Does language homophily affect migrant consumers’ service usage intentions?

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Purpose: This paper investigates how language homophily between service providers and migrant consumers affects migrant consumers’ intentions to engage with financial and medical service providers.

Design/methodology/approach: Three empirical studies were conducted with migrant consumers living in Chile, England and the USA. Participants were presented information on service providers, and language homophily was manipulated between subjects. In the high (low) language homophily condition, service providers were described as having (not having) the ability to speak the native language of the migrant consumer.

Findings: Language homophily was found to increase migrant consumers’ expectation of control over a service encounter and, in turn, increase their intention to use a provider’s services. Collectivism was identified as a boundary condition. Among high collectivist consumers, language homophily did not affect service usage intentions; however, language homophily did positively affect service usage intentions among low collectivist consumers.

Originality/value: This work extends prior research on service provider language by finding a positive effect of language homophily on service usage intentions and by identifying mediating (i.e. expected control over the outcome of the service encounter) and moderating (i.e. collectivism) mechanisms for this effect.




Pezzuti, T., Pierce, M., Leonhardt, J. (2018). Does Language Homophily Affect Migrant Consumers' Service Usage Intentions? Journal of Services Marketing, 32 (5), 581–591.