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Gossip, self-monitoring and fashion leadership: comparison of US and South Korean consumers

Seung-Hee Lee (Department of Fashion Design & Merchandising, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois, USA)
Jane E. Workman (Department of Fashion Design & Merchandising, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois, USA)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 4 November 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to investigate tendency to gossip, self-monitoring and fashion leadership among young adult consumers in two cultures: US and South Korean.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey was conducted using a convenience sample of 690 (278 US; 412 Korean) university students. Data were analyzed using MANOVA, ANOVA, descriptive statistics, χ2 and Cronbach’s alpha reliability.

Findings

Compared with US participants, Korean participants scored higher on tendency to gossip and lower on self-monitoring, the two subscales of self-monitoring (ability to modify self-presentation; sensitivity to the appearance of others), and fashion innovativeness and opinion leadership. In both cultures, fashion leaders scored higher on self-monitoring and tendency to gossip than fashion followers, and high self-monitors scored higher on tendency to gossip than low self-monitors. Results of this research supported Hofstede’s (1980) theory of cultural dimensions as appropriate for examining differences among fashion consumers from different countries.

Research limitations/implications

Results cannot be generalized to other population groups or cultures. Further research should include data from participants in different countries and of different ages thereby contributing to the generalizability of the results.

Practical implications

The findings of this study suggest that gossip, especially in collectivist cultures such as South Korea, can increase brand image and serve as a useful marketing tool. Social media is one way to initialize word-of-mouth communication about a brand.

Originality/value

This is the first study to compare gossip and self-monitoring among fashion consumers in two different cultures.

Keywords

Citation

Lee, S.-H. and E. Workman, J. (2014), "Gossip, self-monitoring and fashion leadership: comparison of US and South Korean consumers", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 31 No. 6/7, pp. 452-463. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCM-04-2014-0942

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited