Each year, clients spend large sums on professional services, such as accounting services, legal services and consulting services. While research has found significant cross-country differences in organizations’ spending on professional services, we do not know why they occur. Inspired by the organizational buying behavior literature, this paper investigates the influence of national culture on the use of professional services, particularly management consulting services. As the use of professional services involves considerable uncertainties—particularly for the buyer—it can be assumed to be influenced by cultural differences regarding the level of Uncertainty Avoidance, Individualism and Masculinity. By drawing on two independent cross-country studies, we show that organizations in high uncertainty avoidance and individualistic cultures use professional services less than organizations in low uncertainty avoidance and collectivist cultures. We found no relationship between Hofstede's dimension of Masculinity and the use of professional services. The findings contribute to the theorizing on how the cultural context influences organizational buying behavior and the purchasing of professional services.
- Consulting service purchasing
- National culture
- Professional services
- Service consumption
- Uncertainty avoidance