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Journal of International Business Studies (2008) 39, 996–1009

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Understanding consumer animosity in an international crisis: nature, antecedents, and consequences
Siew Meng Leong1, Joseph A Cote2, Swee Hoon Ang1, Soo Jiuan Tan1, Kwon Jung3, Ah Keng Kau1 and Chanthika Pornpitakpan4
1 Department of Marketing, NUS Business School, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Republic of Singapore; 2Washington State University, Vancouver, USA; 3KDI School of Public Policy and Management, Korea; 4Faculty of Business Administration, University of Macau, China

Abstract The nature, antecedents, and consequences of consumer animosity during the 1997 Asian economic crisis are investigated, based on a large-scale survey of 2000 adult consumers representative of five affected nations (Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand). An animosity model was developed and tested with the US and Japan as target countries. As predicted, stable and situational animosity reduced willingness to buy products from a perceived hostile national entity. Affective evaluations and cognitive judgments were negatively influenced by situational animosity but not by stable animosity. As expected, situational animosity was increased by external attribution, perceived external control, and stable animosity. Implications of these findings are discussed, and directions for future research suggested. Journal of International Business Studies (2008) 39, 996–1009. doi:10.1057/palgrave.jibs.8400392
Keywords: animosity; Asia; crisis; international marketing

Correspondence: SM Leong, Department of Marketing, NUS Business School, National University of Singapore, 1 Business Link, Singapore 117592, Republic of Singapore. Tel: þ 65 6516 3172; Fax: þ 65 6779 5941; E-mail: bizlsm@nus.edu.sg

Received: 21 July 2005 Revised: 1 September 2006 Accepted: 20 June 2007 Online publication date: 15 May 2008

INTRODUCTION Expanding globalization makes it necessary that marketers have a better understanding of foreign consumer reactions toward their brands. Recent research suggests that perceptions of a product’s home country affiliation can affect consumers’ buying decisions directly and independently of product performance (Klein, 2002; Klein, Ettenson, & Morris, 1998). While country affiliation can convey positive attributes, it may also create brand animosity, particularly when it is ignited during times of crisis. For example, the ongoing Iraq conflict has fanned anti-US sentiment overseas, which may result in American brands being shunned in some markets. Indeed, the Asian edition of BusinessWeek’s ranking of the world’s most valuable brands came under the headline ‘‘Brands in an Age of Anti-Americanism’’ (Khermouch, Brady, Holmes, Ihlwan, Kripalani, & Picard, 2003; see also Kripalani, 2004). Another notable example of animosity is the Korean ban on Japanese products, which was completely lifted only in 2002, more than 50 years after the end of World War II (Miami Herald, 2003). The possibility that a country’s political actions in the international arena may create animosity towards brands affiliated with that nation has motivated research into consumer animosity, its antecedents, and its effects on purchase intentions and behavior.

given its emotional core. (1988) conceptualized hostility as having both a cognitive and an attitudinal component. ethnic group. and Journal of International Business Studies . 1982). and employed two major nations – the US and Japan – as target nations. Extant animosity research has explored only the direct effect of animosity on willingness to buy and on product judgment (Klein. and Yim (2005) found that national animosity is a multidimensional and emotionally based construct that biases recall and affective judgments. while economic animosity affected reluctance to buy indirectly through consumer ethnocentrism. By using early cues based on an understanding of the psychological determinants of animosity. Jung.. 2000: 22).. Ang. and that stable animosity will impact on situational animosity. Our third contribution is methodological in nature. followed by the results of our survey. it is important for global brand marketers to recognize and detect any such sentiments in the foreign markets that could destroy brands with strong country-of-origin linkages. it is relatively hard to alter or damage it except through major political. and built up over centuries. 1999). we propose and test a model that examines the antecedents and consequences of situational and stable animosity associated with the Asian economic crisis. 1987). political. Animosity has been found to be a hostile attitude comprising emotion and belief components toward national out-groups (Jung et al. or entity. In contrast. and future research directions of our work. More recent research has demonstrated animosity to be multidimensional. situational and stable animosity will also influence affective evaluations of products. and Kau (2002) found that animosity can be split into situational animosity. Maheswaran. as they were derived from a large. In this era of heightened political and social sensitivity. our data provide more robust insights into the nature. representative sample of adult consumers from five Asian nations. which is sparked by a particular episode. and stable animosity.. Leong. Gu. international marketers can devise strategies to defuse potential damage to their brands arising from animosity towards the country with which their brands are associated. Unlike ethnocentrism. The cognitive dimension involves cynical beliefs and mistrust of others. Tan.Consumer animosity in an international crisis Siew Meng Leong et al 997 Animosity is the emotional antagonism towards a particular entity (Averill. Continuing this line of inquiry. 1982).. Hence. 2002). 2000). Unlike past research.g. and consequences of animosity. We next review the animosity literature to develop our conceptual model and hypotheses. Japan has been cited as a good example of a country that has succeeded rapidly in altering its value as a provenance brand (Anholt.. we define animosity as a two-dimensional construct that can be episodic (situational animosity) or enduring (stable animosity). Conceptually. or violating social norms (Averill. economic or social upheaval’’ (Anholt. our examination of the animosity construct helps decision-makers recognize whether and how animosity affects consumer preferences. Past animosity research has typically employed respondents from a single country. Panadopoulos. we seek to provide insights into the extent to which animosity translates into economic preferences. We conclude by discussing the implications. Marketing experts have long extolled the value of country of origin on international brands (Heslop. animosity is targeted towards a particular country. evolving into a long-lasting hostility. 1994). & Bourk. We propose that. unwarranted. Our second contribution pertains to marketing practice. where anything other than one’s own country is viewed unfavorably (Shimp & Sharma. Brummett et al. or economic actions between nations and peoples that are perceived as hostile. such as war or an economic event (Klein et al. Liefeld. 1993). 1998). and has focused on a single reference nation as a target of hostility (Klein et al. 2002. Our contribution is threefold. It has also been contended that ‘‘because a country’s brand is usually highly complex and robust. on the managerial front. DEVELOPMENT OF CONCEPTUAL MODEL Animosity refers to strong feelings of dislike and enmity based on beliefs arising from previous or ongoing military. which tends to accumulate over time. Instead of identifying animosity as a single construct with specific manifestation. Klein et al. we draw on Weiner’s (1986) attribution theory to propose external control and external attribution as two important psychological antecedents to situational animosity. limitations. Initial marketing research explored the effects of animosity as a unidimensional construct (e. antecedents. 1998. For example. 1998). which explored mainly demographic and socio-economic antecedents of animosity (Klein & Ettenson. Tse. Pornpitakpan. 1998). Nijssen and Douglas (2004) found that war animosity had a strong effect on reluctance to buy foreign products. We then provide our research methodology.

with the opening up of China. and disgust. the lower his or her willingness to purchase products from that country. The animosity is situational. even at prices that are three to four times higher (Tefft. arouses situational animosity at the time of occurrence. the recent success of such brands as Mecca-Cola and Qibla-Cola in Muslim nations is derived partly from Islamic consumers’ disapproval of American foreign policy following the invasion of Iraq. the less favorable is the liking for products from the concerned country. a difference attributable to the past colonial link between the United Kingdom and India. 2005). Whereas situational animosity refers to a specific circumstance. Aside from its indirect impact via cognitive judgments and affective evaluations posited here. When situational animosity towards a particular entity is aroused. Affective evaluations would likewise be influenced. This suggests that animosity can influence both cognitive judgments and affective evaluations of products (cf. The former is referred to as situational animosity. but can evolve into stable animosity over time as the atrocities of war are remembered. with the same country being viewed as responsible for the occurrences. for example. 1994). then the animosity can become ingrained and stable over time. following an incident in 2003 when a group of Japanese tourists attended a brothel-type party in Zhuhai. if the event becomes drawn out. for generations. 2002). the 1997 Asian economic crisis may have prompted situational animosity towards countries perceived to have contributed to the crisis. or can evolve over time through a series of events ( Jung et al. the emotion can be situationally driven by a particular event. as it pertained to a specific event. where the greater the animosity. becoming ingrained over time. imported (Western) products have been viewed favorably over domestic products in China. regardless of whether animosity is derived from a current or an ongoing series of events. on the anniversary of Japan’s attack on China during World War II. Klein. as well as on cognitive judgments and affective evaluations of. Affected Middle Eastern consumers have switched to such offerings to show active support for brands that advertise a political and ethical alternative to American brands (Parmar. and the latter as stable animosity. information pertaining to the current Journal of International Business Studies ... Hypothesis 2: The more animosity a consumer feels towards a country. Empirically. Thus the hostile beliefs regarding one country can be extended to judgments regarding quality of products from that country. Krisnakumar (1974) has shown that Indian students evaluate British products more positively than do students from Taiwan. negative impact on willingness to buy (Klein et al. we expect a positive relationship between stable and situational animosity. Thus we hypothesize: Hypothesis 1: The more animosity a consumer feels towards a country. Thus. Indeed. China. Shimp.. 2002). For example. and its normalization of relationships with countries in North America and Europe since the late 1980s. We predict that Hypotheses 1–3 would hold for both stable and situational animosity. In contrast. contempt. Hypothesis 3: The less favorable the cognitive judgments and affective evaluations a consumer has of products from a country. 2004). Dunn. Beliefs about product quality are tainted by beliefs about the country that it comes from. For instance. the less favorable are his or her other cognitive judgments and affective evaluations of products from that country. it should negatively impact on willingness to buy. the less willing he or she is to buy products from that country. though not necessarily personally experienced. 1998). the strong emotional core of the animosity construct suggests that it should correspondingly influence consumers’ affective evaluations of products. Since animosity is based on beliefs arising from previous or ongoing hostility. the lower levels of product judgment and affect lead to decreased willingness to purchase. For instance. However. In the Cold War years there was a backlash against anything Western in China.Consumer animosity in an international crisis Siew Meng Leong et al 998 the attitudinal dimension involves negative emotions of anger. In turn. War between two countries. including the boycott of Japanese goods (Tse et al. animosity has also been found to have a direct. and Klein (2004) found that animosity correlated with the degree to which consumers chose products from their own region and the extent to which they were willing to pay premium prices to obtain these items. or several economic crises occur one after the other. about 30% of the Chinese college students’ chat room comments rallied for actions against Japan. products from the perceived target of hostility. Moreover. stable animosity is long lasting and deep rooted.

Low controllability suggests that there is little that the party responsible for the event can do to avoid the outcome. the greater the situational animosity that will be felt towards that country. the greater is their situational animosity towards the US. when consumers have strongly held preferences.Consumer animosity in an international crisis Siew Meng Leong et al 999 event may be processed in a manner biased by stable animosity towards that entity. whereas Malaysia instituted capital controls to contain the crisis). South Korea. and Thailand. Malaysia. they engage in motivated processing ( Jain & Maheswaran. Weiner’s (1986) attribution theory suggests two other antecedents of situational animosity that will be investigated here: locus of attribution. These countries varied in how severely affected they were by the crisis (Indonesia. the more situational animosity will be felt towards the outside entity. Adults in these five countries were asked for their views regarding two major countries – the US and Japan – in general. For instance. and Korea were occupied by Japan during World War II. Controllability concerns the extent to which the entity perceived to be responsible for an outcome has the power to modify the course of events. economic. If the external entity is viewed to have control. METHOD Background The research context was the 1997 Asian economic crisis. 2005). the type of economic controls instituted (Indonesia looked towards IMF for help. and Thailand were hurt most). Hence: Hypothesis 5: The greater the external attribution made. and reduced economic activities between the two countries (Marquardt. Note: Correlations among exogenous factors were modeled but are not shown in the figure. the greater the situational animosity towards the outside entity. Formally: Hypothesis 6: The greater the external controllability. Data were collected from nationally representative samples of adult consumers from five Asian countries: Indonesia. the greater the animosity towards the entity concerned. It concerns the attribution of outcomes. 2005) are a manifestation of the deep-rooted negative feelings that the Chinese have over Japan’s war atrocities in China. 2000). an event of significant international political. Singapore. Malaysia. South Korea. and their historical relationship with the US and Japan (Indonesia. whereas internal attribution relates to inferences made towards dispositional causes for the event’s occurrence: the greater the external attribution. External attribution occurs when an external party is blamed for the occurrence. The Japanese act also caused the South Korean president to caution Japan about a possible diplomatic war. as well as specific to the crisis. whereas Thailand was never under foreign jurisdiction). Research has shown that. and controllability of the cause and effect. Locus of attribution addresses the ‘‘who is to blame?’’ question. and marketing proportions. The Asian economic crisis reflects the situational Journal of International Business Studies . animosity towards that entity is expected to be greater than when the external entity is viewed as having low Figure 1 Hypothesized model. If Asian consumers blame America for the 1997 economic crisis. the antiJapanese protests and demonstrations that spread throughout China in mid-April 2005 over the Japanese Ministry of Education’s approval to print a school textbook that glossed over Japanese war atrocities (Marquardt. control. Hence: Hypothesis 4: The greater the stable animosity a consumer feels towards a country. whereas high controllability implies that much can be done by the party responsible for the outcome to change the consequences. Federn (1985) found that resentment was elevated when the instigating party was perceived to have control over the provocation. Singapore. The hypothesized model is shown in Figure 1.

The items included how willing they were to buy. trusted. The scale for cognitive judgment consisted of five items taken from Klein et al. They recommend fitting a sequential set of increasingly constrained Journal of International Business Studies . sampling areas for each country were selected based on electoral divisions or polling wards containing a certain population of households. Affective evaluation was measured using four items that have been employed in other work (e. The research instrument was then translated and back-translated independently by professionals engaged by the market research agency for linguistic and conceptual equivalence (Bhalla & Lin. felt guilty buying. (2002). External control was measured using four items concerning views about how much influence the external party had over the economic situation of respondents’ country. and value for money of American/Japanese products. implying stable animosity towards Japan. Finally.g. Professional interviewers blind to the purpose of the research surveyed 400 adult nationals aged 20–59 years from the capital city of each country. These items concerned views about how well America/Japan had behaved towards their country over the years. color and design. based on their feedback. To ensure widespread coverage.. Minor modifications were made. and meaningful for respondents. The items were first developed in English. suggesting situational animosity towards the US. Korea was under Japanese occupation for 35 years. In Malaysia.. adequate. giving a total sample size of 2000. 1984). Respondents The data were collected in the fourth quarter of 1998. They included how much respondents liked. with items using five-point scales anchored on ‘‘Strongly disagree’’ (1) and ‘‘Strongly agree’’ (5). The animosity measures were taken from Jung et al. three of which were from Klein et al. Half the respondents in each country were asked to respond with regard to the US. were in favor of buying. For instance.Consumer animosity in an international crisis Siew Meng Leong et al 1000 animosity felt by Asian consumers. Tse et al. They concerned perceptions of workmanship. the initial draft survey was assessed for cultural compatibility and adequacy for an Asian sample by native speakers fluent in English (Douglas & Craig. and experienced some of the worst war atrocities in Asia. Situational animosity was measured by six items using the Asian economic crisis as the context. reliability. to ensure that all items to be employed were appropriate. and liked the idea of owning American/Japanese products. The items measured how they personally felt towards Americans/Japanese during this crisis. and the other half to Japan. A leading international research company was commissioned to collect the data. The items reflected attributions made concerning the country’s economic crisis. Pretests were then conducted to ensure that the intended meanings were conveyed and understood by respondents. and found it appealing to buy products from America/Japan. Specifically. Some 30–40 PSUs were employed for each of the capital cities in which the survey was conducted. Items employed to measure the various constructs of interest are contained in the Appendix. there were widespread accusations that the root of the crisis was the intense currency speculation by American fund managers (The New Republic. technological advancement. Each PSU was then selected to represent the polling division. each electoral division was divided into primary sampling units (PSUs) of about equal size of around 500 dwelling units. (1998). Four items were used to measure external attribution. Questionnaire The questionnaire consisted of several sections. The external attribution and external control items were adapted from Weiner (1986) to reflect the context of the Asian crisis. for instance. Given that several measures were included from scales used in previous studies with Western consumers. which also reports the average composite reliabilities and average variance extracted of the scales. when most Asian countries were reeling from the effects of the economic crisis. Bilingual interviewers used the version that respondents felt more comfortable with in administering the survey. 1999). The final questionnaire was produced in both English and the local language. willingness to buy was measured using four items. The animosity arising from historical military occupation in the region is suggestive of stable animosity. avoided buying. (1998). RESULTS Tests of Measure Equivalence We adopted Steenkamp and Baumgartner’s (1998) approach for comparing multi-country data and assessing measure invariance. Three items were used to measure stable animosity. In-home face-to-face interviews were conducted using stratified random sampling to obtain a representative sample for each country. 2005). 1987).

057). In other words. the results were the same across country–target pairs. Steenkamp and Baumgartner (1998) suggest using RMSEA.615) and situational animosity (R2¼0. which shows that the pattern of salient and nonsalient loadings defines the structure of the measurement instrument. In other words. is the size of the factor loadings equal across countries? To test the metric model. we constrained the loadings between a given indicator and its factor to be equal across all 10 country/target pairs (e. and/or NNFI when comparing fit across models. the loading for Korean evaluations of the US were the same as Thai evaluations of Japan). If relatively few parameters are freed. but estimates of the loadings and path coefficients differ among countries.850. the effect on affective evaluations was much higher than for cognitive judgments. The full metric invariance model did not fit well (CFI¼0. the model was able to explain a large amount of variance in willingness to buy (R2¼0. Based on these results. the results support the hypotheses. we conclude that adequate metric invariance was demonstrated. then partial invariance has been achieved. the influence of stable animosity on affective evaluations and cognitive judgment was not supported.g. a good fit was achieved CFI¼0. The fully constrained factor invariance model had a moderate fit (CFI¼0. CFI. There were greater differences between the target country data. Using normed data.859. Overall. we can conclude that the relationships among the constructs are the same for all countries. Twelve of the constraints related to country differences in the structural relationships. If there is configural. factor variances. and factor invariance across the multiple groups. where it was more negative only towards the US. Only four of the released constraints were factor loadings. CAIC. Finally. we analyzed normed data per Mullen (1995). Metric invariance tests whether consumers in different countries respond to the scale items in the same way.025). and suggest using modification indices to relax constraints until a reasonable fit is achieved.024). RMSEA¼0. The first test is for configural invariance. The configural invariance model fitted well (unrestricted model CFI¼0.023). the correlation matrix was calculated separately for each country/ target combination).877. Most of the modifications were for Korea (11) and Malaysia (10). Situational animosity leads to less favorable affective evaluations and cognitive judgments. and factor covariances across countries.3 Releasing only 22 of the 586 constraints brought the fit close to the metric invariance model (CFI¼0. RMSEA¼0. Singapore. while 31 were associated with measurement error.Consumer animosity in an international crisis Siew Meng Leong et al 1001 multi-group structural equation models to demonstrate that results are comparable across countries. Ten of the released constraints were disturbance terms. but all countries had constraints released. where the effect on affective evaluations was more negative. The model explained a modest amount of variance for affective evaluations (R2¼0. RMSEA¼0. The norming process was done separately for each country/data set combination (e. where stable animosity had a large negative effect on affective evaluations for both target countries and cognitive judgments Journal of International Business Studies . the metric invariance model failed to fit due to numerous estimation problems. With few exceptions. Steenkamp and Baumgartner (1998) note that it is unrealistic to expect fully constrained metric and factor invariance models to fit well. and country differences are noted. and Korea. However. For simplicity. We tested factor invariance by imposing equality constraints on the structural relationships. RMSEA¼0. In general. The exceptions were for Singapore. The effects of situational animosity on affective evaluations and cognitive evaluations were the same for all countries. metric.863.023) using the raw data (covariance matrix).528). but allowing the parameters to be uniquely estimated.836. Given these problems.023). we compare only the RMSEA and CFI values for each model.. except for: Malaysia. RMSEA¼0. This test involves constraining model specifications to be identical for all countries.g. The Japanese ratings accounted for 26 of the 35 released constraints.. the factor structures for the scales and the specified relationships among the constructs are identical. Eleven of these differences were the effect of stable animosity (six constraints) and situational animosity (five constraints) on the dependent variables.2 However. After relaxing 35 of the 486 constraints in the metric invariance model.023).293) and a small amount of the variance in cognitive judgments (R2¼0. Hypotheses Tests The structural estimates are presented in Table 1. RMSEA¼0.876. the configural invariance model fitted well (CFI¼0. Overall. where it was positive for the US. indicating that the model explained different amounts of variance among the countries/target pairs. factor invariance1 specifies that the relationships among constructs are the same for all countries.

408* À0.667 0.234* À0.990 0.508* 0.060 À0.294 0.062 À0.923 0.569 Journal of International Business Studies .359* À0.169* À0.146 0.219* À0.897 0.396 0.015 0.016 0.062 External control 0.631 0.864 0.161* À0.102* À0.014 0.184* À0.361* À0.569* 0.022 0.445* À0.054 Stable animosity 0.099* À0.230* 0.499 R2 Situational animosity (b) Affective evaluations US Indonesia Malaysia Singapore Thailand Korea Japan Indonesia Malaysia Singapore Thailand Korea À0.415* 0.215* À0.583 0.929 0.158 0.713 0.019 0.102* À0.345* À0.476 0.026 0.596 0.177* À0.603* 0.054 À0.213* À0.607 0.216* À0.225* À0.167 0.014 R2 (d) Situational animosity US Indonesia Malaysia 0.205* 0.094* 0.042 À0.636 0.614 0.631 0.536 0.592 0.989 0.182* À0.092* Stable animosity External attribution À0.582 0.211* 0.913 0.656 0.333* À0.680* 0.679 0.118 À0.993 Disturbance 0.061 0.924 0.668 0.262* Disturbance 0.062 À0.330* 0.137 0.376* À0.645 0.062 À0.556* 0.021 0.017 À0.014 0.989 0.602 0.708 0.016 0.486* À0.015 0.163* À0.196 À0.099* À0.346* À0.990 0.503* 0.621 0.402* 0.340* Situational animosity À0.979 0.176* À0.172* À0.649 0.918 0.126 R2 (c) Cognitive judgments US Indonesia Malaysia Singapore Thailand Korea Japan Indonesia Malaysia Singapore Thailand Korea À0.061 Stable animosity 0.777 0.369* À0.021 0.539 0.552* 0.148 0.059 0.239* À0.551* 0.016 0.687* À0.840 0.060 À0.368 0.935 Disturbance 0.060 À0.724 0.571* À0.990 0.576 0.023 0.654* À0.662 0.502* 0.084* À0.555 0.589* 0.Consumer animosity in an international crisis Siew Meng Leong et al 1002 Table 1 Structural estimates for the factor invariance model Affective evaluations (a) Willingness to buy US Indonesia Malaysia Singapore Thailand Korea Japan Indonesia Malaysia Singapore Thailand Korea Cognitive judgments Situational animosity Stable animosity Disturbance R2 0.058 À0.201* À0.319* 0.062 À0.231* À0.058 À0.015 À0.060 À0.987 0.062 À0.015 0.107* À0.062 À0.

589 0. we distinguish Journal of International Business Studies . for Japan.573 0. Our findings cast added conceptual light on the animosity construct on several counts. The survey results generally supported the proposed model. This provides further evidence that the effect of stable animosity on affective evaluations and cognitive judgments was mediated by situational animosity.345* 0. However. However.529 0. and stable animosity. despite the fact that Indonesia suffered as much as other Asian countries during World War II. Similarly. These results partially support Hypothesis 1.639 0.745 R2 0. However.572 0. As Hypothesis 4 posited.641 0.634 0.144 0.413* 0.405* 0. the stable animosity of Koreans towards the Japanese may be so strong that their situational animosity has little effect on willingness to buy. the greater the external attribution made. As hypothesized. Hypothesis 3 was generally supported.686 0.400* 0. and Indonesia.318* 0.211* 0. Both situational and stable animosity had a significant effect on willingness to buy.357* External attribution 0. Situational animosity also negatively influenced cognitive judgments and affective evaluations of US and Japanese products.221* 0. aid.228* 0.302* 0.329* 0. it appears that the effect of stable animosity was mediated by situational animosity. DISCUSSION This study examined the antecedents and consequences of stable and situational animosity using a large sample of representative adult consumers from five Asian nations against the backdrop of the economic crisis of the late 1990s. the greater the stable animosity a consumer felt towards a country. As suggested by Hypothesis 5. stable animosity did not impact on cognitive judgments and affective evaluations. Moreover.Consumer animosity in an international crisis Siew Meng Leong et al 1003 Table 1 continued Stable animosity Singapore Thailand Korea Japan Indonesia Malaysia Singapore Thailand Korea 0. and investments were crucial ingredients to the country’s success. perceived external control. the more animosity a consumer felt towards a country.852 0. In terms of antecedents.322* 0. Japanese trade. Positive affective evaluations led to higher willingness to buy (the effect was stronger for the Malaysia–US pairing). where stable animosity had a positive effect on willingness to buy Japanese products. Situational and stable animosity reduced willingness to buy both US and Japanese products. feelings of situational animosity were increased by external attribution. the greater the situational animosity felt towards that country (the effect was stronger for Malaysian evaluations of Japan.653 0.414* 0.601 0. 2004).05.636* 0. greater external controllability was related to higher levels of situational animosity towards the target entity.599 0. with estimates equal across all countries. Holloway (1991) noted that many Indonesians who were not overly influenced by Western thinking perceive that the Japanese occupation was beneficial. and signaled Japan’s longterm commitment to Indonesia.182* Disturbance 0. This effect was also quite large.275 *Indicates parameter significant at po0.210* À0.654 0. the more situational animosity was felt towards the outside entity. we extend recent research that explores the nature of animosity (Nijssen & Douglas. Italic indicates constraints that were freed. Hypotheses 5 and 6 were both supported. as Hypothesis 6 posited. cognitive judgments did not have an effect on willingness to buy.445 0.328* 0. except through situational animosity. The exceptions were for Korea.078 0.434* 0. stable animosity had a significant negative effect.206* 0.284* External control 0. Possibly. the less willing he or she was to buy products from that country.355* 0. Hypothesis 2 was fully supported. where situational animosity had no effect on willingness to buy Japanese products.204* 0. First. and not significant for Korean evaluations of Japan). Whereas such work focused on different sources of the construct’s manifestation (war and economic). When situational animosity’s effects on evaluations and judgment were dropped.

While much has been written regarding the use of marketing to advance political candidates and agendas (Newman. These findings were robust across the US and Japanese data. a dichotomy that is consistent with extant theorizing in the emotional aggression literature (Jung et al. in the context of American foreign policy. Cause-related marketing may also be employed in this connection. since it accommodates various sources of animosity. Weiner (2000) had proposed an attributional process that links attribution to emotions (such as anger. 1993: 199). hope. we suggest that foreign marketers may localize their brands by using local production and raw materials. Pornpitakpan. Foreign firms may Journal of International Business Studies . In turn. Huntington (1999) noted that the US corporate interests abroad have been promoted under the slogans of free trade and open markets. 1988. Berkowitz (1994) had suggested that emotional aggression could be triggered by situational influences or personality dispositions. Klein et al. 1994). our findings suggest that while situational animosity has both a direct and an indirect influence on willingness to buy via affective evaluation. as illustrated by the defensive attitude the French adopt towards ‘‘American’’ culture. Our research thus augments the scant body of attribution research in the international consumer behavior literature (Folkes. to consumer behavior. these effects work through different mechanisms. Our examination and confirmation of the significant impact of external attribution on situational animosity (an expression of anger) for both the Japan and US data provides empirical support for this linkage. Kau. Hallahan. stable animosity could arise from non-military events. Leigh & Choi. Aside from stable animosity. engaging in strategic marketing and manufacturing alliances to make and offer hybrid products that deemphasize the source of the products. or military actions viewed as being hostile will lower product judgment and evaluation. Thus any political. Leong. or by launching local versions of their offerings. it has been found that people of collectivistic cultures characteristic of most East Asian nations tend to make external inferences (Lee. may also demonstrate a long-term commitment to that country (Ang. Jung. downplaying ‘‘Made in’’ labels and brand names associated with the aggressor country. Such actions are sometimes viewed with hostility by foreign countries. our results suggest that while situational and stable animosity reduced consumer willingness to buy products from perceived targets of hostility. our results demonstrate that situational animosity is also influenced positively by external controllability and external attribution. In addition. Our stable– situational dichotomy is thus more generalizable than previous accounts. and through getting foreign countries to adopt economic and social policies that benefit American economic interests. the stream of research on animosity illustrates the politicization of marketing. It appears that intense emotions initially formed may have persistent effects on future emotions triggered by hostile events. 2004). and can accumulate over time into stable animosity. 1996. Morris & Peng. and that such emotions can overwhelm cognition. Second. and employing public relations and other communications efforts to improve country perceptions and address sources of international tension. Our findings thus underscore the more prominent role of affect over cognition in animosity models. which then reduces purchase intentions. in turn. 1999). We extend this line of research by finding a relationship between such attributional inferences and animosity levels. For example. & Tan. and fear) and. 2003). For example. Investing in the affected country. The current unpopularity of US military policy can further increase animosity. economic. including politicians. This is especially true as the perceived hostile policies imposed by the US may be viewed as controllable. & Herzog. affective evaluations are adversely impacted. In social psychology. through the shaping of World Bank and International Monetary Fund policies. It would appear that stable animosity exacerbates animosity based on current events. the impact of stable animosity is mediated by situational animosity. would be horrified to have it at home’’ (Usunier. 2002)..Consumer animosity in an international crisis Siew Meng Leong et al 1004 between stable and situational animosity. They appear ‘‘fascinated by the American Way of Life as an exotic item but many French people. including: exporters conducting marketing research to gauge the level of animosity in foreign target markets. In particular. Implications for Practice Our results also have implications for marketing managers and policymakers. as well as reduce willingness to buy brands from the aggressor nation. (1998) provided several sound recommendations for foreign marketers in such situations. possibly in conjunction with a local partner. Negative reactions to the US imposing unpopular policies may well affect America’s economic performance internationally.

foreign businesses may engage in discussions of which both they and consumers in the affected countries have a common dislike (Rawwas. the Chinese students’ call for boycott of Japanese products has abated. For example. 2004). During the Asian economic crisis. Rajendran. Klein et al. Foreign marketers should not engage in actions that may exacerbate feelings of animosity in affected countries. Collectively. it is tantamount to killing the development of local companies. and that as developing countries improve product quality. Domestic marketers may also defend themselves by promoting ‘‘buy local’’ campaigns. Thus international marketers need to be alert to events that may arouse situational animosity and. This implies that negative affect will be harder to overcome. and many Japanese businesses are back to normal in China). and providing them with financial and marketing assistance.g. In addition. 1996). for most products.’’ More extreme actions may involve organizing boycotts against products of businesses from the hostile nation. by understanding the psychological determinants of the animosity construct. Firms could also consider ways in which they can dissociate themselves from the policies and actions of the home government. Acquiring local businesses and assets (e. Buy Thai.g. functional performance is becoming more comparable over time. the Thai government urged its citizens to ‘‘Eat Thai. Foreign marketers may also foster closer partnerships with their local distributors. 1998). may reduce animosity in addition to promoting diversity (Khermouch et al. to reduce perceptions of the firms’ controllability over the event. To the extent that hostility is peculiarly favorable to social cohesion (Mead. & Wuehrer. (1998) suggest that importers identify the level of animosity towards particular foreign suppliers. Indeed. 1929). especially since our results demonstrate that external attribution has a strong impact on situational animosity. Less attention has focused on what domestic marketers may do under such circumstances. distributorships and retail locations) at deep discounts is another example. while major global brands have been able to generally ignore their home country’s political actions. The Malaysian registrar of companies noted that ‘‘If every company that is in trouble is just wound up by creditors. For example. However. Setting up local subsidiaries to handle and manage their dealers. Journal of International Business Studies .g. as General Electric does. but sales dropped dramatically after the French failed to support US Iraqi policies. 1998). Thus. in turn. their brand.. McDonald’s and Coca-Cola with the US). situational animosity is sporadic. to avoid reinforcing consumer resentment and inviting a possible backlash. Use Thai. international marketers should downplay the country linkage when animosity is aroused against their brand’s country of origin. Arab cola marketers have offered alternatives for Muslims and related sympathizers to show their disapproval of American Middle East policy and support for alternative values and lifestyles (Parmar.Consumer animosity in an international crisis Siew Meng Leong et al 1005 support local causes. this may be less true in the future. 1999). Since situational animosity negatively impacts on affective evaluations. and has a short lifespan (e. and consider flexible repayment schemes (Pereira... nearly 2000 Malaysian companies were wound up by their creditors. More generally.’’ He urged creditors to be more patient. proactive domestic marketers may exploit the situation by launching niche brands to appeal to consumers sympathetic to their cause and resentful of that of the hostile nation. and Travel Thai. such affective evaluations will play a bigger role in choice. they should be handled with care and sensitivity. For example. French wine is considered better by US consumers. Thus US investment banks and multinationals have been perceived to scour the region on ‘‘vulture tours’’ during the crisis to establish and strengthen their foothold in Asia (Head. these initiatives may be more imperative for marketers of iconic brands strongly identified with their national heritage (e. such as sponsoring events that raise money for the adversely affected. While such actions appear financially and strategically well motivated. Hiring local talent and placing them in key management roles. However. they can focus on other aspects of brand personality (apart from performance or quality) that are less related to country of origin during crisis periods when animosity is invoked. international marketers can devise strategies to defuse damage to their brands arising from animosity towards the country with which their brands have strong linkage.. For example. Such actions may also redirect affected consumers’ external attributions away from themselves. may likewise contribute to strengthening their roots in affected markets (Slater. 2003). our findings suggest to international marketers that having a better product may not be sufficient to compensate for animosity. during the Asian economic crisis. or be involved in activities of local community organizations (Vence.

Although this is promising. This implies that the proposed model of animosity’s antecedents and consequences appears to be generalizable. and consequently reduce their exports to affected international markets. based on the findings and limitations of our work. brand choice. For example. animosity research would also benefit from data collection efforts in other continents and cultures (e. public policymakers should be cognizant of the international business repercussions of their actions (e. Indeed. Expanding the targets of hostility to other nations besides the US and Japan examined here would also be instructive. as well as invariance in the structural estimates. during the Asian economic crisis Japan was repeatedly encouraged by the regional and international communities to take bold initiatives to revive its economy to absorb imports from affected Asian nations (Lee. In the absence of such actions. or were unidimensional in nature. Limitations and Directions for Future Research Several directions for future research can be recommended. our animosity items were developed to capture the construct’s stable and situational dimensions. and product disposal. In particular. as well as depend on how successfully these brands market their alternative values and lifestyles globally. whereas previous scales tapped its sources of occurrence. Third. Second. Developing more standardized inventories in this area would thus be a productive avenue for future work. 2005). We empirically assessed two attribution-related constructs to this end. future research might involve respondents from more countries in the region. This furnishes insights into the robustness of the relationships across nations. and the two anonymous JIBS reviewers and departmental editor David K. ownership and usage patterns. 1 Journal of International Business Studies . At the minimum. future work may investigate other aspects of attribution. Policymakers responsible for influencing international marketing performance with potentially hostile actions may also help to reduce animosity levels. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The authors thank the National University of Singapore for funding this research. our research analyzed the effects of animosity using willingness to buy as the ultimate dependent measure. Expansion beyond the niche markets they appeal to may require a broadened positioning. word-of-mouth recommendation. such as globality (whether the cause is universal. Future research might consider a broader range of dependent variables. For example. as Asia represents a myriad of cultures and religions.. they did not detract from the overall consistent pattern of results.Consumer animosity in an international crisis Siew Meng Leong et al 1006 2004). Tse for their helpful comments. 1998).. Since we do both simultaneously. improvements could also be made on the psychometric front. including actual brand purchase behavior.g. 1980). Extant measures of animosity vary from study to study. First. limiting the comparability of research results. Other measures may involve governmental efforts to correct attributions of blame. where emotions run high and are fueled by angry sentiments drawn from past provocations. we use the term ‘‘factor invariance’’ to imply both variance and covariance invariance. or unique to specific circumstances) and intentionality (whether the entity intended for the outcome to occur). which was not a focus of our research. Examining other psychological constructs as antecedents as well as potential moderators of animosity will lead to the development of a more comprehensive and generalizable nomological framework for the construct. for added insights (Meyer. Thus Qibla Cola’s tagline of ‘‘Liberate your taste’’ furthers the metaphor that consumers of the two leading cola brands may now find a viable substitute. Nonetheless. we propose that animosity research employ a more theory-driven approach by examining its psychological antecedents. our respondents hailed from five countries in Asia. as well as proactive efforts such as sending aid and trade missions to affected countries. Finally. the Middle East). Chua.g. Our results suggest that while some cross-national differences occurred. Yet leveraging on anti-American sentiment alone may be insufficient for long-term growth. the contemporary and cumulative effects of unpopular policy may well reverberate into the rejection of offerings from perceived hostile nations. it would be useful to assess the boundary conditions relating to the effects of animosity on product judgment and affective evaluation. as well as facilitates the uncovering of possible cultural variations in our findings. NOTES Steenkamp and Baumgartner (1998) differentiate between factor covariance and factor variance invariance. particularly in a crisis situation.

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Soo Jiuan Tan is Associate Professor of Marketing at the NUS Business School. persuasion. She can be reached at biztansj@ nus. and Social Indicators Research. and Journal of Applied Psychology. He has published in Journal of Marketing Research. He has published in Journal of Consumer Research. She can be reached at ynvynv@yahoo. and Marketing Letters.Consumer animosity in an international crisis Siew Meng Leong et al 1009 ABOUT THE AUTHORS Siew Meng Leong is Professor of Marketing at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School. She obtained her PhD from Washington University in St Louis and is a Chanthika Pornpitakpan is Associate Professor of the Faculty of Business Administration. He obtained his PhD from the University of Arizona and is a US citizen. His research interests include consumer behavior and marketing theory. and Journal of Consumer Research. He received his PhD from the London Graduate School of Business Studies and is a native of Malaysia. Joseph A Cote is Professor of Marketing at Washington State University. Swee Hoon Ang is Associate Professor of Marketing at the NUS Business School.edu. His research in consumer behavior and international marketing has been published in Journal of Marketing. and personality assessment. Journal of Advertising. Journal of Marketing. game theoretic applications in marketing. Kwon Jung is Associate Professor of Marketing. This paper has been with the authors for two revisions. KDI School of Public Policy and Management. native of Singapore. 20th June 2007.ac. Her research in consumer behavior. Journal of Marketing Research.sg. advertising and packaging effects. Her research interests are in cross-cultural consumer behavior. He obtained his PhD from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and is a native of Singapore. brand management. Vancouver. He can be reached at bizlsm@nus. and new product and brand management. He can be reached at neckauak@nus.edu.edu. and lifestyle segmentation and can be reached at jungk@kdischool.kr.edu.sg. He can be reached at cote@ wsu.sg. Psychology and Marketing.edu. consumer values and lifestyles.sg. Urbana-Champaign and is a native of Korea. University of Macau. He is interested in cross-cultural research. Accepted by David Tse. Journal of International Business Studies . Ah Keng Kau is deputy director of the NUS Entrepreneurship Centre. advertising.com. She obtained her PhD from University of British Columbia and is a citizen of Thailand. She received her PhD from the University of British Columbia and is a citizen of Singapore. Departmental Editor. marketing simulation exercises. She can be reached at bizangsh@ nus. Her research interests are in the areas of global marketing strategies. Journal of Marketing Research. His research focuses on entrepreneurship and consumer behavior. International Marketing Review. and cross-cultural issues have been published in Journal of the Academy of the Marketing Science. He received his PhD from University of Illinois. consumer information processing.