Descending from the Ivory Tower: Reflections on the Relevance and Future of Country-of-Origin Research

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Josiassen, Alexander and Harzing, Anne-Wil (2008) Descending from the Ivory Tower: Reflections on the Relevance and Future of Country-of-Origin Research. European Management Review, 5 (4). pp. 264-270. ISSN 1740-4754


In a provocative article in this journal, Jean-Claude Usunier (2006) summarises the critique on country of origin (COO) research and proclaims it to be ivory tower research that is of little relevance for consumers and businesses. Against this background, our paper comments on recent studies criticising both past COO research and the relevance of the COO concept itself. We systematically counter the critique on COO research and provide reflections on the way forward for the field. Despite acknowledging Usunier’s (2006) views that research in this area might be guided by feasibility, rather than theoretical and practical relevance, and suffers from self-referential dynamics and overspecialization, we are critical of his conclusions with regard to the extant literature, its achievements, and future research. We argue that COO is still a very relevant area of research, but one that does need to address several critical challenges.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1057/emr.2008.19
Official URL
Subjects Historical > SEO Classification > 970115 Expanding Knowledge in Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Historical > FOR Classification > 1504 Services
Historical > FOR Classification > 1505 Marketing
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Hospitality Tourism and Marketing
Keywords ResPubID15894, international marketing, country-of-origin, country-of-origin facets, product involvement, product familiarity, brand origin recognition accuracy, product origin congruency
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