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Buyer Monitoring Cross-Culturally


Kwortnik, Lynn, and Ross demonstrated across multiple studies and service-industry contexts that voluntary tipping (a form of buyer monitoring) is a more effective employee control mechanism for improving service than is compensating workers with a service charge on the bill or a fixed wage per hour.


However, Kwortnik et al.’s studies were United States-based, where tipping behavior is common and generally accepted; such is not the case in many other countries around the world.

Thus, the aim of this research note is twofold: (a) to replicate Kwortnik et al.’s results in the United States and, (b) to examine whether the results hold in other countries given cross-cultural differences that may affect the efficacy of buyer monitoring as a means to improve service.


Using data from 10 countries across several continents, we show that

(a) Kwortnik et al.’s findings only partially replicate in the United States,

(b) the buyer monitoring principle does not hold worldwide, and

(c) buyer monitoring is more effective in influencing service motivation and behavior in Western (individualistic) than in Eastern (collectivistic) cultures.


The research was made by Theo Lieven, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland and Robert J. Kwortnik from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA and first published on May 29 in Cornell Hospitality.


#crossculture #generous #tips