Sample Essay on Impact of Global Convergence and Divergence on Consumer Behaviour

Impact of Global Convergence and Divergence on Consumer Behaviour

Annotated Bibliography: Global Convergence and Global Divergence

Axelrod, R. (1997). The Dissemination of Culture a Model with Local Convergence and Global Polarization. Journal of Conflict Resolution41(2), 203-226.

This journal article represents an empirical study which was conducted by Axelrod in 1997 to investigate the conflicting evidences of global divergence- convergence. The philosophical underpinning of this research is the vivid conflicting evidences of global convergence-divergence. He used agent-based adaptive model to conduct this important research. The article established that despite the overall tendencies towards global convergence, still there are several differences between groups and individuals. These differences in groups and individuals continue to exist in attitudes, beliefs as well as behaviours among other areas. This article is very important to my research because it particular reveals the effects as well as mechanisms of convergent in social influence. In this journal article, the debate about global convergence – divergence is extensively represented within the context of social life. The methodology used in his article also best suit my research study because it takes into account interactions between different features.

Baldwin, R. E., Martin, P., & Ottaviano, G. I. (2001). Global income divergence, trade, and industrialization: The geography of growth take-offs. Journal of Economic Growth6(1), 5-37.

This journal article provides an insightful debate about global convergence –  divergence. The philosophical underpinning of this article was to determine the impact of global divergence in trade and industrialization across the world. In essence, the paper was written to formalize the theoretical interconnections amongst the major phenomena of industrialization. In this journal article, the two authors established that massive global divergence in income is enhancing rapid expansion of global trade. The methodological approach in this journal article was to present a stages-of-growth model that illustrates the interconnection between income divergence and trade expansion. As presented in this paper, the research study established that trade expansion, global income, and divergence are jointly endogenous. This article is essential to my research study because it discusses a specific area of globalization – divergence of income and trade – which is part of my study. In addition, the paper presents a comprehensive literature review which will expand my knowledge of the topic.

De Mooij, M. (2003). Convergence and divergence in consumer behaviour: implications for global advertising. International Journal of advertising22(2), 183-202.

This journal article was written in 2003 by De Mooij to investigate the implications of globalization in global marketing. The philosophical underpinning of this journal article is that global convergence and divergence has direct implication in overall consumer behaviour. De Mooij argued that the great aspect of globalization is the convergence of media, technology as well as income. The research established that despite the convergence of income per capita, the consumer behaviour still varies substantially across nations. According to his findings, almost all aspects of consumer behaviour exhibit some form of variations such as usage of goods, media behaviour among others. This journal article is useful to my research study because it presents global convergence and divergence in consumer behaviour. In addition, the article provides comprehensive literature review about the impact of globalization in consumer behaviours. The main findings from the research study are that, although income per capital tends to converge in every country, there is no evidence of homogeneity in consumer behaviours.

Herkenrath, M., König, C., Scholtz, H., & Volken, T. (2005). Convergence and Divergence in the Contemporary World System: An Introduction. International Journal of Comparative Sociology46(5-6), 363-382.

Herkenrath Konig, Scholtz and Volken conducted a comparative empirical research study in 2005 to determine the impact of convergence and divergence in the contemporary world. The study was underpinned by the growing philosophical belief among sociologists that the world is experiencing an accelerated time-space compression in almost all fields. The researchers sued descriptive survey methodology to conduct this research. According to their study, transnational social interactions is considerably growing faster leading to global convergence in consumer behaviour, population trend, media behaviour, governance behaviour, and income per capita among other areas. This journal article is essential to my research study because it discusses globalization by considering how it directly affects social fragments of the contemporary society. In this journal article, the authors concluded that individual and group differences are very durable despite the growing tendencies towards global convergence and that culture is the major attributing factor to the increasing diverging differences.

Potter, R. B. (1993). Urbanization in the Caribbean and Trends of Global Convergence-Divergence. Geographical Journal, 1-21.

This journal articles extends the debate about global divergence and convergence by considering the urbanization trends in the Caribbean and how it is taking shape in the life of the young and the old generations. Notwithstanding the foundation of the region in terms of plantation agriculture, the Caribbean has presently presented as the highly urbanized as compared to other developed nations. The concern is, however, to understand how the interplay between global convergence –  divergence is trending in the region. Potter conducted an empirical survey in the region to establish the emerging trends in global divergence and convergence. After conducting this research, he established that the high level of urbanization in the contemporary Caribbean is influence by the joint processes of global convergence – divergence. This article is essential to my research study it discusses the impact of globalization in urban population. In essence, it uses urban life to give evidence of global convergence in media, consumer behaviour and so on.

Quintanilla, J., & Ferner, A. (2003). Multinationals and Human Resource Management: Between Global Convergence and National Identity. International Journal of Human Resource Management14(3), 363-368.

In 2003, Quintanilla and Ferner conducted an empirical research to determine the effect of globalization in the practice of Human Resource Management. The paper, in particular, focuses on the implication of global divergence and convergence in HRM practice in multinational corporations. The paper was presented on the basis of choosing between national and global system as a mode of doing business at the multinational level. The philosophical underpinning of this research is the general tendency to converge rather than continue with the diversity of business practices. After conducting an empirical research study, Quintanilla and Ferner established that the ongoing globalization dynamics is promoting divergence and convergence in management practices in most organizations across the world. This article is essential to my study because it discuss the impact of globalization in the corporate fields, which has not been largely considered by many authors. In addition, the author used as a similar methodology – descriptive survey – to conduct this research.

Rossouw, G. J. (2009). The Ethics of Corporate Governance: Global Convergence or Divergence? International Journal of Law and Management51(1), 43-51.

In 2009, Rossouw conducted a research in the ethics of corporate government to determine the influence of globalization. He designed this research study to determine whether there are elements of g global divergence and convergence in the ethics of corporate governance. He sued descriptive survey methodology to conduct his research. He considered regional perspectives of corporate governance by selecting corporations from four major regions namely Europe, North America, Asia, and Africa. The article revealed that the four major factors that have great impact on the ethics of corporate governance, namely (1) the prevailing views on roles of firms in the society, (2) societal and cultural norms, (3) patterns of ownership, and (4) socio-political priorities, have limited influence on global convergence in ethic corporate governance. The choice of this article is in its peculiarity and specificity to ethics in corporate governance, which has also been agued to be affected by globalization.

Van Ittersum, K., & Wong, N. (2010). The Lexus or the Olive Tree? Trade-off between Global Convergence and Local Divergence. International Journal of Research in Marketing27(2), 107-118.

This article was written by Ittersum and Wong in 2010 after conducting an empirical research study in global convergence and divergence. He conducted this research with the primary aim of understanding and exposing the existing trade-off between global divergence and convergence. The philosophical underpinning of this research study is the idea that consumers respond in a more complex manner to globalizations. The two researchers examined their proposed conceptual framework in order to describe more effectively how consumers respond through globalization. They sued a cross-sectional survey to conduct this research. According to the result of this research study, divergence in local culture is playing significant role in enhancing global divergence across all nations. In addition, they established that consumer behaviour is based on their belief in the efficacy of preserving authentic cultural products. This article is useful for my research study because it discusses the influence of globalization on consumer behaviours.

Strizhakova, Y., Coulter, R. A., & Price, L. L. (2012). The young adult cohort in emerging markets: Assessing their glocal cultural identity in a global marketplace. International Journal of Research in Marketing29(1), 43-54.

This research paper is very useful to my study because it was written to assess how cultural identify has been influencing the consumption behaviour of the young generation in the global marketplace. The idea of conducting this research was in according to the emerging idea that the consumption belabours of young adults is relatively homogenous as held by majority of multinational firms. The study was conducted by simply analysing the emerging difference in purchase and brand involvement across the globe. Contrary to the global perception, the study findings suggest that the consumption behaviour of young adults is more heterogeneous and not homogeneous. This journal article is very significant to my research study because it provide in-depth analysis of cultural influence consumer behaviour as well as heterogeneity in consumption. In essence, the article gives insightful analysis of the influence of culture on globalization as well as the impacts on young generations. The article contains crucial information that would help me have a clear picture of the effects of globalization especially on the young generations and their emerging cultures.

Kjeldgaard, D., & Askegaard, S. (2006). The glocalization of youth culture: The global youth segment as structures of common difference. Journal of Consumer Research33(2), 231-247.

In 2006, Kjeldgaard and Askegaard conducted a comprehensive research survey to determine the emerging differences in the structure of consumer behaviours with specific consideration of the global youth segment. They analysed the cultural consumption behaviour of youths around the globe. They used multisided empirical study to conduct this research in both Greenland and Denmark. In their research, the authors established that, at the global level, youth culture is being glocalized. They asserted that all these structures of glocalization are influenced by culture. This journal article is very important because it would add great value to my research since it establishes how culture directly influences global divergence thus it would add great value to developing the conceptual framework of my research study. In addition, the researchers descriptive survey methodology which will strongly add value to my research study. Lastly, the article extensively discussed the impact of culture on consumer behaviours.



There is an on-going extensive debate about globalization especially its effects on the consumer behaviour. From the beginning of the 20th century, the world has been experiencing rate arte of globalization and that has led to emergence of difference schools of thoughts. Basically, there are two different schools of thoughts namely global divergence and global convergence. Global convergence, as illustrated by Axelrod (1997), is the idea that all economies will globally converge in terms of their income per capita and consumer behaviour. This argument is facilitated by the fact that the income of impoverished economies tends to grow faster than rich economies and people tend to develop similar preferences and tastes in consumption of goods and services.

The school of thought was first put forward by Theodore Levitt in 1983 when he was lecturing at Harvard University. In his thesis, the Harvard professor argued that globalization causes convergence in all aspects of life across the globe. They give evidence of the narrowing income gap across the world. He predicted that the continual globalization will eventually give rise to global citizens defined as people have the same preferences and tastes and consuming the same product. This would eventually lead to establishment of global monoculture which is characterized by standardization of demands and preferences across the globe. At the moment, several people believe in Theodore’s assumption of global convergence citing various reasons (Cooke 2002). The idea about global convergence is not limited to consumer behaviour only. It is also extended to other aspects such as ethics in corporate governance, human resource management, and media among others.

Even though Professor Theodore Levitt managed to convince many people about his idea of global convergence, some don’t believe it. On the contrary, majority of people believes in the idea of global divergence. As illustrated by Baldwin, Martin and Ottaviano (2001), global divergence is the idea that as globalization continues consumer behaviour will continue diverging and that at no point will all consumers across the global have common tastes and preferences. This school of thought is propagated by the fact that consumers are irrational when making decision and their consumption behaviours cannot be standardized. The proponents of global divergence school of thought postulate that there is no direct link between consumer behaviour and income per capita, therefore, convergence in income per capita cannot lead to global convergence (Campbell 1998).

People who believe in global divergence anticipate increased heterogeneity in consumer behaviour. There are two main reasons cited for increased heterogeneity in consumer behaviour namely (1) increasing cultural diversity, and (2) irrationality of consumers. According to this school of thought, even though income per capita across the globe tend to converge, some cultural factors set in that causes divergence in the pattern of consumer behaviour. Furthermore, majority of consumption patterns and behaviours are influenced by cultural heritage. On the other hand, because consumers are irrational, they cannot make the same decision concerning their purchase all the time. This research paper proposes to investigate the role of globalization in influencing consumer behaviour.

Research Problem

Globalization has created many aspects of arguments which are currently being considered by different researchers, academicians and policy makers. For instance, the idea of globalization has been used to explain convergence in technology, media as well as income per capita across the globe. Some authors such as Mooij (2003), Reilly and Williams (2012), anticipate that globalization will cause homogeneity of consumer behaviours across the globe. On the contrary, some authors such as Herkenrath et al (2005), Durbin (2000) and Potter (1993), strongly believes that heterogeneity is taking place in consumer behaviour across the globe. As this debate goes on, none has provided vivid mechanism through which globalization affects consumption behaviours across the globe. The available literature has not extensively discussed the exact nature of how globalization affects consumer behaviour patterns.

Cross boarder music channel and the emerging youth culture has been used as a strong evidence of global convergence. According to this school of thought, cross boarder music channels such as MTV have been playing significant roles in influencing the taste and preferences of all youths and teenagers across the global. The argument that because youths are watching the cross boarder music channel, they have developed similar values, tastes, preferences and ideology irrespective of their nationality or area of residence. The main problem with this argument is that its proponents have not identified exactly how globalization is making youths develop the same taste and preference (McMichael et, 2004).

The argument about global convergence is based on the assumption that consumers are generally rational when making their consumption choices. However, some researchers have challenged the basis of this assumption arguing that consumers are never rational when making their consumption choices. This new development has put further doubts into the use of global converge theory to explain consumer behaviour.  Consumers may not be as rational as thought when making their consumption decisions. According to Kjeldgaard and Askegaard (2006), the hypothesis of consumer rationality assumes that consumers generally prefer to low-priced products and services. Several researchers such as Quintanilla and Ferner (2003), Utchay (2005) and Berghe (2002), have argued that the hypothesis of consumer rationality is problematic.

The main problem that arises from the global convergence-divergence debate is the lack of evidence of influencing factors. The available pieces of literature have not established clearly how both global converge and global divergence affects the overall consumer behaviour. This research study aims to provide answers to this question by establishing the effect of global convergence-divergence. The research study will investigate the extent to which globalization is influencing consumer behaviour thus the justification for global convergence debate. Little research has been conducted to determine how globalization is influencing consumer behaviour.

On the other hand, those who believe in global divergence argue that the influence cultural factors are causing heterogeneity on consumer behaviours. Despite claim, few pieces of literature are available that discuss the effect of culture on consumer behaviours. In addition, few researches have been conducted to determine exactly how culture influence consumer behaviours. This research study is designed to determine and expose how consumer behaviour is influenced by cultural factors. The research will investigate key elements of culture that have the greatest impact of consumer decision to purchase certain goods and services.

Research Question

This research study will be guided by two research questions listed below:

  1. How does culture influence consumer behaviours?
  2. What are the effects of globalization on consumer behaviours?

Methods of Answering the Research Question

This section illustrates various ways in which the research questions stated above could be answered. To answer the research we shall investigate two different ways namely (1) empirical survey and (2) review of available literature on the topic. This research study will be guided by two hypotheses namely (1) differences culture enhances the growth of heterogeneous consumer behaviours, and (2) globalization does not influence consumer behaviours.

(a) Literature Review Method

The first and most basic approach of answering the research question is to conduct a comprehensive literature review about the topic. This method is quick, easy and not involving as compared to other technique. In this approach, the researcher selects some relevant and recent pieces of academic literature that discuss the topic and review them for more information and understanding on global divergence and convergence. The literature review should attempt to answer specific research questions associated with this study. In addition, the research should use recent publications to avoid e case of presenting obsolete or out-dated information. Items used for literature review include books, publications, peer reviewed articles, journals, and magazines among others.


  1. This method is very simple and easy to conduct since materials are readily available and not in-depth research is required. The researcher can easily access various kinds of publications needed for literature review such as books, journals, peer review articles among others
  2. This method does not require data collection and analysis thus it saves the researcher from conducting field work which could be time involving and costly
  3. It is cheap. Materials needed for research are freely available from libraries and online sources thus saving the research money needed for field work
  4. The results and conclusions from literature review are drawn from credible sources which have been published for academic purposes thus increased credibility and reliability of the information


  1. It is hard to control the quality of information received because the researcher is simply summarizing other people’s work without going into the gritty details of data collection, verification, and analysis
  2. Data inappropriateness is a major challenge in this method because data collected in the primary research may not meet the objectives and aims of this research
  3. The researcher lacks control over data collection, data analysis and quality of the research because he/she was not involved in the primary research
  4. Another disadvantage of literature review is that the information presented might be obsolete or out-dated because the information was collected several years ago

(b) Empirical Survey

The second method which can be sued to answer the research question is the use of empirical surveys. Under this method, the research is expected to collect some pieces of empirical evidence from the research population and analyse them using appropriate tools to answer the research questions. It is the most commonly used method of research in social science. The use of empirical evidence would allow the researcher to gain substantive knowledge of the phenomenon under study. In this method, the needed pieces of empirical evidence can be collected through case studies, experimentation, surveys as well as observations. The needed pieces of empirical evidences are collected, sorted, summarized then analysed using appropriate statistical techniques to gain an insight from the population (Yaeger, Head & Sorensen 2006).

Rossouw (2009) defined empirical evidences as records of direct observation or experience. In this method, the researcher decides on how to collect the empirical evidence, the research population, as well as methods of data analysis and presentation. Pieces of empirical evidences can be collected either through qualitative or quantitative method; quantitative methods are most preferred because of ease of data analysis. When collecting data, the researcher poses several measurable and objective questions. The entire variable used in the research must also be measurable.


  1. The first advantage of this method is that it uses measurable experimentations such as proportions and frequencies to answer the research question
  2. Survey method is advantageous because it uses experimentations which are observable, replicable, and confirmable
  3. This method relies on the use of primary data thus the information can be verified and set to meet objectives and aims of the research
  4. The research has full control of data collection and data analysis which reduces use of inappropriate information in the research
  5. Empirical surveys are not characterized by idealism but rather concrete conclusion because it does not take data analysis into mental abstractions


  1. The first advantage of empirical surveys is the high cost involves. Empirical surveys are expensive because fields works are involved to collect the necessary primary data
  2. It is time consuming because the researcher is required to conduct several field trips to collect data. In addition, huge amount of data is required to make valid conclusions
  3. Invalid results. With this method, short term experiments can produce invalid which ultimately affect the accuracy and reliability of the information

Research methodology

This study is designed to employ descriptive survey research methodology to investigate the impact of globalization on consumer behaviours. The descriptive survey methodology will use quantitative techniques for the purposes of data collection and analysis. The use of descriptive survey methodology is chosen because it allows the researcher to gather, summarize, present and interpret information appropriately for the purpose of answering the research questions. Questionnaire will be the chosen instrument of data collection – the researchers will use mail questionnaire to collect data from the sample population. Once collected, the primary data will be sorted, cleaned then entered into computer software such as SPSS for analysis using preferred statistical techniques.

(a) Weaknesses and implication of the research methodology

This methodology has some weaknesses which might implicate this research study. First, it is difficult to collect all essential pieces of information because the questionnaire is structured and specific to what information is required. The implication of using structured questionnaire is that the respondent might not give other pieces of information which are necessary yet not included in the questionnaire. As a result, the researcher might not have a clear picture of the research phenomenon thus limiting the effectiveness of data analysis, recommendation and conclusion (Strizhakova, Coulter & Price 2012).

Another weakness of descriptive survey methodology is the inability to control accuracy of the responses. This is because the respondent has freedom as regards what information to give in the questionnaire. In essence, the respondent might choose to conceal some information or give inaccurate answers in the questionnaire. The implication of this is the possibility of missing out important information for the data analysis. In addition, there is possibility of not placing the collected information within the correct context when doing the analysis. Lastly, the research may end up using inaccurate information to draw conclusion thus the research will not be valid.

(b) Rationale for descriptive survey methodology

The choice of descriptive survey methodology relies in its ability to provide rich information about the phenomena under study. With this methodology, the research is able to collect information that would give a clear picture of the situation and yield tangible results. In addition, descriptive survey methodology best describes real life situation and give accurate information as they occur. The use of quantitative technique in this methodology ensures ease of data collection and analysis. Lastly, descriptive survey methodology produces pieces of statistical information that are not only measurable but also verifiable.




The on-going debate between global divergence and global converge is taking new twists as more and more researches are being conducted which is a strong indication that the impact of globalization has not been fully comprehended. The argument that convergence of income per capita is leading to homogeneity of consumer behaviour is facing allot of challenges from various sectors and schools of thoughts. The available pieces of literature have not established how convergence of income per capita in influencing homogeneity of consumer behaviours. There is a dire need to fully comprehend the impact of globalization on consumer behaviours (Grinin & Korotaev 2015).

Culture has been vehemently used to oppose the idea of global convergence but rather confirm incidences of global divergence. This research study, if conducted within its right context, will significantly contribute to the on-going debate about global convergence-divergence. The research seeks to establish the impacts of globalisation on consumer behaviour as well as the role of culture in global divergence and convergence. The research is designed to use descriptive survey methodology to provide answers to these intriguing questions (Ittersum & Wong 2010). There are also some evidence indicating global convergences in human resource management and corporate governance among others which will also be investigated in this research.



Axelrod, R 1997, ‘The dissemination of culture a model with local convergence and global polarization’, Journal of conflict resolution41(2), 203-226.

Baldwin, RE, Martin, P & Ottaviano, GI 2001, ‘Global income divergence, trade, and industrialization: The geography of growth take-offs’, Journal of Economic Growth6(1), 5-37.

Berghe, L 2002, Corporate governance in a globalising world: Convergence or divergence? A European perspective, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston.

Campbell, JL 1998, Global convergence or national divergence?: Fiscal reform in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, 1989-1995, Centre for German and European Studies, University of California, Berkeley.

Cooke, WN 2002, Multinational companies and global human resource strategies, Quorum Books, Westport.

Cornelius, PK, & Kogut, B 2003, Corporate Governance and Capital Flows in a Global Economy, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

De Mooij, M 2003, ‘Convergence and divergence in consumer behaviour: implications for global advertising’, International Journal of advertising22(2), 183-202.

Durbin, JR 2000, Convergence and divergence of values in a more global world: Evidence from the 1981 and 1990 World Values Surveys, Iowa State University, Iowa.

Grinin, LE & Korotaev, AV 2015, Great divergence and great convergence: A global perspective, Springer, Cham.

Herkenrath, M, Konig, C, Scholtz, H & Volken, T 2005, ‘Convergence and Divergence in the Contemporary World System an Introduction’, International Journal of Comparative Sociology46(5-6), 363-382.

Ittersum, K & Wong, N 2010, ‘The Lexus or the olive tree? Trading off between global convergence and local divergence’, International Journal of Research in Marketing27(2), 107-118.

Kjeldgaard, D & Askegaard, S 2006, ‘The glocalization of youth culture: The global youth segment as structures of common difference’, Journal of Consumer Research33(2), 231-247.

McMichael, AJ, McKee, M, Shkolnikov, V, & Valkonen, T 2004, ‘Mortality trends and setbacks: global convergence or divergence?’, The Lancet363(9415), 1155-1159.

Potter, RB 1993, ‘Urbanization in the Caribbean and trends of global convergence-divergence’, Geographical Journal, 1-21.

Quintanilla, J & Ferner, A 2003, ‘Multinationals and human resource management: between global convergence and national identity’, International Journal of Human Resource Management14(3), 363-368.

Reilly, PA & Williams, T 2012, Global HR: Challenges facing the function, Gower, Surrey.

Rossouw, GJ 2009, ‘The ethics of corporate governance: Global convergence or divergence?’, International Journal of Law and Management, 51(1), 43-51.

Strizhakova, Y, Coulter, RA, & Price, LL 2012, ‘The young adult cohort in emerging markets: Assessing their glocal cultural identity in a global marketplace’, International Journal of Research in Marketing29(1), 43-54.

Utchay, HU, 2005, Convergence and divergence in global economy and social development: Global perspectives on the contents of economic and social development policy and its effects on rich and poor countries, Abo Akademis Forl, Abo.

Yaeger, TF, Head, TC & Sorensen, PF, 2006, Global organization development: Managing unprecedented change, Information Age Publication, Gr