Against the background of several theoretical and methodological criticisms on country of origin (COO) effects research, integrating the Means-End-Chain (MEC), this study investigated the effect of MEC based product COO images on elite consumers’ attitudes and purchase intentions towards local and foreign made products, across hedonic and utilitarian products when buying for personal use vs. as a gift for a friend. The effect of two antecedents (consumer ethnocentrism and consumer need for uniqueness) on consumer attitudes and purchase intentions were also investigated. The data for the study was gathered via a sequential mixed methods study comprised of two phase pilot study (30 qualitative laddering interviews + quantitative survey with 261 elite consumers) and a primary study with a self-administered survey conducted in Sri Lanka among 311 elite professionals. The qualitative data were analysed employing standard MEC laddering data analysis procedure. Hierarchical regression analysis and paired sample t-tests were used to analyse the quantitative data. The results indicate that there is a significant difference in elite Sri Lankan consumers’ MEC based product images, attitudes and purchase intentions towards local versus foreign made products. Differences were also found between foreign COOs and across hedonic versus utilitarian product categories and purchase occasions. The MEC-based product COO images were found to have a significant ability to predict elite consumers’ attitudes and purchase intentions. No significant effects of consumer ethnocentrism or consumer need for uniqueness were found on attitudes or purchase intentions. This study contributes to the body of knowledge of COO by asserting that COO is a relevant research area and providing a richer understanding of how elite consumers in an emerging market utilise COO as a means to achieve their desired end goals or values. From a managerial perspective, it indicates that COO needs to be managed carefully by companies as COO based product images are developed in MEC based sequence and these images differ across product categories and purchase occasions.
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2013|