This paper develops a conceptual model of the relationship between different cultural values and how they influence consumer satisfaction in the tourism industry. It is hypothesized that cultural differences manifest themselves in different levels of importance being placed upon different aspects of service, and the differences between the levels of importance and the actual service received cause differences in the levels of satisfaction. These hypotheses are tested using 269 independent samples of levels of importance and 411 independent samples of satisfaction of tourists from four cultural groups (Australian, USA/Canadian, Japanese, Mandarin speakers) who visited Melbourne, Australia in the period May-September, 1996. The analysis develops dimensions of importance and satisfaction separately for each cultural grouping, and uses structural equation modeling (Amos 3.6) to develop the causal model measuring the way in which importance of service dimensions cause dimensions of satisfaction. Conclusions from the analysis show little evidence of a causal relationship between importance of service quality attributes and satisfaction. However, significant differences are found between cultures for different levels of satisfaction resulting indirectly from differences in the importance and actual levels of service received.
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