The article ‘Country–of-Origin and emerging countries: revisiting a complex relationship’ by Mourad Touzani, Smaoui Fatma& Labidi Mouna Meriem introduces us into an exploratory and qualitative approach by understanding some socio-cultural factors likely to explain the preference for international products in emerging countries, and more specifically those characterizing former colonized countries in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA), specifically Tunisia.
The authors introduce us to the effects of globalization and the influx of consumer products from Westernized countries. In emerging countries, consumers are able to buy an array of products both locally and foreign despite governmental efforts to promote national products. The authors make note that although consumers in developed countries prefer local products, consumers in developing countries favor imported products. Explanations given as to why foreign consumers prefer international products is the perception of superior quality, the desire to imitate a Western lifestyle, the scarcity of imported products or their high price. The research explores how consumers experience the COO effect in colonized, emerging countries. The authors focus on Tunisia, an Arab-Muslim country that is considered a representative of the MENA (Middle East North Africa) region. According to the article,
“Tunisia, a formerly colonized Arab-Muslim country in North Africa. Tunisia is classified as an emerging country, undergoing rapid economic growth and industrialization, and shifting to an open market economy. Occupied by France from 1887 to 1956, Tunisia went through periods and events similar to those of its neighbors (Morocco, Libya, and Egypt): colonial period, independence, postcolonial period……It is often considered a test market by multinational companies considering a launch into the MENA market” (pg.52)
COO is an attribute that influences the perceived quality and value of a product, the risk associated with it and consumers’ preferences and intention to purchase it (Ahmed and d’Astous, 2008; Peterson & Joilibert, 1995). COO affects consumer’s evaluation of a product through the country’s image, presented as the set of stereotypes held by the consumers about the country and influencing the purchase decision. Most studies on the COO effect involve the consumers from a developed country who buy domestic products due to their feelings of patriotism, ethnocentrism, and national pride. However, this tendency is much less in emerging countries who tend to prefer Western products. The symbolic meanings that consumers associate with Western products in developing countries are a major factor towards their preference for imported goods. Purchasing imported products solidify a feeling of self -worth and are symbols of prestige, and confer elevated status to their owners.
The authors adopted an exploratory approach, two types of qualitative data were collected: semi-directed individual interviews containing projective formulations, and unstructured individual interviews.
The finding were important as they specified some very interesting values from consumers from colonized countries. The analysis confirmed that there was a strong preference for imported products, a discovered stereotypical belief that everything from Western countries is systematically superior to anything from their own country; the complex of the decolonized implies a feeling of inferiority accompanied by the desire to identify with the oppressing people, indicating a measure of self-denial; the interviewees exhibit the effects of acculturation in situ through purchasing products originating in the West. Acculturated consumption can also take the form of the purchase of products, with the ultimate goal of obtaining objects and services that allow consumers to live a Western lifestyle. Acculturation in situ influences store selection and induces a preference for foreign retailers, to the detriment of Tunisian ones. Acculturation in situ reinforces the idea of encouraged preference for products that convey a Westernized lifestyle. Acculturated consumers identify strongly with lifestyle symbols of Westernized culture. The attraction to Westernized products is promoted through media, creating unending new desires largely beyond consumer’s standard of living, thereby resulting in a sense of frustration and reinforcing the complexity of their relationship with the West.
The problem I saw with the article is that they only studied one country compared to other countries in the MENA communities. I would have liked to know what other countries fell similar to Tunisia. I would have liked to know what specific products the consumers from emerging countries were purchasing to ignite feelings of higher status and positive reinforcement to encourage other purchases from Westernized countries.
THE REPLY IS GONNA BE TO ONE OF THESE QUSTIONS
Question #1. As emerging countries buy and desire Western products because of feelings of self-worth, social status, and modernism; what factors do you think push Western consumers to buy international products?
Question #2. The study implies that consumers from emerging countries purchase Westernized goods to compensate their identity to the oppressing people; do you believe that emerging country governments should promote ethnocentrism and if so how?
Question #3. Do you believe that Westernized countries should buy more imported products from emerging countries to balance trade and other global and international apparel and textile manufacturing endeavors?
Question #4. How do you think that emerging countries and Westernized countries can bridge the gap for p emerging country consumers who feel inferior buying Westernized products, and for Westernized consumers who feel superior to buying emerging country products?
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