The role of social norms in consumers' evaluations of brands from emerging countries

Shuang Yang, University of Texas at El Paso


In prior studies, the effects of country of origin (COO) on purchase intention have been explained by signaling theory, the elaboration likelihood model and categorization theory. However, none of these theories explains the role social norms play in COO effects. Applying the theory of reasoned action (TRA), this study proposes that COO influences purchase intention through attitudes and social norms. This proposed model explains the joint effect of quality perceptions, consumer animosity, and perceived social pressure on purchase intention. The moderation effect of collectivism/individualism culture is also tested. The research findings support the proposed model. Specifically, the results suggest that COO effects for brands from emerging markets are not only related to the individual's assessment of functional product quality, but also to the individual's perceived social value of the brand. Furthermore, the findings suggest that the social value of a brand from an emerging country is more influential in collectivistic cultures. For managerial practice, these research findings highlight the importance of reinforcing the socially desirable functions of brands from emerging countries. For instance, the findings of the dissertation suggest a different approach to the management of brand alliances. Currently, managers of brands from emerging countries attempt to alleviate negative perceptions of product quality by forming strategic brand alliances with or acquiring companies that are perceived as "competent." For example, Lenovo's acquisition of IBM's PC sector on 2005. This dissertation suggests that brands from emerging countries should also consider forming alliances with brands that are not only functionally competent, but also socially desirable. Hence, brands such as Lenovo should increase their social desirability by investing in brand image and/or forming alliances with meaningful brands.

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Recommended Citation

Yang, Shuang, "The role of social norms in consumers' evaluations of brands from emerging countries" (2014). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3623493.