Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Dr. John Sargent
Dr. Arturo Vasquez-Parraga
Dr. Chiquan Guo
This dissertation explores the relationship between satisfaction, trust, commitment, and loyalty among Chinese customers. The selection of China as the location for this study is due to a number of factors. China's economic expansion and recent ascension to full membership within the World Trade Association (WTO) has generated “excitement, uncertainty, and fear” (Ghoshal, 2003). In the recent past trade with China has grown at on average of 15 percent a year and foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country has grown even faster (Ghoshal, 2003). This growth may result in an interesting paradox. If China maintains just two thirds of its current rate of growth, by the year 2010 it will simultaneously become the world's largest capitalist and Marxist-Leninist state (Boisot, 1996). Buckley (2002) challenges international business researchers to consider this future state of affairs and to increasingly focus on China as a site for research studies. Finally, the need to generate increased knowledge about the characteristics of China's 1.3 billion potential customers provides yet another reason for the country focus of this dissertation.
The objectives of this dissertation are: (1) to model the way Chinese consumers develop and maintain loyalty, (2) to develop the instruments needed to test hypotheses derived from the model, and (3) to test the hypotheses formulated and thereby identify the drivers of satisfaction, trust, commitment, and loyalty among Chinese customers. A cross-sectional survey method and combined emic-etic research approach are employed to detect and tap the dimensions of satisfaction, trust, commitment, and loyalty among Chinese customers. Survey measures are developed by following the procedures offered by Churchill (1979). Translations and back translation are conducted by following the approach discussed by Hui and Triandis (1985). Reliability and validity issues are discussed.
The results of factor analysis, regression analysis and structured equation modeling show that more than half of the hypotheses are supported. The core model is confirmed with satisfaction, commitment, and trust as independent variables and loyalty as dependent variable. Both the hypothesized and modified models are tested with structural equation modeling. In addition, the interaction effect model shows that some of the Chinese factors add explanation power to the core model.
University of Texas-Pan American