A Cross-Cultural Study of Consumer Switching in the Retail Banking Services Sector

  • Frank Siegfried

Student thesis: Doctor of Business Administration


The retail banking services sector, a key driver for global economic growth, faces drastic challenges, such as globalised competition and continuously changing customer expectations that call for an in-depth understanding of customer switching, particularly in Asia's emerging markets. Research shows that minor reductions in switching can notably enhance profitability. Yet only insufficient or fragmented research to explain switching exists. For this study titled "A Cross-Cultural Study of Consumer Switching in the Retail Banking Services Sector" at The University of Manchester, completed in September 2014, Frank Siegfried identified the theory of planned behaviour as the most suitable framework, while Singapore served as a test bed in view of its diverse population. A qualitative pilot study was conducted (February to April 2010), consisting of 22 semi-structured interviews, in which a suitable definition of switching and a better understanding about the cross-cultural context of this study were developed. These insights were instrumental in the design of a new theoretical model, built on constructs that had not been combined in a single framework before, applying constructs of the theory of planned behaviour as the foundational framework, and subsequently integrating the concept of past behaviour, selected cultural dimensions from the GLOBE model and four distinct predisposing and precipitating factors.Next, a quantitative study was conducted (January to May 2013) and, after data cleaning, a quasi-representative sample of 1,431 cases was subjected to analysis. For comparability with other studies, both regression analysis (RA) and structural equation modelling (SEM) were performed. Notable results that were consistent in RA and SEM include: Attitude towards switching (attitude) successfully explained switching intention. Subjective norms had a positive effect on attitude, which implied a mediated effect of subjective norms on switching intention. Contradicting the initial hypothesis, a significant effect of perceived behavioural control on switching intention was negative. Past behaviour had a significant, but weak positive effect on attitude and switching intention, as well as an indirect positive effect on switching intention, mediated by attitude. Lack of trust positively affected switching intention. Service failure had a strong positive effect on switching intention, with perceived behavioural control moderating this effect. Performance orientation had a moderately strong effect on perceived behavioural control. High in-group collectivism negatively affected service failure. These results constitute the new Comprehensive Banking Service Switching Model (CBSSM). Interestingly, a large number of constructs and construct paths that played an important role in the literature could not be confirmed as significant contributors to the model. Overall, tests of model fit still showed a significant contribution of the proposed extensions to the foundational model.Weighting the importance of various constructs in a single framework enhances the understanding of switching of retail banking services in Singapore and offers new insights for strategic planning, particularly in the areas of branding, marketing, service operations and human capital management. Theoretical, methodological and managerial implications are discussed in detail.
Date of Award1 Aug 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorJikyeong Kang (Supervisor)


  • switching, retail banking, services, Asia, Singapore, diversity,
  • Theory of Planned Behaviour, GLOBE, trust, past behaviour,
  • Structural Equation Modeling, Regression, Qualitative Analysis

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