Identification, Conceptualization, Operationalization and Measurement of Three Components of Country-of-Origin and Their Effects on Consumer Behavior

Stefanie Mess

Student thesis: Master thesis


The Country-of-Origin (COO) construct and its effects on consumer behavior have obtained considerable attention by marketing researchers and managers over the last decades, as COO drives consumers’ product evaluations and purchase intentions. However, despite the large body of existing research, it is still one of the most controversial research fields in which no agreement on its conceptualization and operationalization has been reached. Thus, no integrative framework that is capable of explaining how individuals mentally form, store and use representations of COO in their minds has been provided by academicians so far, which is limiting the advancement of the entire research area and making it difficult for managers to apply. The present paper aims at closing this gap by proposing a formalized framework, which defines and conceptualizes three structural dimensions of individuals’ mental pictures of COO by conflating existing COO literature and applying seminal social and cognitive psychology research. This framework, called Country-Origin Model (COM), consists of 1) a COO Image: an overall evaluative cognitive component, 2) a COO Imagery: a multidimensional cognitive component and 3) a COO Affect: an affective component. These three components exist as complementary but qualitatively distinct mental structures in the minds of individuals, enabling them to form preferences and guide behavioral intentions. A qualitative study, followed by a quantitative study, were conducted to gather data on individuals’ opinion on ‘Germany as a car manufacturer’, and a multivariate data analysis method, Structural Equation Modelling (SEM), was applied to test the proposed COM. The results provided significant empirical evidence that support the conceptualization and measures of the COM, making it a valid model that allows to understand how individuals mentally link COO in their minds and how it affects their behavioral intentions.

EducationsMSocSc in Service Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages110
SupervisorsAlexander Josiassen