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The impact of cultural values on consumer behaviour: a case study of specialty products at a university of technology in KZN.

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Culture plays an important role in individuals’ lives, affecting their behaviour and the decisions they make. These decisions include the type of specialty products that they purchase (Designer clothing, sports cars and high-quality camera equipment). The study sought to investigate the impact of cultural values on consumer behaviour, with specific reference to specialty products at the University of Technology in KwaZulu-Natal. The nature of specialty products is seen as highly specialised with a unique niche market of consumers who come from different cultural backgrounds. A quantitative design using an online questionnaire as a survey instrument was applied to collect and analyse data from 300 academic and support staff. The collected data and emerging constructs were validated statistically using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) while the reliability was assessed with Cronbach’s alpha value. The data were analysed with regression analysis and structural equation modelling (SEM). The analysis integrated theories on consumer buying behaviour; Hofstede’s cultural dimensions to define patterns between individual behaviour and social norms towards the consumption of specialty products; as well as the application of the Theory of Reasoned Action and the Theory of Planned Behaviour to determine the influence of cultural values on the intentions and purchasing behaviour of individuals. The findings of the study show a relationship between cultural values, demographic characteristics and buying behaviour amongst higher education staff. Higher education staff members who have participated in this study show creativity and uniqueness in their buying behaviour towards specialty products. The staff members at the University of Technology showed a preference for specialty products in order to satisfy their appetites for material comfort, quest for durable goods and to express their distinct positions and upper ranks in the social hierarchy. The study conclusively suggests that consumers bring cultural beliefs, perceptions and practices that define themselves apart from others. From a marketing perspective, the finding of this study implies that marketers can tailor their marketing strategy to target higher education luxury consumers based on their cultural values. This thesis, therefore, contributes to the scant literature on how cultural norms shape the marketing and purchasing of specialty products amongst academic and non-academic staff consumers from higher education institutions.


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.