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Prof.ssa Giada Mainolfi
Prof. Alessandro De Nisco, Prof. Adamantios Diamantopoulos (Università di Vienna)
The recent application of (sociological) xenocentrism construct (Kent and Burnight, 1951) in the consumer behavior domain has sparked increased research in the behavior of xenocentric consumers. Consumer xenocentrism is defined as a “consumer’s internalized belief of the inferiority of domestic products and a corresponding propensity to prefer foreign products for social aggrandizement purposes” (Balabanis and Diamantopoulos, 2016, p. 61). Although a newcomer in international marketing literature, consumer xenocentrism has been found to be a very promising construct for explaining consumer preferences for foreign products and brands and the rejection of their domestic counterparts (Diamantopoulos et al., 2018). Indeed, a recent comparison of the predictive ability of five consumer dispositions (ethnocentrism, cosmopolitanism, xenocentrism, global identity, local identity) concludes that “the system justification theory based construct of consumer xenocentrism consistently explains both types of biases (toward domestic and foreign products)” (Balabanis et al. 2019, p. 51). However, extant research has failed to explicitly take into account consumer sentiments towards the specific foreign country, the products of which are ostensibly preferred (over domestic offerings) by xenocentric consumers. For example, Diamantopoulos et al. (2018) – using a sample of Russian consumers – empirically demonstrated that consumer xenocentrism is positively related to consumer preferences for Italian (shoe) brands and negatively related to preferences for Russian brands but the authors did not explicitly consider whether Italy is perceived as an affinity country by Russians. If this were to be the case, then the observed effects of consumer xenocentrism may well be confounded with the effects of consumer affinity. Thus county specific sentiments and xenocentric tendencies need to be disentangled when empirically investigating consumer preferences for foreign products and brands.
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