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Measures of Psychic Distance Stimuli

Note:   I tend to refer to the constructs below as 'psychic distance stimuli', rather than direct measures of 'psychic distance'.  This reflects an ongoing debate in the field about the precise nature of psychic distance.  The researchers from Uppsala University, who first popularized the concept in the 1970s, defined psychic distance as ...


"factors preventing or disturbing the flows of information between firm and market. Examples of such factors are differences in language, culture, political systems, level of education, level of industrial development, etc." (Johanson & Wiedersheim-Paul, 1975, p308). 


Thus, in the tradition of the Uppsala school, the factors below would be referred to as dimensions of psychic distance.  However, more recent commentators (e.g. Evans et al, 2000) have credibly argued that it is more appropriate to concentrate on a manager's perception of psychic distance, particularly since it is a manager's perceptions which drives their choices and behaviours.  In an effort to reconcile these two views, my co-author and I  have adopted the terminology of 'psychic distance stimuli' and 'perceived psychic distance' (Dow & Karunaratna, 2004, Figure 1), and argue that the former set of factors are major drivers of the later construct.


Now on to the specific factors ...


Differences in Languages


Differences in Religions


Differences in Industrial Development


Differences in Levels of Education


Differences in Political Systems

  • Differences in Degree of Democracy
  • Differences in Political Ideology




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