Independent or Interdependent? Examining the Self-construal Theory in the Processing of Online Travel Reviews
Keywords:self-construal, interdependent self, independent self, online travel reviews (OTRs)
The social media context is evoking the considerable changes in consumers’ self-construal in the new individualized postmodern era. Is generally classifying Chinese consumers as interdependent self still applicable? Is the self-construal held by Chinese consumers changing? If so, how do the changes predict the role of self-construal in their processing of online travel reviews (OTRs)? By combining the self-construal theory into the information adoption model, this study explored the dynamics of the two different self-construals, independent and interdependent, in consumers’ processing of OTRs. Findings from a data set of 302 college students indicated that, although the young generation tends to be independent in a collectivistic culture context such as China, they still prefer to utilize their interdependent self to make decisions when processing OTRs. Especially, independent consumers are inclined to assess the usefulness of OTRs through the argument quality. Theoretical and practical implications are also provided.
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