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The MED scale: regional variation in values and beliefs, evidence from Italy

Luca Petruzzellis (Department of Economics, Management and Business Law, University of Bari Aldo Moro, Bari, Italy)
C. Samuel Craig (Stern School of Business, New York University, New York, New York, USA)
Ada Palumbo (University of Bari Aldo Moro, Bari, Italy)

EuroMed Journal of Business

ISSN: 1450-2194

Article publication date: 2 May 2017

182

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a measurement scale that captures elements of Mediterranean identity.

Design/methodology/approach

A scale was developed from items drawn from existing scales and from a qualitative study that examined how respondents viewed their national identity as well as the concept of a Mediterranean identity. The literature pertaining to Mediterranean identity, culture and the influence of contextual factors on its development were reviewed. The scale revealed four dimensions of Mediterranean identity: traditions, relationships, ethnocentrism and a bond with the Sea.

Findings

The scale successfully discriminated between those living by the Sea and those living inland. At the same time, it did not differentiate between respondents living in the north from those living in the south. The study suggests that context, specifically proximity to the Sea, helps shape some of the regional variation in values and beliefs.

Research limitations/implications

The geographic composition of the sample limits the generalizability of the results. A sample across additional countries would provide greater confidence in the results, although much of the theoretical work on Mediterranean thinking has focused on Italy. Further, it was desirable to keep as many factors as possible constant to limit extraneous variation. Inclusion of respondents from countries with different levels of wealth, religious and political ideologies would likely uncover additional facets of Mediterranean identity.

Practical implications

The results have broader implications for identifying transnational segments that may exist around the Mediterranean. A key implication relates to the extent that similar values and beliefs appear to be associated with proximity to the Mediterranean Sea. It also highlights the importance of considering contextual factors when developing an understanding of consumer behavior.

Originality/value

Mediterranean identity has been examined conceptually, but a systematic means to measure is lacking. The essence of Mediterranean thinking embodies the importance individuals place on adhering to traditions, the value they attach to personal relationship, a certain degree of ethnocentricism, and of course the bond with the Sea. The results also suggest that differences that have been attributed to a north/south divide, needs to be reexamined.

Keywords

Citation

Petruzzellis, L., Samuel Craig, C. and Palumbo, A. (2017), "The MED scale: regional variation in values and beliefs, evidence from Italy", EuroMed Journal of Business, Vol. 12 No. 1, pp. 20-35. https://doi.org/10.1108/EMJB-07-2015-0037

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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