Country-of-Origin Ecological Image: Dimensions of the Construct and their Impacts on Consumers’ Evaluation of Eco-Products: An Abstract
The country-of-origin (COO) construct represents one of the most important issues in international marketing that was widely examined during the past 50 years. In this light, the literature confirmed a significant effect of COO on consumers’ reactions toward products from different origins (Wang and Lamb 1983; Laroche et al. 2005). Accordingly, the COO effect works through the country image which is a multidimensional construct consisting of several dimensions such as the political structure, the level of economic development, the technological advancement, and the cultural aspect (Wang and Lamb 1980; Han and Terpstra 1988; Heslop and Papadopoulos 1993). In addition, some dimensions related to product-country image such as price, innovation, design, prestige, and workmanship have been considered (Nagashima 1970; Roth and Romeo 1992). However, it is important to observe that this literature excluded dimensions related to environmental and social issues. The country’s ecological image is still an emerging construct even with the effect it could have on consumers’ evaluations (Dekhili and Achabou 2014). In effect, countries vary in their seriousness in treating environmental and social issues and thus project different ecological images (Shrivastava 1995; EPI 2016). Hence, this study aims to explore the country-of-origin ecological image construct by studying its different dimensions.
To fill this objective, we conducted a qualitative study with a sample of 15 professionals in the field of sustainability, a focus group of 11 consumers in the French context, and 2 focus groups in the Australian context. Our findings suggest that the COO ecological image construct is composed mainly of seven dimensions: political, technological, economic, climatic, historical, geographical, and people’s characteristics. Consequently, our results offer several recommendations for managers to better promote their eco-products mainly on the international market by mobilizing favorable country-of-origin ecological images and avoiding unfavorable dimensions.
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