Academic journal article Journal of Competitiveness Studies

Understanding Anti-Americanism among Arab Consumers: The Case of Jordan

Academic journal article Journal of Competitiveness Studies

Understanding Anti-Americanism among Arab Consumers: The Case of Jordan

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

With the increasing pace of globalization, competition for winning the hearts and minds of consumers have become more intense than ever before. As a result, the topic of international competitiveness at firm, industry, and country level has been receiving growing attention from researchers. While in the past, such attention came mainly from economists, lately, however, researchers from other business disciplines such as marketing and international business are also paying increased attention to this topic (e.g. Ali, 2011; Omar & Porter, 2011; Rugman et al., 2012). Understanding and analyzing markets help companies to be more competitive (Green, 2008). In this competitive global marketplace, satisfying consumers is a sine qua non for the survival of all companies and organizations. In this backdrop, studying consumers' attitudes towards foreign products can help international marketing managers conduct more effective global marketing strategies with a view to enhancing the competitive position of their firm.

In order to succeed in international markets, international firms must consider the diversity of factors that influence culture in foreign countries (Omar & Porter, 2011, p.386). There is much evidence that most individuals in a given country do possess general ideas about other countries. For example, based on data from a sample of Chinese consumers, Ahmed and d'Astous (2004) found that products sourced from highly industrialized countries such as Japan are perceived more favorably than products originating from newly industrialized countries such as Iran. A favorable perception of a particular country denotes a favorable perception toward that country's products (Paswan & Sharma, 2004). Marketing researchers have thus started linking the country-of-origin (COO) to levels of consumer animosity. In this paper, we posit that consumer animosity toward a certain country, or a lack thereof, can indeed affect the competitive position of firms from that country. In sum, this paper purports to:

* investigate how the levels of Jordanian consumers' conservatism, dogmatism and world-mindedness influence their animosity towards the US;

* explore the relationship between Jordanian consumers' animosity towards the US and their willingness to buy US products.

* examine the impact of demographics, if any, on consumer animosity towards the US; and

* analyze the findings in the light of previous research findings.

Jordan has been chosen for this study for a number of reasons. First, Jordan is an important diplomatic, political and military ally of the US in the region. Second, after Israel, Jordan was the first country in the region with which the US signed a free trade agreement, signaling continued US interest in developing business relationship with Jordan. Third, most research on Middle Eastern countries tend to focus on the consumers from oil rich Gulf countries and we rarely find anything on Jordan. The recent turmoil in many Arab countries and the relative stability in Jordan are likely to make Jordan an even more attractive country for US firms. Therefore, it is important for US businesses to gain a better understanding of the Jordanian mindset.

LITERATURE REVIEW

The Concept of Consumer Animosity

Until recently, the topic of consumer animosity received scant attention and research on this topic was mostly confined among consumer behavior researchers. However, a review of recent literature suggests the topic is increasingly being addressed in international business literature (Riefler & Diamantopoulos, 2007). It is generally held that feelings of animosity that individuals of a particular country hold against another country may lead to unwillingness to purchase goods from that country (Klein, 2002). Consumers may reject purchasing products originating from a country due to military or economic disagreements, regardless of these products' quality evaluations or their intrinsic and extrinsic cues (Dmitrovic & Vida, 2010). …

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