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Ethnographic study on the Harley Davidson culture and community

Jeromy Corey (Indiana Wesleyan University, Marion, Indiana, USA)
Phil Millage (Indiana Wesleyan University, Marion, Indiana, USA)

Journal of Technology Management in China

ISSN: 1746-8779

Article publication date: 1 April 2014



One of the most powerful and organizing methods in the world today revolves around the activities that individuals participate in and the subsequent interpersonal relationships that give people meaning in life. The paper aims to discuss these issues.


Today's society longs to add meaning and identity to their lives in a variety of ways. A sense of belonging, or a sense of community, has proven very impactful on the lives of many and creates certain changes to an individual's mindset that relate to the specific subsets of culture and consumption to which they identify with.


The authors find that Harley Davidson has a strong following in the USA and suggest that it might also have one in China.


In this paper, the authors attempt to define and better categorize a subset of the Harley Davidson following, while studying the habits, relationships, and reasoning behind both the new motorcycle owners, and the veterans of the Harley Davidson way of life. The authors will also attempt to analyze the role relationships (spouse, significant other, and friends or relatives) play in the decision to join this niche subculture. Analyzing these potential and newly converted Harley Davidson customers to gain insight and understanding about the deciding social factors at play in choosing this brand over the others is a primary focus. In studying this unique subculture of consumption, the authors hope to better understand the development and rationale of new Harley Davidson riders and to measure certain personal levels of enjoyment on an individual or group setting, and to analyze the impact on ones social image before and after purchase.



Corey, J. and Millage, P. (2014), "Ethnographic study on the Harley Davidson culture and community", Journal of Technology Management in China, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 67-74.



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