Country image (CI) has been one of the most studied topics in international business, marketing, and consumer behaviour of the past five decades. Nevertheless, there has been no critical assessment of this field of research. The purpose of this paper is to understand the status and evolution of CI research.
The authors review 554 articles published in academic journals over 35 years. The authors examine publication, authorship, and research procedure trends in these articles as an empirical and quantitative assessment of the field. The authors identify weaknesses and strengths, and the authors address disconcerting and encouraging trends.
The authors find a number of laudatory trends: CI research is becoming less US-centric, more theory driven, more sophisticated in methodology, evaluating more diverse product categories, and making use of multiple cue studies. There are, however, two major methodological concerns: poor replication and questionable generalizability of findings. The authors also noted the influence of CI articles has been decreasing, as well as their rate of publication in top tier journals.
Since the authors present data that reflect actual practices in the field and how such practices have changed across time, the authors believe the study is of substantial value to CI researchers, journal editors, and instructors whose curriculum includes CI. The critical assessment and subsequent recommendations are accordingly empirically justified.
The authors sincerely thank (in alphabetical order by last name) Zafar Ahmed, George Balabanis, Paul Chao, Gary Insch, Erdener Kaynak, Eugene Jaffe, Johny Johansson, Israel Nebenzahl, Durairaj Maheswaran, Nicolas Papadopoulos, Pascale Quester, Jean-Claude Usunier, and Katharina Zeugner-Roth, for their generous insights on the future of this field. This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Grant No. 410-2008-2028). The authors acknowledge the research assistance of Anahit Armenakyan, Yuheng Cao, Marta Massi, Kaleem Mahmood, and Wendy Lu, and of Irfan Butt for his data entry, coding, and tabulation at early stages of the research. The authors are very grateful for the constructive comments provided by the associate editor and the three anonymous reviewers.
Lu, I., Heslop, L., Thomas, D. and Kwan, E. (2016), "An examination of the status and evolution of country image research", International Marketing Review, Vol. 33 No. 6, pp. 825-850. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMR-03-2015-0036Download as .RIS
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