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Using thematic analysis to explore symbolism in transport choice across national cultures

Ashmore, DP; Thoreau, R; Kwami, C; Christie, N; Tyler, NA; (2018) Using thematic analysis to explore symbolism in transport choice across national cultures. Transportation pp. 1-34. 10.1007/s11116-018-9902-7. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Symbolism, what people believe a transport mode tells others about them within the context of a hierarchical society, has been shown to be a significant driver of transport choice. However, despite the common practice of transferring transport policies between nations, no research has focused on how a mode’s symbolic connotations vary across national cultures and how this may affect individual and group transport choices. This paper describes research which utilised two aspects of the Hofstede cross-cultural indices—power differential, and individualism versus collectivism—to develop and strengthen theory through qualitative deductive thematic analysis. Forty-eight interviewees from four Hofstede cultural clusters were sampled horizontally, across equivalent income, occupational and educational levels, to attempt to lessen socio-demographic distortions. Semi-structured interviews were then undertaken. Interview transcripts were analysed manually using previously derived symbolic transport thematic codes. The significant differences between the Hofstede groups in both the density of thematic coding, and the quotes offered, suggest symbolism may strongly influence the potential outcomes of transport policies transferred between nations possessing significantly different cultural attributes and imperatives. Given this the authors believe there is sound justification for further deductive and inductive analysis on the existing dataset, and the extension of the theory to a broader population within each cultural cluster.

Type: Article
Title: Using thematic analysis to explore symbolism in transport choice across national cultures
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s11116-018-9902-7
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11116-018-9902-7
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Symbolism, National culture, Latent motivation, thematic analysis, Hofstede indices
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Civil, Environ and Geomatic Eng
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10066077
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