Understanding the Formation of Psychic Distance Perceptions
Academy of Management Proceedings
This study investigates individual managers’ formation of psychic distance perceptions to foreign countries. Adopting a social psychological perspective, we propose three social-cognitive mechanisms - social comparison, mere exposure, and social learning - to help explain why and how country- and individual-level characteristics affect the formation of such perceptions. Based on an international survey of 1,591 managers located in 25 countries, we find that country-specific international experience, formal education, and a match between a managers’ first language and the language of the target country reduce psychic distance perceptions. Surprisingly, and in contrast to conventional wisdom, managers’ international and overall work experiences do not seem to have any effect on their distance perceptions. However, relative to country-level factors, individual-level antecedents seem to have rather limited explanatory power as predictors of overall psychic distance perceptions, lending support to the widely-employed practice of operationalizing psychic distances through country level indicators. In addition to these empirical findings, the study contributes by providing a theoretical social psychological framework for the understanding of how psychic distance perceptions are formed.
contribution to scientific community
Academy of Management