The horizontal/vertical distinction in cross-cultural consumer research

Sharon Shavitt, Ashok K. Lalwani, Jing Zhang, Carlos J. Torelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

224 Scopus citations


We argue for the importance of a relatively new cultural distinction in the horizontal (valuing equality) or vertical (emphasizing hierarchy) nature of cultures and cultural orientations. A review of the existing cross-cultural literature is presented suggesting that, although the contribution of the horizontal/vertical distinction is sometimes obscured by methods that conflate it with other dimensions, its impact is distinct from that associated with individualism- collectivism. We present studies that highlight several sources of value for the horizontal/vertical distinction - as a predictor of new consumer psychology phenomena and as a basis for refining the understanding of known phenomena. Results support the utility of examining this distinction for the understanding of personal values, advertising and consumer persuasion, self-presentational patterns, and gender differences. Methodological issues in studying the horizontal/vertical distinction are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-342
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Consumer Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


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