Purpose – The main purpose of the study is to delve into the effects of consumer ethnocentrism and animosity on the consumer’s utilization of country-of-origin information when conducting their evaluation of foreign supply. In particular, the paper intends to analyze the influence of consumer ethnocentrism, political animosity and product country image on product receptivity and to assess how each of these constructs – and the interactions among them – affect the purchasing decisions of foreign goods. Methodology – The main contribution of this study is to propose an integrative model which extends the stream of research linked to the country image in a cross-national perspective. Our study empirically tests how political animosity and ethnocentrism are related because, although several authors have emphasized the existence of a correlation between them, few studies have confirmed their relationship (Shimp and Sharma, 1987; Shankarmahesh, 2006). Therefore, the proposed research model will be tested through an empirical survey conducted on a sample of Italian and Spanish consumers in order to examine the interactions between the product country images and the feelings of animosity and of ethnocentrism, evaluated in reference to Germany. Findings – Results show that people have more negative product perceptions of a perceived unfriendly nation than a perceived friendly nation, which provides evidence of the country image as a collective construction. Moreover, a positive perception of the product country image is able to enhance positive attitudes towards foreign goods. The results further highlight the importance of the political animosity and the consumer ethnocentrism constructs in the process of the country image formation and, consequently, in the decision processes made by international consumers. Research implications – From a theoretical view, this study adds to body of knowledge by identifying – and analysing – three variables (political animosity, consumer ethnocentrism, product country image) affecting consumers’ intentions to purchase foreign products. Current research is solid in analyzing domestic product biases but quite weak in explaining foreign product purchase behavior (Riefler and Diamantopoulos, 2009; Dmitrovic et alii, 2009). Particularly, consumer ethnocentrism defined as “the beliefs held by […] consumers about the appropriateness, indeed morality, of purchasing foreign-made products” (Shimp and Sharma, 1987; Shankarmahesh, 2006), is a good predictor of domestic product purchases, but the construct by itself is fragile in clarifying foreign product purchase models. Consequently, besides filling the gaps that have emerged in the literature on product country image, animosity and ethnocentrism, the study aims to clarify the link between these constructs developed in different research streams. Practical implications – Results from our study may underline significant implications for international businesses when performing foreign market potential analysis. The study suggests that firms should overcome the simple standardization/differentiation framework related to the international promotion, when addressing countries which are currently facing significant economic problems. In this case it may be beneficial also to consider ideologies such as political animosity and ethnocentrism among consumers. Originality – Our study empirically tests how animosity and ethnocentirsm are related in order to evaluate the perceptive and behavioral consequences in terms of product country image and attitudes towards foreign supply. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study that combines political animosity and consumer ethnocentrism studies with those related to the general country image and the product receptivity in order to identify relationships and effects on attitudes towards foreign goods on the part of international consumers. Key words – Economic animosity, consumer ethnocentrism, product country image, product receptivity.
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