Appreciating vs venerating cultural outgroups

Mark Cleveland (DAN Department of Management and Organizational Studies, The University of Western Ontario, London, Canada)
Anjana Balakrishnan (Department of Psychology, The University of Western Ontario, London, Canada)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Publication date: 13 May 2019



Cosmopolitanism and xenocentrism denote distinct individual orientations toward cultural outgroups. The former considers an individual’s openness to cultural diversity and ability to navigate through intercultural environments, whereas the latter describes an individual’s feelings of admiration or preference for specific cultural outgroup(s), over his/her ingroup. Few studies have simultaneously examined these constructs and fewer still have considered these within a nomological framework of key predictors (i.e. basic psychological needs) and practical outcomes (e.g. influentialness and friendships across different groups). The paper aims to discuss these issues.


The authors hypothesized a series of relationships of various antecedents and outcomes of cosmopolitanism and xenocentrism, and tested these conjectures using survey data from Canadians (n=238) and Americans (n=239).


The findings support the psychometric robustness of our tripartite operationalization of xenocentrism, and clearly distinguish this construct from cosmopolitanism. Beyond confirming earlier findings, the authors illuminate several novel relationships (e.g. between basic psychological needs, cosmopolitanism and xenocentrism), and elucidate the role played by a key personality dimension, neuroticism, in mediating the relationships between basic psychological needs and the two outgroup orientations.

Research limitations/implications

Samples of this study are drawn from North America and a cross-sectional research design is used.


Whereas for xenocentric consumers admiration of one or more foreign culture(s) displaces customary preferences for one’s own cultural group, cosmopolitan consumers are able to embrace outside cultures without disaffection from their sociocultural ingroup. Given the obvious repercussions of these differences for targeting international consumer segments and for positioning brands across borders, our research has numerous practical applications as well as theoretical implications.



Cleveland, M. and Balakrishnan, A. (2019), "Appreciating vs venerating cultural outgroups", International Marketing Review, Vol. 36 No. 3, pp. 416-444.

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