An Exploratory Look at Fromm's Marketing Character and Individualism/ Collectivism

By Saunders, Shaun; Munro, Don | Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal, January 1, 2001 | Go to article overview

An Exploratory Look at Fromm's Marketing Character and Individualism/ Collectivism


Saunders, Shaun, Munro, Don, Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal


Instruments designed to measure Fromm's marketing character (SCOI; Saunders & Munro, 2000) and the vertical and horizontal dimensions of Individualism and Collectivism (Singelis, Triandis, Bhawuk & Gelfand, 1995) were administered to 167 Ss. The hypothesis that scores on the SCOI would be positively correlated with Vertical Individualism was supported. However, there was only partial support for the hypothesis that scores on the SCOI would be positively correlated with Individualism, as the SCOI scores had the same relationship with Collectivism - which was unexpected.

Fromm (1955) was particularly critical of western society and its emphasis on what he termed the "marketing character", which represents "homo consumens ... a total consumer ... for whom everything becomes an object of consumption" (Fromm, 1970, cited in Funk, 1993, p. 68). The present study evaluates Fromm's (1955) assertion that the marketing character is a by-product of a consumer-driven society that emerged in the western world as a result of the exponential growth of mechanisation in industry required to meet the demands of the second world war (Bedeian, 1986). Rather than close manufacturing plants and risk unemployment and post-war depression, consumer demand was expanded to match supply (Jacoby, 1987). Further, for a capitalist society dependent upon securing loans at interest, continued economic growth is imperative (e.g., Kidron & Segal, 1987).

According to Fromm (1955), the continued survival of a marketing society rests upon its ability to promote the notion that all that is good is outside of one's self Accordingly, an illusion of individuality is promoted whereby people are differentiated by what they possess, instead of by who they are. A person's status in a marketing society is largely based upon his purchasing power, thus the marketing character believes that personal identity and status are derived from and determined more by, the conspicuous possessions that one owns than by intrinsic characteristics.

If the spread of consumption-oriented values has been as pervasive as suggested by Fromm (1955), then one would expect that there have been also concomitant changes in work related values - mass consumption is futile if individual consumers cannot be persuaded to purchase products, and the consumption of products requires money, which, in turn, is usually dependent upon making decisions concerning employment and securing a source of income.

In an extensive international survey of work-related value patterns, Hofstede (1984), found that the individualism/collectivism factor explained the most variation in total.

Persons in individualistic cultures are primarily motivated to serve their own interests and the interests of their immediate family. The opposite of an individualistic culture is a collectivist culture, which promotes values consistent with service to others. Thus, in an individualistic society, life satisfaction is equated with individual success and achievement.

Triandis (1995) further separates individualism and collectivism into vertical and horizontal dimensions. The vertical dimension of both individualism and collectivism includes an acceptance of inequality and the importance of rank, while the horizontal dimension holds that people are essentially similar and do not want to stand out. Horizontal Collectivism is defined by social cohesion and cooperation within the ingroup; Vertical Collectivism is defined by serving the ingroup and doing one's duty while accepting that rank has its privileges, and Horizontal Individualism emphasises uniqueness over competitiveness. Because Vertical Individualism places the goals of self above those of the community, is competitive and emphasises "being the best", it is consistent with contemporary marketing practices, and appears to be compatible with Fromm's (1955) marketing character.

In the present study, a measure of Fromm's (1955) marketing character (the SCOI; Saunders & Munro, 2000) was administered to 167 undergraduate students. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

An Exploratory Look at Fromm's Marketing Character and Individualism/ Collectivism
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.