Consumer ethnocentrism in international services marketing

J.C. Ruyter, de, M.G.M. Wetzels, M. Birgelen, van

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Consumer ethnocentrism is a relatively new and unknown concept in marketing theory and practice. This concept, which has its roots in sociology, leads to a nationalistic evaluation of foreign products and services. In view of the growing internationalisation of services, consumer ethnocentrism may play an important role in the global market place. Ethnocentric consumers are reluctant to make use of services provided by foreign companies, because of a sense of loyalty towards their home country. In turn, these consumer ethnocentric tendencies can lead to negative attitudes towards foreign services. Sharma et al. (1995) formulated and empirically tested a model which incorporated antecedents and moderating factors of consumer ethnocentricity in the product-sector. Four social–psychological antecedents of consumer ethnocentric tendencies were identified: ‘openness to foreign cultures', ‘patriotism', ‘conservatism', and ‘collectivism/individualism' together with four demographic factors: ‘age', ‘gender', ‘education' and ‘income'. In addition, two moderating factors on the relation between consumer ethnocentrism and attitudes towards foreign products were included in the model: ‘perceived necessity of the product' and ‘perceived economic threat of foreign competition'. Our purpose in this paper is to provide an empirical extension of the model to the services sector, as this sector is characterised by a rapidly increasing internationalisation trend. The results of the extended study confirm the generalisability of the ethnocentric model for the services setting with respect to all social–psychological antecedents. With regard to demographic and moderating factors, different findings are reported in relation to the original research. This is most likely due to the difference in cultural context in which the phenomenon of consumer ethnocentrism was studied.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-202
JournalInternational Business Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1998


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