reputation: The role of Hofstede’s cultural value approach", International Marketing Review, Vol. 34 No. 6, pp. 909-944.



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