Purpose - This study was designed to extend knowledge of cognitive processing of country of origin cues by refining the concept of country image and investigating its role in product evaluations. Design/methodology/approach - Data were collected from residents of a large North American metropolitan. A total of 436 usable questionnaires were returned. Data analysis was conducted using the EQS structural equation modeling software Findings - We found that country image is a three-dimensional concept consisting of cognitive, affective, and conative components. We modeled the relationships among country image, product beliefs, and product evaluations, and found that country image and product beliefs affect product evaluations simultaneously regardless of consumers' level of familiarity with a country's products. Findings also indicated that the structure of country image influences product evaluations both directly and indirectly through product beliefs. Consistent with affect transfer theory, the results showed that when a country's image has a strong affective component, its direct influence on product evaluations is stronger than its influence on product beliefs. Alternatively, when a country's image has a strong cognitive component, its direct influence on product evaluations was smaller than its influence on product beliefs. Research limitations/implications - One limitation pertains to the relatively poor psychometric properties of some items. Future research will benefit from further improvements in the measures of country image that tap into the various facets of the construct. Originality/value - The major contributions of the study consist of the full operationalization of country image as a three-dimensional concept, and the findings on the impact of country image structure on consumers' evaluation processes.

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International Marketing Review
Sprott School of Business

Laroche, M. (Michel), Papadopoulos, N, Heslop, L.A, & Mourali, M. (Mehdi). (2005). The influence of country image structure on consumer evaluations of foreign products. International Marketing Review, 22(1), 96–115. doi:10.1108/02651330510581190