Culture and consumer behaviour : the influence of culture on family planning behaviour in Malaysia
The use of a cultural perspective to interpret consumer behaviour has generated some applications in a variety of consumption activities. A cultural perspective implies widely held and shared beliefs that have been internalized by individuals, as well as a guide to behaviour within a society. Yet, in spite of its recognition, little is known about the influence of cultural perspective on consumer behaviour in developing countries generally, and Malaysia in particular. This study thus investigated the influence of culture on one selected domain of behaviour namely; knowledge, attitude and usage of Malay consumers pertaining to family planning. This study had three objectives: i) To develop a comprehensive measure which can be used to assess the level of cultural value orientation of Malay consumers To measure the relationship between the level of cultural value orientation of Malay consumers and their family planning behaviour, measured in terms of their knowledge, attitude, and usag e To recommend appropriate marketing strategies for family planning programmes in Malaysia in the perspective of these cultural influences Fieldwork for this research was carried out in Malaysia between August and November 1992. Three hundred and fifty-nine respondents were interviewed, comprising of user and nonuser of family planning. The data was solicited through personal interviews with structured questionnaire. Using factor analysis, several distinctive Malay cultural value orientations have been discovered. With respect to religiosity measure these are: fatalistic attitude, more emphasis on spiritual success, inequality in gender role, and strong commitment to religious precepts. Ethnicity measures include: collectivistic attitude, little emphasis on materialistic gains, strong respect to elders, and strong nationalistic views. Finally, family orientation values of the Malays can be summarised as: sacredness of obligation towards parents, fostering obedience through harmonious communication, and highly regards on family institution. The data were then analyzed in searching for relationship between cultural orientation and family planning behaviour. There were significant relationships between religiosity and knowledge, attitude and usage of family planning. Ethnicity was only significantly related to usage, while family orientation explains the variation in attitude and usage of family planning among the respondents. Finally, there is evidence to conclude that family communication level explains some variation in knowledge of family planning. The results describe the many ways in which culture can influence family planning behaviour in Malaysia. One can therefore suggest that further research may discover similar influences on other consumption behaviours in Malaysia and other developing countries with a similar cultural situation.