01 Dec 2021
The Sasin Research Seminar Series continues with Yupin Patarapongsant, Ph.D., and Jumani Zulfiqar Ali, Ph.D., looking at consumer racism and centrism relating to a product’s Country of Origin (COO). The study examines consumers’ attitudes and perceptions in India and Pakistan, who have a history of ongoing conflicts and animosity, assessing feelings toward the goods and consumables originating from the other country. The talk began with Yupin Patarapongsant, Ph.D., explaining how this research will explore consumer racism and consumer centrism, including consumer ethnocentrism, xenocentrism, and cosmopolitanism literature in marketing. The animosity and ongoing conflict between the neighboring countries of India and Pakistan affect COO attitudes and perceptions from various issues, including race, religion, the economy, military, and politics. Dr. Yupin then examined the literature, showing that consumers can be strongly influenced by extrinsic attributes, such as COO, which can affect quality perceptions and willingness to buy. As part of the research, 193 manuscripts from between 2000 and 2021 were examined. This also included lists of constructs relating to COO, studying antecedents, mediators, moderators, and consequences. This led to the main topic of the study – Consumer Racism and Consumer Centrism. Dr. Yupin gave a brief overview of COO, with examples of product categories, branding and the concept of category fit. It is now possible to talk openly about ongoing issues such as racism, consumer centrism, and socioeconomic issues. After briefly explaining consumer racism and how it leads to COO animosity, Dr. Yupin looked at literature that examined the differing effects of ethnic-based ethnocentrism, ethnic-based animosity, and consumer racism. Next, attention turned to consumer centrism and the concepts of ethnocentrism, xenocentrism, and cosmopolitanism. Ethnocentrism is where people support products they identity with their country and want to preserve and promote their nation’s culture and economy. Xenocentrism is effectively the opposite, where individuals view their home culture as inferior while idolizing others. Finally, cosmopolitanism is a more objective view with no bias or reference to the superiority of any nature or culture – groups are evaluated on their merits. Dr. Jumani then gave a brief introduction to the history of India and Pakistan and the background to the ongoing hostilities between the two countries. The two countries trade regularly despite the animosity, and each side’s top five traded items were discussed. There are still a lot of issues to investigate when it comes to consumer behavior, and the researchers found a lack of studies into consumer preferences and attitudes held by Pakistani and Indian people toward COO. This led to a study of consumer racism and consumer centrism relating to products from each nation. The study was split into two phases. Phase one involved interviews with 13 Indian and 15 Pakistani consumers, aged 20-45, about purchasing the other country’s products. The transcripts were coded and contextualized using interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA). Dr. Jumani showed details on the participants and the questions used. The findings showed that Indians are happy to buy Pakistani products if availability, quality, and price are all favorable. The Pakistani sample mirrored this except for some issues from religion. Neither side showed bias toward politics or conflict history, but there were issues relating to things like halal meats. Dr. Jumani looked at several other findings in the data and showed examples of products traded between the two countries. A list of conclusions resulting from the data delved into some of the other attitudes held by participants. Phase two will consist of online questionnaires collecting responses from 400 consumers from Pakistan and India. Dr. Jumani explained how the data would be collected. He finished by discussing the contributions to the marketing and consumer psychology literature that would result from the research and showed where Phase one will be disseminated. The talk was followed by a Q&A session that discussed several topics. These included conducting this same study within an ASEAN context – like looking at how Thai products are perceived by neighbors, the likely differences if an older participant sample was used, and how younger generations in both countries are becoming more collaborative.